Thursday, December 13, 2012

Explore Local Foods, Local Markets Event

I still miss our pigs...
Myself and Ron Erdmann of Erdmann's Gardens and Greenhouses will be headlining this event on January 16th near Barrhead. This is an event being hosted by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and should be very interesting for anyone thinking of starting a farm based, direct sales business. It could also be a great venue if you are a well established marketer to be able to share your experiences and perhaps pick up some tips from others. I know that I am looking forward to learning as much or more than I share. Here is the link to the event

I will be speaking about our experiences in starting our farm business. The information I have learned through experience about small scale farming, marketing, sales and social media. The importance of selling and more importantly what are we actually selling? The answer may surprise you.

One of our early ventures...potatoes
I will also share some of the stories of the trials in my transition back to farming after leaving the large grain operation that my Dad had going. I'll let you know about the livestock we've tried, the crops we've experimented with, the equipment we've gone through. Most of these stories are amusing I can assure you. I will also let you know where we are now and what are our plans for the future of our farm.

I am hopeful that I will be able to give everyone some good ideas on achieving sustainability for your farm and maybe provide some additional ideas for direct marketing your products. 

Here is the google map of Summerdale Hall. I hope to see many of you on January 16th!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Ruiskakut Cookies - Traditional Christmas Favorite

Ruiskakut Cookies
These cookies originated in Finland (one posting I found said they originate in the land of Karelia, which includes parts of Finland and Russia) and as far as I can tell they are a winter/Christmas treat. They are sometimes called Estonian Rye Cookies.
They are mainly made with a whole grain rye flour and are often served as appetizers with a cream cheese spread or fruit preserves. ""

The few recipes that I found were all pretty much the same. I took the simplest one and made it as "100 mile" as possible.
1 cup of softened butter
2/3 cup honey (the original recipe called for granulated sugar)
2 cups whole grain rye flour
1 cup soft wheat flour (Spelt Flour would be a great substitute)
3 tbsp water 
NOTE: I didn't add the water as my dough was still quite soft. Instead I added a touch more flour and let it firm up a bit in the fridge before rolling.

Beat the butter until smooth. Add honey and beat until fluffy. 
Add flours and mix until just combined.
Add water if needed to hold dough together OR knead in additional flour if dough is too soft to roll out. Wrap in plastic and chill if needed.
Roll dough about 1/8" thick. Use a 3" wide scalloped cutter and then a 1" round cutter to create a "wreath".
Pierce all over with a fork. Add red and green decorating sugar crystals if desired.
Bake at 350F for about 8 min. They can become over done quite quickly so check at 7 min.

They are a thin, crisp yet tender cookie with a wonderful earthy flavour from the whole grain flours and honey.
A definite worth while cookie to add to your Christmas traditions!

The above recipe was submitted to me by Deb Krause. She has a beautiful blog entitled Simple Pleasures Deb is also known as @DebTheLocavore on Twitter!