Local Chefs to Honour James Barber at Providence Farm

left: the entrance to Providence Farm, right: Chef Bill Jones prepares pizza in the James Barber Wood Burning Oven. credit: Rebecca Baugniet

On Thursday, September 15th at 6 p.m., Cowichan Chef’s Table and invited BC chefs are hosting a culinary showcase in honour of the late James Barber, Canada’s Urban Peasant. This fundraiser for Providence Farm will feature stations throughout the historic buildings offering culinary delicacies paired with local beer, wine and cider. They will also be officially launching the James Barber Wood Burning Oven project, the chefs’ gift to Providence Farm.

At a recent preview for the event, Chef Bill Jones spoke of how the late James Barber was a true mentor to him; how he helped his career, and how the original ovens from the Urban Peasant set are now in use at Deerholme Farm. When asked what he thought James Barber would think of the wood burning oven, Bill said he knew it was one of Barber’s goals to build an oven for Providence Farm, adding how happy the chefs were to be able to fulfill one of his last wishes. “He was a great supporter of community and chefs… and he also had an affinity for wood and burning things!” Jones chuckled, then grew more serious. “He would love it. He would tell us to “get on with cooking and eating and life!”

The property on which Providence Farm sits today was settled in 1864 by the Sisters of St. Ann. For 100 years, a school operated on the property and today, it is home to Providence Farm, a charitable organization that uses horticultural therapy to help adults in the Cowichan Valley with mental health issues, brain injuries and development challenges.

The James Barber Benefit Dinner for Providence Farm is part of the Cowichan Wine and Culinary Festival. For full event listings, click here. Providence Farm also invites visitors to come visit on Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th. On Saturday, visitors are invited to self-tour themselves or join Farm founder, Jack Hutton, for a guided tour at 1:00 pm. The Farm’s nursery is also open on Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. On Sunday the Farm, in partnership with the Cowichan Green Community is hosting “Share the Harvest: A Family Celebration of Local Food and Fun”. A pancake breakfast will kick Sunday off at 9:00 am and family activities will carry on throughout the day until 4:00 pm. Thursday, September 15th and Friday, September 16th are working days at the Farm, but the public is welcome to self-tour.


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