Imagine a perfect September evening, twinkling lights, gourmet food and an air of fall and you’ve got the Farmers’ Feast at St. Norbert Farmers’ Market. This annual event is celebrated its ninth year with a family style feast that is not to be missed and here are the reasons why. (Okay, so we’ve actually got six reasons, but that didn’t work with an alliterative headline, so we hope you’ll forgive us.)
1. The setting
This is a beautiful spot to have a dinner. From the white canopy overhead, to the sparkling lights and chandeliers strung up all around, to the decidedly autumnal decor, to the perfect crisp fall air, every detail is perfection.
2. The chef
Chef Ben Kramer has basically become a household name in Winnipeg. Arguably, he is the father of the local food movement in Manitoba, fostering a culture of pride in our Manitoba producers for more than a decade. Here he is waxing poetic about food as he describes the menu for the evening.
3. The community
It’s clear that this is an event that is about everyone. From the chef to the farmers to the producers to the patrons of St. Norbert Farmers’ Market. On display are tables from Nature’s Farm, Fresh Forage and Manitoba Beef, a hint of the feast to come. Between each course, farmers come to the mic to tell their story and what drives their passion and every dish features ingredients that are sold at the market.
4. The veggies
You will have no problem getting your daily allotment of vegetables when they come served like this. Soup so flavourful it’s like eating sun warmed tomatoes straight off the vine. A kale, wild rice orzo and egg salad topped with cheese and tossed in a dressing that will have you licking the plate. And banana squash puree, topped with the most amazing roasted carrots drizzled with a coffee aioli, because what doesn’t taste better with a little mayo on top? Literally nothing. Not only will your tastebuds sing, but the sheer intensity of colour is a feast for the sense. (Veggies from Blue Lagoon, Nature’s Farm, Fresh Forage, Almost Urban and Oak Valley.)
5. The protein
The parade of culinary delights continues with grass fed beef, so tender it actually melts in the mouth. The violeta potatoes served underneath, absorb the natural juices from the meat. The chicken is as simply prepared as you can get, allowing the pure flavourful chicken to shine. (Beef from Manitoba Beef, chicken from Wildfire Farms.)
6. The treats
The best kind of dinner is one that comes with two desserts and Farmers’ Feast does that. The first is a plate of dainties featuring market treats and the most melt in your mouth silky chocolate bites. The second a quinoa cake topped with brandy soaked fruit, whipped cream and cookie crumbs. And while this is kind of circling back, it would be remiss not to mention the bread and butter that started our meal. It may seem like a simple thing but the slightly salty bread combined with the housemade creamy butter was about as good as this appetizer can get. (Chocolate from The Bar Lady, quinoa from Tamarack Farms, bread from Old Church Bakery.)