This is my first year hearing of and attending the Feast of Fields. It is an annual and local food celebration and fundraising event, held at the beginning of harvest season. It is hosted each year on a different farm within the Okanagan Valley, Southern Vancouver Island, and Metro Vancouver. The Feast is Canada’s largest and longest-running local food and beverage festival. It has been celebrated for over 25 years, presented by FarmFolk CityFolk who has hosted 58 Feasts at 40 different farms.
The goal is to highlight the contribution local chefs, restaurants, farmers, ranchers, fishers, food artisans, vintners, brewers, and distillers make to our local food economy.
This year, the Metro Vancouver Feast of Fields was held at Stable Harvest Farm in Langley on Sunday, September 10th.
It was a four hour long wandering gourmet harvest festival that highlighted the connections between farmers and chefs, field and table, and farm folks and city folks. All guests were equipped with a wine glass and napkin and set off to stroll across the farm fields. You travel from tent to tent, listening to live music, and tasting gourmet creations from some of the Lower Mainland’s top chefs, bakers, food artisans, vintners, brewers, distillers and other beverage producers. Your ticket price covers all food and beverage.
Those who wished to upgrade their experience, they were able do so with the VIP package. With the upgrade VIP guests enjoyed a private tasting with Burdock & Co chef Andrea Carlson and a private guided tour of the hosting farm, Stable Harvest Farm. VIP guests were also granted access to enter the Feast 30 minutes early for the tasting, receive an exclusive gift bag, a souvenir cedar plate, a private area to relax in, exclusive washroom access, and a $75 tax receipt.
Considering this is a fundraising event the above is highly recommended. However, non-VIPs can also help support the cause by purchasing one of the Feast of Fields souvenir cedar plates for $10. They were helpful as a resting place for food, as many dishes were presented and served without plates. And many attendees choose to fill their trays and then find a seat adjacent to some of the farm’s flower and vegetable crop for a more relaxed picnic scenario.
There were also raffle tickets for purchase for a chance to win a foodie themed dream vacation. A silent auction filled with donated food and drink related prizes. And they also take donations, for which they provided a charitable tax receipt for. Worth mentioning is that all the our food and beverage participants donated their products and their time to Feast of Fields, in support of the cause.
Proceeds raised from the event allows FarmFolk CityFolk to develop and operate programs that work to connect, collaborate and engage to foster resilient, sustainable, equitable food systems in BC.
Local restaurants and producers participating included Lita’s Mexican Food, Chop & Chew, Salt & Thyme, Drunken Chocolatier, H Tasting Lounge, Earnest Ice Cream, Nature’s Fare Markets, and more.
Drinks were provided by Wize Tea, Sonora Desert Winery, Driftwood Beer, Kindred Cultures, Roots & Wings Distillery, Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery, Camp Beer, and others.
During our time there we were able to discover new local brands and great plant based options.
Highlights included Ash Street Bistro’s all vegetable “Farm to Leaf to Mouth” kale taco. Made with solely ingredients grown and harvest from Stable Harvest Farm. Carrot, kale, sweet peppers, potato, onion, shallot, garlic, corn, cucumber, heirloom tomato, cherry tomato, cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon, and beets. All of which surrounded us on the farm field today. It was juicy and fresh, messy to eat, but worth it. I didn’t think a collection of vegetables like this could be so tasty raw.
Just as memorable was the Gargouillou of Stable Harvest Farm Vegetables from Legacy Senior Living. This was this roasted carrot ice cream topped with carrot coulis, and dehydrated carrot peel. I don’t know why I was surprised that this tasted as good as it did, considering corn ice cream exists and is delicious.
Speaking of corn in ice cream, Earnest Ice Cream was offering a Jalapeno Honey Cornbread scoop in a mini cone. Prepared with actual jalapeño cornbread chunks made in house, and mixed into a vanilla and sweet honey base. A wonderful collaboration of savoury and sweet from East Van Bees. For the purists they also had their best selling salted caramel and a Vegan Blueberry Crumble for those looking for a plant-based option.
H2 Restaurant within Vancouver Downtown Westin Bayshore had a lovely salmon toasta with fresh vegetables and a crispy base.
The Raving Gamer Bistro and Black Walnut Catering were offering their “Raving Buffalo Slides” prepared with water buffalo, lettuce, and cheese; all between a brioche bun. The highlight was the twice cooked bacon on the grill that drew the crowds to them.
There were coq au vin and bison chorizo sausage on the grill.
And Nina’s cheddar cheese and potato perogies were being boiled and topped with a dill sour cream.
I liked how tasty the vegan one bite Okanagan Stuffed Potatoes were. Topped with cashew cream cheese, pickled beets, lemon aioli, kale chips, and pickled mustard seed.
For drinks I was impressed by Driftwood Spirits’s gin, available in two different profiles. Contact was unique with beeswax, grapefruit peel, iris root, and orange. And Parabola was the more traditional gin offering with notes of violet, lavender, rose, and iris.
Mythology Vineyards, a small craft winery from Osoyoos was on location sampling from their entire wine line, as well as their vodka and brandy made from grapes. I liked their white merlot.
We discovered Abandoned Rail Brewing Co. and got a good taste of their gold award winning Bavarian lager and India Pale Ale.
From Camp Beer Co, I tried their Upstream Pale Ale.
I liked Wild Ambition’s Pre-war stout, described perfectly as the “grandfather of Guinness”.
And found the back story of Sea Cider’s Kings & Spies apple cider interesting. The apples that go into these bottles are picked and donated from abandoned orchards, to help eliminate food waste.
Persephone Brewing Company brought some spiked seltzers on top of their beers. I really enjoyed the one with the lesser seen guava.
And my favourite distillery, Roots & Wings from Abbotsford was on location showing how well their line of flavoured vodkas mix for a one of a kind cocktails.
For dessert there was Kizzy Macarons with a lovely collection of macarons in classic colours and flavours. Cookies and cream, lavender honey, tiramisu, fuzzy peach, pumpkin spice, and lemon raspberry.
Food Network champions, Cassandra Cake Co. Had prepare a deliciously chewy and fudgey walnut brownie bite that won us over. This was surprisingly flourless and dairy free, making it gluten free and vegan friendly.
We also liked their Berry Crostini which is a mini naan with a local mixed berry compote, ricotta, fresh basil, and a balsamic reduction. I liked the flavours and the idea, but would have enjoyed a softer, more dessert-like cakey base than the hard dry one here.
Speaking of cakey, Firehouse Cafe had a lovely carrot cake with walnuts and a not too sweet cream cheese frosting, to crown each bite sized cube.
And Doughnut Love made some donut holes to showcase their classic caramel, pumpkin spice, and chocolate doughnuts. When I think of doughnuts, I think of soft and chewy doughy ones like these.
The Drunken Chocolatier dazzled with their vegan chocolate drops and squares. A not too sweet Maple Black Sesame and a Black Current Earl Grey. I didn’t get much black sesame in the square, so enjoyed it when I bit in and discovered plenty of fruity gel from the black current chocolate drop.
In short, this was a fantastic collection of small bites and sips and a great way to get acquainted with the province through food and drink. For those interested in attending next year’s feast or to donate and support the cause, check out the link below.