Tasty items available at beach brunch

Roasted barley pilaf with garden peas and fresh mint, spicy lamb sausage and skewered elk covered in an exotic spice mix were among the things on the menu at the second Brunch at the Beach held Saturday at the Gull Lake Centre.

Volunteers Marjie Feil

Roasted barley pilaf with garden peas and fresh mint, spicy lamb sausage and skewered elk covered in an exotic spice mix were among the things on the menu at the second Brunch at the Beach held Saturday at the Gull Lake Centre.

The event brought together food produced at farms around Central Alberta for a locally grown feast.

“I think that people are becoming more aware of the importance of supporting the local producers in the area and they’re figuring out that the food is fresher if it’s coming from the local producers rather than coming from California,” said Lynn Henkel, one of the organizers of Brunch at the Beach.

The meal drew around 220 people from all around Central Alberta and as far away as Calgary and Edmonton to sample the local delicacies.

Manuel Juarez brought his girlfriend Victoria Fuentes, who is visiting from Spain, to the event. Juarez moved to Lacombe in January and is on a two-year contract with the research centre.

“It was good,” said Juarez, who was particularly fond of the bison empanadas. Fuentes really liked the lamb sausage. He said Brunch at the Beach is a good idea and allows people to see what food is locally grown and available.

The event was put on by A Taste of Country, made up of 15 local producers and two ag tourism members, with help from Travel Alberta and sponsorships from local businesses. Brunch at the Beach also included some local entertainment by the Lacombe-based Flatiron Jazz Band.

Chef Tim Wood, from the ECO Café in Pigeon Lake, created the meal. Wood said using local ingredients has always been important to him.

“We’ve been doing it since day one and we did it with our first restaurant 25 years ago. It just makes sense, if you’re working and living locally than why aren’t you buying locally?,” he said. “If you support the community than the community supports you and everybody become sustainable.”

The menu included fritata with grape tomatos and sweet greenhouse peppers, butternut crunch salad with carrots and honey yogurt dressing, rhubarb and strawberry custard pie and mixed berry caramel crumble.

Erwin Van Haren, owner of Frontier Farms Inc., was one of the producers who spoke during Brunch at the Beach. He showed off photos of his bison and the beautiful flowers his wife grows and sells at the Red Deer Market. He said Brunch at the Beach has a wonderful emphasis and it creates an awareness for producers and consumers.

“If we look at our resources in the world if it doesn’t have to go across the ocean to be consumed it makes sense that it’s just locally available,” Van Haren said.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

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