Cooking Classes


The Canadian Food Experience - Local Food Heroes

The Canadian Food Experience Project is the brainchild of Valerie at A Canadian Foodie. This is the third edition of a yearlong project. I can see a cookbook in our future. This month we have 80 participants. I am blown away by the participation.

My Earliest Memory of Canadian Food
Regional Canadian Food - SW Saskatchewan 
These are the links to my previous challenges. My first memory...home made bread. Regional food...flat pie.

And the winner is.....

This month we are highlighting a local food hero. I live in Swift Current, SK. We are almost in the Middle of Nowhere. I say almost because if you drive an hour south you are really in the middle of nowhere. We are 5 hours to Calgary, 3 hours to Saskatoon or 2.5 hours to Regina. South, we are 5 hours to Great Falls, Montana which only has a population of 58,000. In fact there isn't a city in Montana with more than 104,000 people.

One would imagine that our choices for a local food hero might be limited. Not so.

I could talk about Farmer Bill. That is what I call him. Bill purchased an acreage formerly owned by Adolf Heyer. This is an exerpt from the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame.

"Adolph Heyer received international acclaim for his work in developing hardy tree fruits. Many of his selections are still being grown on the Prairies. He was born in Lunner, Norway, in 1875 and moved to the United States in 1904. In 1905, he took out a homestead near Neville, Saskatchewan.
Distressed by the lack of trees in the area, he first tried unsuccessfully to transplant young trees from nearby coulees. He obtained his first seedling spruce from Woodstock, Ontario, in 1913 and they thrived. He became so enthused with spruce that by 1918 he had thousands of them. He also planted acres of peonies. These provided a splash of color on what was formerly open prairie."

Bill has continued in Adolf's steps and has a completely organic farm with a multitude of herbs, berries, vegetables, Adolf's apple trees and chickens, turkeys and laying hens.

Or I could introduce you to Val and Bob Newland who raise Black Welsh and other heritage breeds of sheep, practice ethical farming and honour the animal until the end.

I could introduce you to Ron DePauw. He has been the principal wheat breeder at the Semiarid Prairie Research Centre near Swift Current, SK. This is an excerpt from The University of Saskatchewan when he was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Science in 2012.

"Dr. DePauw, a Saskatchewan native, is an outstanding citizen of the province, of Canada and the world. His contributions to the wheat industry of Canada are unparalleled. He has developed over 50 varieties for several classes of spring wheat for Canada. Because of the demanding requirements for quality in Canadian wheats, this is one of the most difficult crops to breed. His varieties have been extremely well received by prairie farmers, typically occupying more than 50 per cent of the seeded acreage. The incremental value of these contributions is estimated to be well over one billion dollars."

My choice for a local food hero are the Peterson's at Tompkins, SK that is less than an hour down the road. They were growing red fife years before it was on the list to sell. Only grains registered could be sold. They held their red fife in granaries for 5 years but were determined that it should be available. Chef Michael Smith buys their red fife flour for his hamburger buns at his Great Canadian Grill at Queen's University, Kingston, ON.

This is a delicious rustic pie using red fife flour.

  Tarte Tatin
This French classic is much easier than making traditional pastry. Take it from stovetop to table.
5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
rind and juice of one lemon
1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
1 c. sugar 250 mL
6 tbsp. butter 90 mL
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 3 mL
1 tbsp. cognac or brandy, optional 15 mL
whipped cream, ice cream and sliced almonds as accompaniments
Mix apples with lemon and 1/2 c. (125 mL) sugar. Let sit for 20 minutes. Drain liquid.
Preheat oven to 425F (230C)
Heat 1 c. (250 mL) sugar and butter in a cast iron skillet until brown and medium caramel in colour.  Remove from heat and add the drained apple to the caramel.  Cook at medium high heat for about 10 minutes, basting with juices. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Roll pastry into a circle.  Place crust on top, tucking in the sides. Cut slits to let steam out.
Cook 20 -30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.   Let cool about an hour before serving with whipped cream or ice cream and sliced almonds.
3/4 c. all purpose flour 190 mL
1/3 c. red fife flour 80 mL
1/2 tsp. salt 3 mL
1 tbsp. sugar 15 mL
1/2 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces 125 mL
2 tbsp. frozen lard, cut into small pieces 30 mL
1/4 c. cold water 60 mL
Add dry ingredients to food processor and pulse to blend.  Add butter and lard and pulse a few times until it is still a little chunky but not as fine as cornmeal.  Gradually add water while pulsing just until the dough comes together. Remove to a floured counter top and gently knead 1 or 2 times. Form into a flattened disk and chill for an hour. Then roll into a circle and top the apples.
Makes 8 servings.


  1. Oh my stars - is that Holly Peterson? She's a dear friend of mine. I worked with her for years and haven't seen her for awhile. Home grown and home made are the best!!

    Happy August Sarah!
    xo Catherine

  2. Food heros are all around us in every region of Canada. Thanks fir sharing your with us Sarah.

  3. Just thought about making a tarte tatin today but...sleep got the better of me! IT looks yummy and what a great idea to shine the spotlight on Canada and local food heroes. I've never heard of red fife..... Well now I have. Thank you!

  4. What a great read - I had no idea Swift Currant was so far away from other communities... it certainly was the perfect place to "escape"! I cannot wait to try to make this recipe. It looks scrumptious, Sarah! I am so thrilled you are in this project as your voice - and clearly, this location, is such an important one.

  5. The Tarte looks great, but I really laughed at the picture of the chicken in the rusty truck.

    I couldn't live almost in the middle of nowhere. I develop an irrational fear of bears. Yes, bears. When we've stayed in the boonies upon occasion, I have kept my dearly beloved awake nights, certain that there are bears just outside the window. I hope you're safe from bears, Sarah, and that Miss Sugar stays indoors so the bears won't get her.

    1. That is funny but it isn’t funny! No bears here but I keep a watch on Miss Sugar because we have a lot of birds of prey. The hawks would have no problem picking her up for dinner.

      The tarte is so good and so easy.


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