From April 16th to 18th this year the Town of Riverview New Brunswick hosted “Sustaina-palooza” – a three-day action-packed event to share community success stories, generate a dialogue about sustainability and ignite ideas for building resilient and prosperous communities.
Our Food Southeast New Brunswick and some local Community Food Mentors (CFM) contributed to this event by hosting a local food workshop/community kitchen under the guidance of Diane Savoie (CFM, Chef and member of Slow Food Cocagne Acadie )
The Challenge was to cook up a feast from scratch with locally grown seasonally available ingredients, in April…
The first step was gather ingredients from root cellars, spice cupboards, Slow Foodies and fill in the gaps with produce from the Dieppe Farmers Market!
The theme of the menu was to combine leftovers from root cellars and freezers with gathered wild foods and locally produced ingredients:
- Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with microgreen garnish
- Warm Sauerkraut salad with lardons
- Beet and apple raw salad with egg mimosa
- Whole Wheat Irish soda bread
- Apple and cranberry crisp with yogurt maple sauce
- Cranberry, apple cider and blueberry beverages
Some interesting points about the ingredients that came up in the discussion as we cooked and shared a meal together:
- Root cellar fruits & veggies: Carrots (stored in sand, beets in wood shavings, potatoes in home sown burlap sacks and apples individually wrapped in newspaper)
- The eggs: Alya one of the CFMs that participated has 4 registered urban chickens in her Moncton backyard that provided the eggs
- Lardons: Left over ends from salted pork made at La Ferme du Diamant – Fried up and mixed with sour kraut from Lewis Mountain Farms
- The Whole Wheat flour: Home grown and stone ground Red Fyfe wheat in Cocagne, NB. It felt light and gritty, tasted rich and nutty nothing like the flour I know…
- Seasoning: Wild gathered ‘’Poivre des marais’’ a pepper like tasting catkin from a salt march plant that Acadians use
I could keep on going forever about the ingredients and their stories but I’ll get to the point
This meal was a process, everyone had a hand in it and each ingredient was celebrated. It’s so much fun to cook and eat but the kicker is to be able to know your where your food came from or even better grow and process it yourself. These are skills that many have forgotten – Large scale grocery stores have rendered them seemingly obsolete and we often lack the time to enjoy them.
This where the Community Food Mentor Program comes in! CFMs are people in our communities, elders, farmers, new Canadians from food centered cultures that have kept these skills alive. Many people also practice them for the health benefits and grocery savings. The common point is that it is a rich and empowering kind of fun to share and learn food skills.
I think we all were surprised by the simplicity and affordability of most of the ingredients in our feast. We left the workshop inspired by our taste buds and food folklore to see food like this as something we can all find an excuse to share into our lives!
– Aaron Shantz