Choose local ingredients in Central Alberta

Living in Central Alberta, it’s not difficult to find amazing ingredients that are grown and produced in and close to Red Deer. Our community can access a diverse range of foods to satisfy any type of diet and any kind of craving. Here’s a peek at some of the best local ingredients, which are available year-round:

1. Messinger Meats, Red Deer

Having recently opened a store front in south Red Deer, Messinger Meats is definitely not new to Red Deer meat lovers. This family business supplies a variety of hormone and chemical free meats raised in Lacombe, Blackfalds and Blackfalds and are processed in Mirror. The store offers a large selection of beef and pork, as well as some harder to find delicacies such as goat and lamb. If you want to impress at your next dinner party, check out their Tomahawk Steaks. They also offer a variety of house made sausages and deli products; their pepperoni is one of the best local meat sticks out there.

(Also if you are not into cooking, the Red Deer location offers daily lunch specials to eat in or take out)

2. Pik-n-Pak Produce Ltd., Lacombe

If you can’t make it to the local farmer’s markets, or can’t travel outside of the city to get fresh locally grown produce, Lacombe Pik-n-Pak has you covered with a large selection of hot house grown veggies. Lacombe Pik-n-Pak is sold at a variety of grocery stores in Red Deer – just look for the labels! Most widely found are their tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers; affordable and truly local, you can get these at Superstore, Sinotts Your Independent Grocer, Co-op and Sobey’s.

3. Sylvan Star Cheese, Sylvan Lake

Located just outside the town of Sylvan Lake on Highway 11A, Sylvan Star Cheese is a family owned business whose product can be found throughout Alberta, and here in Red Deer at most grocery stores, including Sobey’s, Save-on Foods, and Big Bend Market. Sylvan Star is famous for their Gouda; one of the most unique and delicious products is the Old Grizzly Gouda – try it with your next wine and cheese. Check out their store for interesting imported products and other local delights; they also give tours of the facility for a small fee with advance notice.

4. Totally Gluten Free Bakery, Lacombe

A little secret hidden in Lacombe’s industrial area, Totally Gluten Free Bakery is worth seeking out, even if you are not gluten-intolerant. This friendly family owned business produces their own gluten free products including bread, cakes, cookies and muffins. The most surprising and delicious products are their gluten free pizzas; so popular they have three freezers dedicated to stocking them.The meat lovers pizza is a worth the drive to Lacombe (check their website for hours of operation and they are closed on Sundays).

5. Nixon Honey, Red Deer County

One of Central Alberta’s sweetest gifts comes from a bee farm located about 30 minutes from Red Deer. Nixon Honey is often seen at community markets and craft shows; their products grace the shelves of most grocery stores in Red Deer.

Now that the farmer’s market season has come to a close, it’s nice to know that we can still shop local while visiting our neighborhood grocery chain stores. Most of the producers have their own store-fronts that you can buy direct from, but to avoid disappointment, make sure you look online or call ahead to make sure you visit during their business hours.

Shannon Yacyshyn writes Kitchen Confessions Thursdays in the Red Deer Advocate.

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