I didn’t expect to go to Europe while in Edmonton, but that’s exactly what we got when we visited Kevin Kossowan.
We sat at a weathered wooden table under an apple tree, the air a bit
hazy from the cob oven, a trellis of grapes within view, and homemade
charcuterie in front of us. How could we not feel like we'd gone abroad?
Kevin is a local food innovator, with his hands in many an Edmonton pie. His fleet of projects include Story Chaser, a video production company with a focus on agriculture and food; Shovel and Fork, which provides workshops on craft food production including charcuterie, fermentation, raising backyard hens, and cob oven construction; and Lactuca, an urban ag business he runs with partner Travis Kennedy. They supply Edmonton’s best restaurants with micro-greens grown in their own backyards.
They’re dedicated to building up a successful urban ag business model, and by the looks of it, they’re doing pretty well. I'm not sure if Kevin actually sleeps, but I was too busy admiring his cob oven to ask.
We had the amazing fortune of joining Kevin for lunch. The meal included a frittata made with his hens’ eggs, local butter, Lactuca greens, edible flowers, and foraged mushrooms.
He’d scored a bunch a day or two earlier, and the caps and stems were laid out on his dining room table to dry - an exquisite graveyard of fungi.
His Lactuca micro-green ‘greenhouse’ boxes are arranged tidily around his yard; he and Travis use a simple yet incredibly effective type of box gardening with lids, meaning they can trap geothermal heat (giving them a longer growing season), and protect the greens if it rains or hails, simply by closing the lids. With these kinds of methods, a huge amount of food can be grown in very small spaces.
Shovel and Fork’s head teaching instructor, Chef Chad Moss (and his adorable blondie son, Max), also joined us for lunch.
Chad is the company’s charcuterie guru, and contributed various kinds of salumi to our lunch, as well as homemade Red Fife bread and cold-smoked salmon.
The meal was phenomenal, and we drank homemade apple cider to wash it all down.
Thanks to Kevin and Chad for this most gorgeous, lazy, sunlit summer lunch. People of Edmonton - don't bother buying a ticket to Europe! Just take a few Shovel and Fork classes and you'll be ready to setup your own piece of French or Italian countryside in the backyard.
We'll leave you with one of Kevin's videos featuring two of our very favourite peeps, Dana and Cam of Joy Road Catering: