Bashaw restaurant serves up food from area farms

BASHAW — The challenge for farmers who produce crops or livestock outside mainstream commodities markets is getting their products onto consumers’ plates.

Apples Restaurant chef Erin Taks at work in the kitchen; using products from regional farms.

BASHAW — The challenge for farmers who produce crops or livestock outside mainstream commodities markets is getting their products onto consumers’ plates.

A trio of ag-entrepreneurs at Bashaw have decided that one solution is to supply the plates.

Mary Ann Stevenson and her husband Les Brunelle, along with Stevenson’s brother Geordie, have been serving up meat from Stevenson and Brunelle’s Applejack Ranch since April. That’s when they opened Apples Restaurant in a heritage building in Bashaw that once served as the town’s post office.

Among the offerings on the menu are chicken and Dexter beef from Applejack Ranch. There’s also pork, lamb, vegetables, herbs and other products sourced from the area.

“We try to get as much close to home as we can,” said Stevenson, adding that the emphasis is on naturally produced foods.

Applejack Ranch doesn’t use drugs or hormones in its beef and chickens, both of which are pasture fed. Apples also buys certified organic pork.

Stevenson and Brunelle were selling meat to other restaurants, but found that buyers often were only interested in prime cuts.

“It’s pretty tough to sell stew meat somewhere,” said Stevenson, explaining that Apples’ menu and specials are designed to use everything.

“Because we have a chef who’s incredibly talented, she’ll use the entire animal.”

That chef is Mary Ellen Taks, who also manages Apples.

“She’s done everything from high-end restaurants to your basic truck stop to institutional-type cooking,” said Stevenson.

Taks’ son Erin, who is also a chef, works at the restaurant as well.

Stevenson said the public seems pleased with what Apples has to offer.

“The response has been way better than any of us could have predicted,” she said.

In addition to the appeal of local, naturally produced food, the Bashaw restaurant has benefited from area residents and Hwy 21 travellers who want to eat at “a really nice restaurant,” said Stevenson.

“If people wanted to go for a nice meal (previously), they’d drive to Red Deer, they’d drive to Camrose — somewhere out of the community.”

The restaurant is also raising the profile of Dexter cattle, small heritage animals that originated in Ireland.

“It’s a promotion of the breed,” said Stevenson.

Apples, which has seating for about 40, features the work of local lifestyle photographer Tasha Ramstad.

“Essentially, the restaurant is her gallery,” said Stevenson.

Customers have included permanent residents from the area, seasonal cottagers from nearby Buffalo Lake and visitors from as far away as Vancouver, Idaho and Texas.

The restaurant is continuing to expand its farm-direct inputs, said Stevenson.

“Most definitely, we want to hear from producers who are in the area.

“As long as people have met the provincial regulations and guidelines for selling farm gate, we have no problems using market gardens or anything like that.”

Applejack Ranch is located on the shore of Buffalo Lake, where Stevenson’s grandparents homesteaded more than a century ago.

“Some of the land that we have has never been broken,” she said. “It has native species of grass in it.”

Apples Restaurant is providing cross-promotion opportunities, said Stevenson, but has added to their responsibilities.

“It’s keeping us hopping.”

Located at 4912 50th St. in Bashaw, Apples Restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Schizophrenia a misunderstood illness, an Alberta expert says

Schizophrenia Society of Alberta campaign kickoff features TSN’s Michael Landsberg in Central Alberta

WATCH: Collecting coats and donations from drivers in Red Deer

Central Albertans made donations to keep children warm and neighbourhoods safe from… Continue reading

PHOTO: Fall Harvest Festival in Red Deer’s West Park

The West Park Community Association hosted the Fall Harvest Festival near West… Continue reading

Man dies in Hwy 2 collision near Ponoka

A 46-year-old man is dead following a three-vehicle collision on Hwy 2… Continue reading

Canyon Ski Resort aiming to open Nov. 10

The finishing touches are being put on Canyon Ski Resort trails just… Continue reading

WATCH: Blackfalds Fire teaches families about fire safety

An open house was held Saturday in support of Fire Prevention Week

Five things about what’s legal and what’s not in Canada’s new pot law

OTTAWA — Canada’s new law legalizing recreational cannabis goes into force on… Continue reading

4 men killed in shooting at child’s birthday party in Texas

DALLAS — An argument at a toddler’s birthday party in South Texas… Continue reading

German bus crashes on Swiss highway, 1 dead and 14 injured

BERLIN — A German bus crashed into a metal post on a… Continue reading

4 days after storm, large swath of Panhandle suffering

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — Crews with backhoes and other heavy equipment scooped… Continue reading

Immigrants face hurdles to prove abuse by US agents

HOUSTON — Within hours of being booked at a Border Patrol station… Continue reading

Unicorns and pipelines: Notley and enviro-activist square off on Trans Mountain

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, with her arch pipeline foe sitting… Continue reading

A year into #MeToo, survivors’ stories resonate online and off: experts

Jenny Wright remembers scrolling through her social media feed a year ago… Continue reading

Emergency buzzer had been disabled in young man’s prison death: report

HALIFAX — An emergency intercom in the jail unit of a young… Continue reading

Most Read