The first annual Lloydminster Harvest Feastival, held in October of 2010, was successful in that over 100 consumers were connected with their local food producers. Now, three years later Feastival has more than doubled in participant numbers with more consumers and more producers coming forward to take part in this annual event. Despite the October blizzard which had blanketed the streets and highways in snow and ice, the Lloydminster Exhibition Association’s third annual ‘Harvest Feastival’ was a success.
Over 400 people braved the premature winter storm to experience a feast of locally grown food, and to meet the people who had produced it.
Feastival is hosted every October by the Lloydminster Exhibition Association, with sponsorship this year from The County of Vermilion River, ALUS, Lower Shannon Farms, Sask Canola, Lloydminster Community Futures, The Cheesiry, and the Root Community Emporium.
The menu is prepared by the Exhibition’s chef Rob, with the help of the kitchen staff who go out of their way to ensure that the food served is fresh and delicious. There were 10 stations this year, featuring Cheese Appetizers, Roast Turkey with Mashed Potatoes and Strawberry Chutney, Pulled Pork with Coleslaw, Lamb Shishkali with Barley Pilaf, Drunken Chicken with Wild Rice, Curried Goat with Quinoa Salad, Beef Meatballs with home made Noodles or Spaghetti Squash and Tomato Sauce, a Vegetarian station featuring Corn Chowder, Lentil Borscht, Spinach Salad with Roasted Pumpkin and Peppers, and Roasted Beet Salad, as well as a dessert station featuring Crisps, Cobblers and Pastries combined with fruit sauces from Apple, Cherry, Haskap, Raspberry and Saskatoon. The tenth station was a beverage station which featured locally produced Wine and Beer, and ‘not so locally’ produced coffee, tea and punch. Nobody’s perfect you see!
The menu is grown by farmers who are local to the Lloydminster area. Some are within a 30 mile radius of the city, and others are further away, but still within a few hours of Lloydminster. The producers who participated in Feastival this year are:
Lower Shannon Farms grew the beef and the pork.
The Cheesiry milked the sheep and produced the cheese appetizers.
Hedge Haven Farms raised the chicken.
DJ Turkey Bird Ranch raised the turkey.
Chris and Ron Hooper grew the goat and the lamb.
Kathy’s Greenhouse grew the potatoes, carrots, beets, onions and peppers.
Fanthorpe Plantation grew the squash, honey, corn and raspberries.
Skyline Greenhouses produced tomatoes for our tomato sauce.
Emjay’s Prairie Berries grew the haskap berries, the pumpkins, the gourds and the strawberries.
Flying Rabbit Fruit Farm grew the cherries, the apples and the Saskatoon berries.
Northern Quinoa Corp provided us with quinoa for our salad.
Progressive Foods brought us barley for our pilaf.
Avena Foods grew oats for the fruit crisps.
Lakeland Wild Rice harvested the wild rice to serve with our drunken chicken.
Living Sky Winery produced the fruit wine.
The various food stations at Feastival are hosted by Celebrity ‘Chefs’. These are people from the Lloydminster area who volunteer their time to help serve the food and answer questions about where it has come from. The celebrity chefs this year included Lloydminster’s mayor, radio personalities, the Lloydminster Exhibition Association manager, local farmers, a Veterinarian, local entrepreneurs and students.
The Feastival committee wanted to create an event that would connect people who eat to those who grow and produce food in their area. It is in the hope that by developing this connection, consumers will come to know what foods are produced in our immediate area, and will feel a sense of security in purchasing from these producers that they have a relationship with. By bridging the gap between rural and urban, it can help the producers to understand what the consumers are looking for, and help the consumers to understand how the farmer grows their food.
And, let’s face it; we all want to have a little fun. It’s great to get a few hundred people into a room to mingle, have some laughs and enjoy a fabulous meal. This year local entertainment was added to the event. Two young musicians, Taylor Wilson and Greg Bitz (also locally grown), sang and played guitar on and off throughout the evening, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Despite the early evening worries over bad weather, and the last minute scramble of preparing and presenting what are essentially eight separate small banquets, Lloydminster’s Harvest Feastival is actually getting more streamlined and easier to prepare. This means some new ideas are already coming forward for Feastival 2013!
I’m not going to give any secrets away, but it’s going to be even better next year! I hope we’ll see you there to show support to our local producers and to enjoy a delicious locally grown meal at the Lloydminster Exhibition Convention Centre.
“If the rain spoils our picnic, but saves a farmer’s crop, who are we to say it shouldn’t rain?” – Tom Barrett