All across Alberta, communities will be celebrating a culinary experience provided by local agricultural producers. Open Farm Days, an annual event held across Alberta each August, is an experience to not only celebrate producers but an initiative for area residents to better understand where food comes from. One of the month's local events is a farm-to-table experience being held in Plamondon on Aug.12. It will be an opportunity to share a meal that represents the seasonal fruits and veggies, and get together for an evening of fun, said Paulette Plamondon, the night’s organizer, and treasurer of the Plamondon and District Agricultural Society.
“At least 97 per cent of the meal we are going to have on the menu is going to be from our local growers and producers,” she says. The menu items will include seasonal berries to make a decadent dessert, alongside vegetables, sides and roast beef from locally-produced livestock.
“Desert is going to be based on Saskatoon berries. We have people also donating raspberries and rhubarb, carrots ... that grow in the garden. We want to have a dinner that’s right from the field to the table,” she said while celebrating and kicking off the provincial celebration for the first time in Plamondon.
The Plamondon event is one of the province’s kick-off locations for the month-long awareness campaign.
The evening dinner, complete with a cocktail hour, full meal and entertainment, will be held at Plamondon’s Festival Centre. Doors open at 5 p.m.
In organizing and promoting the event, Plamondon says it’s all about celebrating and acknowledging the vital role of food procurers in the community — especially considering the challenges producers have faced in recent years during the pandemic and with economic and environmental challenges.
“The bottom line is people need farmers. Some of our farmers have been going through difficult times whether it's the commodity prices or the weather challenges, we just want them to know how much they’re appreciated,” she said. “They are the stars of the evening; the producers, our farmers and our gardeners.”
Helping to keep that positive theme running through the evening, motivational speaker and Saskatchewan farmer Lesley Kelly will be talking about the mental health challenges that producers experience. It’s an issue that is important to bring awareness, said Plamondon.
“I thought she would be a great fit for the event because the farmers have had two tough years with COVID-19 and sometimes the farming season hasn’t always been cooperative. I think her talk is going to give people courage.”
Wrapping up the evening is a musical performance by Plamondon-based country-rock band Hired Hand.
“We are going to finish the evening with a dance, let our hair down a little bit and enjoy an evening of fun.”
Connecting producers and locals
While a large part of the first-ever Open Farm Days event is an opportunity to celebrate local producers, it’s also an opportunity to expand networks, and connecting locals and businesses with one another, said Plamondon.
“We're trying to let people know who producers are and what they produce, so they know where to buy or support in the community…we want to build that relationship while supporting local.”
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling PDCDS at 780-798-3478 or online at https://eatlocalplamondon.eventbrite.ca. The event is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday August 12.