Feast of Fields Cultivates Connections

The spread at Feast of Fields Vancouver Island Photo: MaryLou Wakefield



Last Sunday, my two sisters and I made the trek over the Malahat from Victoria, turned onto a winding country road south of Duncan past bucolic fields bathed in sunlight and followed the signs to Farm Folk City Folk’s annual Feast of Fields held this year at Alderlea Farm. Now in its 15th year, this moveable feast delights hundreds of participants who enjoy fresh, local fare. Most importantly, the event offers the opportunity to meet local farmers, fishers and other producers and make an enduring connection between the food they eat and those who produce it.


Crab on Romaine Lettace Leaf from Cowichan Bay Seafood Photo: MaryLou Wakefield


Producers easily engaged participants in convivial conversation during the 4-hour event. Gregg, along with his wife Anne Best of Cowichan Bay Seafood explained what he hoped folks would take away from the experience. “I hope they get that it’s still possible to eat off the land and from the ocean without a whole pile of people in between,” he said. As we chatted, an enthusiastic participant leaned in to offer his comment after sampling Best’s simple presentation of fresh crab served on a crisp romaine leaf. “This is definitely the best I’ve had here today.”


From there, we feasted on slow braised beef on polenta, marinated halibut, water buffalo mozzarella, emu pate, pork bratwurst, fresh strawberries, peach crumble with vanilla yogurt and my favourite, an inventive Finest at Sea albacore tuna and Galey Farm free run egg Nicoise Salad presented by Truffles Catering. Truffles made their mark on the classic with Sun Trio heritage bean and olive salad nestled in a Kildara Farm confit potato, drizzled with Dijon, egg and white truffle vinaigrette and topped with a Saanich Organics heirloom tomato chip.


Salad Nicoise from Truffles Catering Photo: MaryLou Wakefield


I met Selinde Krayenhoff, one of the farm’s 200 shareholders and a Feast of Fields volunteer in the on-site cafe. Selinde explained that Alderlea Farm is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm owned and operated by John and Katy Ehrlich, and is both organic and biodynamic. Three days a week, the café prepares meals made from the farm’s veggies picked fresh that morning. “The more connected you are to your food, the more commitment you have to your farmer,” said Selinde, obviously exuberant about her own connection to the farm.

Feast of Fields 2013, a fundraiser for Farm Folk/City Folk, will be held on September 22nd. Host farm TBD.


—By Marylou Wakefield


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