Supper in the Field

Kelwood, Manitoba is a quaint small town, consisting of an old hockey arena (home of the ‘old puckers’), the White Rabbit Café (more on this tomorrow) a legion, dozens of charming homes, approximately one intersection, and the annual Harvest Sun Music Festival

The Harvest Sun Music Festival’s primary goal is to support Manitoba locals, from food to the arts.  At the festival, farming organizations such as ‘Farm and Rural Stress Line’ and ‘Farmers with Disabilities’ are given a forum to create awareness, farmers can sell produce, and only Manitoba brewed beverages are served in the beer tent.  In the 8 year history of the festival, strictly Canadian (and mostly Manitoban) artists have performed. 

Families camp on the festival grounds in tents or trailers or tipis, shop at the festival’s farmers’ market, attend documentary screenings in the tipi village, and, of course, enjoy a full line-up of musical acts while either dancing or lounging.  It was a picture perfect, wholesome, summer-in-the-country scene.

While in Kelwood, we also attended ‘Supper in the Field’, the 10th annual celebration of local food in Manitoba.  This year, the supper was also on the festival grounds, and the food was sourced almost entirely from producers in the surrounding Parkland region. We entered the large white tent, and sat ourselves at a table with great anticipation, and watched a short film about a guy who travelled around Manitoba by bike, eating only food grown in the province.

The menu featured pulled pork tacos and steak strips with meat from French’s Farm, roasted vegetables from Little Path farm, artisan breads from the Foxtail Café and Western Bakery, Manitoba wild rice pilaf, authentic Ukrainian beet buns, and pickerel cheeks.

The beet buns were a totally new dish to us, but quite a classic dish in this region of Manitoba. Fried dough is wrapped in beet leaves, then simmered in a creamy dill sauce.  They were rich, savoury, and quite addictive.  Another new food we enjoyed were pickerel cheeks, which we also learned are a prized delicacy.  Who knew fish had cheeks?

Beer from the Farmery Estate Brewery was served alongside dinner. 

Chris and Lawrence Warwaruk grew up on a farm in rural Manitoba, and after opening and running a successful restaurant in Winnipeg for several years, decided to combine their knowledge of farming and restaurant service to create North America’s first estate brewery.  The ingredients used to make their beer are grown on their farm.  These ambitious brothers have an impressive story to go with their refreshing lager.

Cornell Crème is a brand new Manitoba ice cream company whose product also originates from their own farm.  Lisa Dyck and her husband William are proud to be Manitoba’s first dairy producer-processor; their 1000 acre farm, Cornell Dairy, is northeast of Winnipeg.  Their 120 holsteins graze freely and are milked twice a day, 365 days per year, producing 98, 000 litres of milk per month!  Flavours include Natural Vanilla Bean (which we had the pleasure of trying in an ice cream sandwich), Lemon Meringue, and Malty Ale Pail.

Supper in the Field was an incredible event, and evidence of a thriving regional food culture in Manitoba.  Being surrounded by national park wonder, small town charm, and hard working farmers made the food taste even better.  After dinner, we wandered over to enjoy some of the music.  Our favourite act of the night was ‘Red Moon Road’—I’ll leave you with this serenade...

-DV