Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Most Delicious Meeting I've Ever Attended

As an active member of the thriving Stratford culinary community (you might call me a 'keener'), I go to a lot of meetings. Most are held in conference rooms. Occasionally they might be somewhere fun like McCully's Hill Farm, or (even better), a local watering hole like the Boar's Head or Fosters Inn (which by the way is particularly good for an alcohol-enriched mid-morning meeting). I'm a little jealous of the folks planning the upcoming Stratford Pride Weekend, because I hear their meetings quickly turn into parties and regularly last until 4 or 5 am.

Every meeting I go to is devoted to food, whether it's for the community garden I helped start at McCully's this year, or for Slow Food Perth County Convivium (I'm the Education Exec!), or for the Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival (where I am honoured to sit on both the Education and Communications Committees). 

So meetings every week about food. But, irony of ironies: No food!

That all changed last weekend, when I went to what was possibly the best meeting ever (it was definitely the best meeting I've ever attended!). 
All members of the various Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival committees were invited to come together for a social at the picturesque Lassdale Farms (situated in the countryside just outside of Shakespeare). Every committee shared their respective plans for what certainly promises to be  one of the premier food events in Ontario this fall.

All of our collective plans for the SSPCC Festival (which takes place on September 25-26 but punctuates a whole week of programming beginning with the Stratford Garlic Festival on Sept. 18-19) are extremely exciting. The Entertainment Committee have booked a stellar line-up for the opening ceremonies and the musical talent continues unabated for two days straight. The Education Committee have confirmed a reading and book-signing by Sarah Elton, author of the book Locavore, as well as a  talk by Lorraine Johnson, author of City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing (which will be integrated with a container-planting demonstration by the folks at Stratford's gardening mecca Anything Grows!) The Events Committee have recruited the best of Perth County's food producers and matched each of them with our area's  best chefs for Sunday's Tasting Tent. I'm working on growing a "Living Salad Bar" in the Kid's Tent on Saturday! The innovating, informative, and  scrumptious programming goes on and on... 
But hold on a second - let's get back to the food at this meeting! The committee presentations were paused for a while so all of us could create-n-bake a pizza in farmer Mark Lass & family's new, home-made outdoor pizza oven!
Once the presentations were finished, we got down to business with some Berkshire ribs from Perth Pork Products cooked over the open, wood-fired grill built right into the pizza oven. 
Everyone brought along a potluck side: let me tell you, when you're holding an event for volunteers at a culinary festival, you want to ask them to bring along some food of their own.

Actually, there's more good news on the above-and-beyond potluck front this coming weekend: Slow Food Perth County is holding the annual Slow Food Potluck Picnic in the Park lunch in Victoria Park this Sunday, July 18th, beginning at 1 pm! Absolutely everyone is welcome, but don't forget to bring a plate and cutlery and some local, seasonal food to share!

If you wish you could have enjoyed the pizza oven and outdoor cooking festivities at Lassdale Farms yourself, don't worry: the Slow Food Perth County Convivium is having a Pork Party at Punkeydoodles (aka a pig roast) at the same location on August 15th!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention two other great upcoming food events this summer: On July 25, McCully's Hill Farms is hosting its annual In Your Face Pie Fest, where I will be battling-it-out in the celebrity pie-eating contest against an as-yet-unnamed-but-totally-going-down opponent. If you think you have a pie recipe with the right stuff, get it into the pie-making contest! On August 29, McCully's will be having its annual SPLAT (Savouring Perth Local Annual Tomatoes) Festival, where a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes will be showcased alongside more outdoor pizzas and wine pairings courtesy of Pazzo's Pizzeria & Ristorante.

Lots of meetings = lots of events! I can't wait to see everyone out at all the fun and flavourful happenings going on in the Stratford area this summer and fall! But watch out: you might get blogged by the Local-Come-Lately!

1 comment:

  1. This summer & fall sound totally yummie! We can't wait.