Treat yourself to an Alberta farm-to-table dinner under the prairie skies
Join the Prairie Farm Project on Aug. 17 for a one-of-a-kind dining experience
It doesn’t get any fresher than dinner right in the middle of the farm field, where the food on your plate was harvested just hours before.
That’s the idea behind the farm-to-plate dinner at Lazy T Farm on Aug. 17, in partnership with two other nearby farms, Redtail and Lady’s Hat, who collectively call themselves the Prairie Farm Project. The three farms pride themselves on collaborative and healthy farming practices, says Jenna Nibourg, a family member of Lazy T, a five-generation farm in Halkirk, Alta., 30 minutes east of Stettler.
“We are like-minded farmers who have the same values and are passionate about what we do, says Nibourg. “It’s pretty cool.”
Each brings to the long-table dinner their own specialty. For Lazy T it includes pastured chickens and eggs, while Redtail specializes in beef and pork and Lady’s Hat focuses on vegetables, raw honey and flowers.
The farms, about 20 minutes apart, are participating in this year’s Alberta Open Farm Days. It’s a chance for nearby residents, including people from Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer to sample the bounty of Alberta’s rich agricultural backdrop.
The day begins around 1 p.m. at Redtail where guests can learn about holistic grazing, regenerative farming practices and see a food forest. Just 20 minutes down the road, the next stop is at Lazy T to learn about the history of the 1904 farm and tour the historic buildings and enjoy al fresco dining. The evening begins with drinks around 5:30 p.m., followed by a festive long-table dinner at 6:30 under the prairie skies.
The ambiance sets the stage for Chef Jason Barton-Brown, who will take the ingredients from each of the farms and create a multi-course meal.
“I’m excited,” says Barton-Brown. “The nice thing about August is we are into the bounty of Alberta.”
Barton-Brown, sous chef at Calgary’s River Café, isn’t revealing specifics, but he’s looking forward to creating a variety of dishes for the family-style spread. He’s got word that Redtail, known for its pork, has a 400-lb sow.
“I can’t not try to cook something that big,” he says.
Lazy T’s pasture-raised chickens, which Barton-Brown says are some of the best in Alberta, is also something he’s looking forward to cooking up, as well as using Lady’s Hat’s fresh produce and honey.
Barton-Brown has worked with the farms before and is happy to do it again, not just for the chance to work with their ingredients, but for the farmers’ forward-thinking philosophy.
“They are young educated families and individuals who are connecting with what their families has been doing for a long time. The fact they held on to it and are embracing what was given to them and running with it, is pretty amazing,” he says.
To complete your prairie experience, guests with dinner tickets can bring their tents or trailers for overnight camping on the farm. Another option is to spend the night at the historic 1911 Halkirk Hotel. “Everybody who sees it is amazed. It’s been renovated to look like its 100 years old,” says Shelly Burnstead, whose mother Leona owns the property.
More about Open Farm Days and the Prairie Farm Project August Dinner
When: Saturday, Aug. 17.
Tickets: $75 per person, including dinner and camping. Get your tickets at Eventbrite. Guests can also opt to only attend the days’ farm visits, beginning at 1 p.m. More information about Alberta Open Farm Days, the dinner and Prairie Farm Project here.
Halkirk Hotel: The hotel has nine rooms with 11 beds. Rates range from $55 for a single room to $80 for a room with an ensuite bathroom. Otherwise, bathrooms are shared. Payment is in cash only. There is also a restaurant, bar, and café onsite (closed Sundays and Mondays) . Check out their Facebook page for more info. You can book a room by calling (403) 872-0178.