FarmFolk-CityFolk-sign-Tim-Pawsey-photo

FarmFolk CityFolk is one of BC’s longest established proponents of locally grown food

Food and wine celebrations come and go but one of the longest running—unquestionably because its very telling relevance continues to resonate—is Feast of Fields, the notable outdoor graze that now unfolds in three incarnations: Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan Valley.

All are immensely popular and usually sell out. No surprise.

He may be hamming it up, but John Bishop is one of the movement’s longest and most dedicated supporters

They’re well supported by the culinary and beverage community’s more enlightened movers and shakers. These proactive folks not only understand the long term value in directly connecting with consumers and customers, they’re also committed to the ideals of preserving the agrarian land base (read Agricultural Land Reserve, ‘ALR’) so critical to the health of truly ‘locally grown’ food.

Last year’s Metro Van Feast at Langley’s Krause Berry Farms yielded a cross-section of local tastes served (in some cases with considerable ingenuity) in a breathtakingly beautiful bucolic setting.

Spicy Albacore tuna from Edible Canada—typical of the tasty portable treats found at Feast…

This year’s extravaganza—Sunday Sept. 9th at Golden Ears Cheesecrafters in Maple Ridge—features leading metro chefs and producers, including not a few local brewers and vintners.

Such harvest time walkabouts are a fitting salute to the season but they’re also truly  grounded in the notion of connecting urban dwellers to their rural roots. That’s how Feast of Fields got started in the first place (back in 1993)—as the primary fundraiser for FarmFolk CityFolk.

Entertainment stage and porcine spectator at Krause Berry Farms, TP photo

In many cases the forward-thinking restaurants (along with wineries and breweries) who participate in ‘Feast’ are very much part of the year-round vanguard driving the shift to locally sourced  and grown ingredients, which are increasingly organic or free range.

Seasonal 56 (Langley) owners Adrian and Shannon Beatty

However, while pivotal moments (such as the BC- originated 100 Mile Diet) might suggest a more recent phenomenon, the movement owes its very solid foundation to pioneers such as Bishop’s John Bishop, and Janice Lotzkar of Raintree fame, and FarmFolk/CityFolk co-founder, along with Herb Barbolet, who first started working with the likes of Hazelmere Farms and others back in the late 1980s.

While the emphasis at ‘Feast’ tends to be on the cuisine and produce (not surprisingly, given it’s harvest time), the year’s biggest outdoor graze has evolved into a significant showcase for local brewers and vintners of all stripes.

Summerhill’s Ezra Cipes pours from environmentally responsible packaging

This year’s edition features no less than 18 wineries, including Langley’s Vista D’Oro, Neck of the Woods and Domaine de Chaberton, as well as Okanagan stalwarts such as Summerhill, Blasted Church and Gray Monk, and Saanich’s Sea Cider, to mention but a few.

On the hop side you’ll find R & B Brewing and Whistler, while Victoria Spirits and Pemberton Distillers represent the region’s growing community of craft distillers.

There’s plenty more, too much to include here. Feast of Fields still reigns as one of the most enjoyable and tasteful outdoor events of the year—which is why tickets go fast.  If you’ve never been, you owe it to yourself. Hop on the return shuttle from downtown Vancouver.

Full details and tix at www.feastoffields.com

‘Feast’ often inspires some ingenious creations, such as this portable, high temperature pizza oven, built out of an oil drum, by Terra Breads’ John Mackay