Around the table… with Beeland

 

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Springtime means the bees wake from their dormancy and get to work pollinating all the lovely flowers, fruits, vegetables and more that we enjoy all year!
Here at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, Beeland is bee-central and our provider of both products and knowledge. I asked Morley, the owner of Beeland, to share some info on his products and what we can do to support the bees this spring.

  1. How did the story start for Beeland?

In 2000, I bought 125 acres of wilderness property in the Columbia Valley region of BC with the intent of retiring. In 2004, I approached a local beekeeper to put 6 bee hives in this spectacular alpine region. That was the beginning of Jubilee Mountain Apiary Ltd, which was named for Jubilee Mountain where the property was located.
In 2006, we purchased the dilapidated Spillimacheen Trading Post, located on the highway between Radium and Golden, and began what has turned out to be a 10-year restoration and renovation project. The old trading post building was re-named Beeland Market, as a retail outlet for our honey.
Today, Beeland Market has grown to include not just honey sales, but has expanded into a complete gourmet store, coffee bar and a new cafe opening in April 2017.
Jubilee Mountain Apiary Ltd. now operates anywhere from 200 to 300 bee colonies, employing 3 full time beekeepers, and an additional staff of 6-8 persons in retail, food production and food service.

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  1. What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Calgary Farmers’ Market family?

Our role at the market is more than selling honey and bee products; we are very much filling an educational role to the public on the reality of bee life. Most people are concerned with the life and survival of bees and their role in our lives, particularly as pollinators.
I try and explain the fragile nature of our environment and how it sustains bee life, and as a result of that, human life. Beeland, in its very important physical location at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, has become a critical educator to the public in this very important area of apiary agriculture.

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  1. What’s your favorite item that you produce? Why?

Our honey changes year to year depending on the climate. The most unique honey that is produced is definitely Snowberry Honey from one alpine location. The Snowberry plant grows exclusively in the Rocky Mountain area and has a tiny pink flower that blossoms in late June. This tiny flower is very high in nectar, however its blossom coincides with a wet June climate. Because of this, the bees are not able to gather the nectar each year. The production of this honey is very small, and is sold out instantly when we are able to present it in September.

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  1. Do you have a go-to recipe that highlights your product?

Beeland market uses honey in our line of Beeland sauces. This product line now ranges from BBQ sauces, Honey Hot Sauces, and other food products produced with honey.

  1. Words of Wisdom you live by:
Bees are one of the few creatures that sustain the lives of human beings, they take nothing away from the universal creation. They are in perfect harmony with nature and life of the world. Human beings should be able to learn from them and live our lives in the same perfect peace and harmony that bees do.

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  1. What’s your favorite thing to eat in the market that’s not from your booth?

Margarita’s cheese perogies, drizzled with butter and Beeland honey. It’s a special delicacy!

  1. What are three quick tips about bees that you want to share with market guests?

1. Bees sustain life.
2. Do not spray dandelions, as dandelions are the first flowers in this climate that produce both pollen and nectar. This is the first food for the bees in the spring and it is critical for their survival. Eliminate all spraying of herbicides and insecticides. We must re-educate our minds that this flower is not a weed, but is part of a natural system that sustains life.
3. Lately, bee keeping has become a trendy hobby for urban-dwellers. We, as human beings must understand that bees are delicate living beings, and any aspiring beekeeper MUST ensure proper education and internship with a seasoned beekeeper prior to embarking on becoming one.

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Easy Easter Feast

A few things hop to mind when you think of Easter: chocolate bunnies, egg decorating, and ham.  Sure, there are other things that make up Easter, but in terms of food, these three things are pretty prominent.  We wondered how best to offer useful (and delicious) information and landed on: How to Roast a Ham.  It’s dead simple and is a sure-fire way to make every tummy at the table happy.
Plus, we just visited Greg and Bonnie Spragg’s pig farm.  When they offer you a ham, you don’t refuse.  In fact, you thank them gleefully because it’s the most beautiful ham you ever did see.
Ham Collage
Market-Sourced Ingredients

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Remember when we said it was simple?  You can’t get a whole lot simpler than three ingredients.  Yes, we know those ingredients don’t include brown sugar and mustard.  There are a few pretty traditional (and still yummy) ham glazes kickin’ around, but we wanted to give you something a little more off-the-beaten-path than the Cola or Pineapple Ginger recipes.  Plus, the only fruit that’s really “in-season” right now are apples and that’s just a little too close to the old-fashioned ham and apple sauce dinner we used to get at Grandma’s.  Why not try something a little different?

Preheat oven to 325F.  Using a very sharp knife, score fat in a diamond pattern.

Meanwhile, stir amber honey with blueberry balsamic.

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Place ham in a shallow roasting pan just big enough to hold it. Roast in centre of preheated 325F oven, uncovered, allowing 18 to 20 minutes per pound for a bone-in ham.

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Roast ham for 45 minutes before beginning to baste generously with the mixture.  To form a rich glaze, continue brushing with mixture every 15 minutes. Save any remaining glaze. Remove ham to a platter and tent with foil for at least 15 minutes.

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If you want to make a bit of a sauce for your ham: add 1 cup of vegetable broth and any remaining glaze to the pot you roasted the ham in. Stir pan bottom vigorously to scrape up all of the flavor-packed browned bits. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat burner on the stove (you can transfer from roasting pan to smaller pot at the point to make it less cumbersome). Then reduce heat to medium and boil gently, uncovered and stirring often, until slightly reduced, from 5 to 10 more minutes. Pour over sliced ham. Meat will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for a week or more.

Now, we know that ham is often served with traditional sides, like scalloped potatoes.  And if you’re an accomplished or ambitious cook, homemade scalloped potatoes are the bomb.  But as we can guess, you’re all very busy and since we’re selling this as an Easy Easter Feast, we suggest checking out the vast and tasty selection of ready-made agrio boxes at the Cherry Pit.

Agrio Boxes Capture

They offer everything from roasted or quick saute vegetables to easy dress and shake salads, all made in-house by their very talented vegetable butcher.  Easter dinner could not be easier.

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Want to learn more about Greg & Bonnie Spragg?  Check out our farm feature!

Easter Leftovers

After a busy weekend of hunting for Easter treats, entertaining family and friends, and preparing a big meal, the last thing you likely want to do is more.  More of anything.  But dinner awaits and standing in front of the fridge, gazing at all of the leftovers, hoping they will miraculously whip themselves together into something that passes as a meal isn’t going to help.  Do not despair.  Here, we have for you, two simple ways to use up that Easter ham staring back at you.

Market-Sourced Ingredients:

Leftover Ham from Spragg’s Meat Shop

Smoked Gouda from Sylvan Star Cheese

Edgar Farms Mustard Pickles from Innisfail Growers Co-op

Butter Lettuce from The Cucumber Man

Fig and Fennel Bread from Yum Bakery

Ham Sandwich 1

The best part about this sandwich is that it takes about five minutes to throw together, but tastes like you put a whole lot of thought and effort into it.  Start by cutting the ham into bite-sized pieces to be warmed in a pot.  This is where the sticky leftover bits of glazed ham and fatty rind really come in handy, coupled with a small splash of water, the ham will stay moist as it reheats.

Ham Sandwich 2

Lightly toast and butter the bread.  Top with the smoked gouda, mustard pickles (they’re really quite flavourful, so this is a to-taste preference), a leaf of the butter lettuce, and warmed ham.

Ham Sandwich 3

As you may suspect, this sandwich is a little on the messy side.  You could call it ‘rustic’ if you wanted to cover your bottom, but it would only be fair to warn you that it fast becomes a deconstructed sandwich.  It definitely falls into the category of being a ‘knife-and-fork-required’ kind of meal, but is that a bad thing?  You’ll be glad to have the fork to stab every delicious morsel left on your plate.  You may even lick it clean.  Just sayin’.

And if sandwiches aren’t your thing, or you’ve already had a few this week, you can use the remaining ham (and the bone) as the beginning to a number of great soups.  Making a stock is remarkably simple, and if you have a crock pot (as most Canadians do) they are beyond low maintenance.

Market-Sourced Ingredients:

Leftover Bone-In Ham from Spragg’s Meat Shop

1 bunch of Celery, a few Carrots, 1 bulb of Fennel, 1 sweet onion, 6 cloves of Garlic from Cherry Pit

3-4 Bay Leaves, Thyme, and Ancho Chile Powder from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

Salt & Pepper

Turbinado Sugar (brown or raw sugar can be substituted)

Ham Stock 1

It’s as easy as roughly chopping all of the veggies and throwing everything into a crock pot (a pot is absolutely acceptable, but a crock pot allows you to walk away and really have no worry of it boiling over and becoming a hot mess).  Add the bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon of all spices and sugar.  Cover with water, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 4 hours on high, and then 6-8 hours on low.  Yes, it takes a long time, but the ham bone needs a little more love than say, turkey leftovers.  As it steeps, the stock will become richer in flavour and gain more depth.

Ham Stock 2

Taste-as-you-go is always a good rule of thumb.  When you’ve reached a spoonful that makes you say “oooh! that’s good!”,  it’s a good sign it’s done.  Let the stock cool and then strain it away from all of the veggie bits and ham bone which will be discarded.  This stock can now be used as a base for the ever-popular split pea and ham soup (like this one by our friend Julie Van Rosendaal), a veggie soup, or even when sautéing vegetables.  And it freezes well for months in a well-sealed container.

Now, how many meals did you get out of your Easter ham this year?  With such beautiful ingredients found at the market, why let it go to waste?

Fish for Good Friday

Snapper 1Whether you observe the Easter holiday, give up something for Lent, or just like to keep it light, whipping up this Hemp Crusted Red Snapper is one heck of a ‘good’ Friday dinner (nuk nuk nuk). With a crisp layer of hemp seeds that have the most delicate nutty flavour, a sweet and zingy sauce, and delicious green beans, this dinner is not just simple, it’s fresh and downright fantastic. And there’s nothing quite like swinging by to see ‘your guy’ at the market for everything you need to delight your taste buds and impress your friends.

Market-Sourced Ingredients:
Serves 4

2 Red Snapper* filets from Blu Seafood

2 Bags of  Green Beans from Gull Valley Greenhouses

Hemp and Almonds from Going Nuts

1 Jar of Maple Mustard from A Taste of Quebec

1 Orange and 1 Lemon from Souto Farms

Baltimore Bay Line Seasoning from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

Flour

Oil

Salt & Pepper

*Halibut, Cod, or Pickerel will also work very well in this recipe.

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Some people are afraid of cooking fish; the skin sticks to the pan, the flesh breaks apart, it’s overcooked.  Oh my!  Take a deep breath, this really is very easy.  Squeeze lemon juice over the snapper, season with salt and pepper, and a dash of Baltimore Bay Line Seasoning from The Silk Road Spice Merchant, you’re well on your way to making this fish your slave.

Snapper 4

Now comes the fun part!  Set up a little ‘station’: a plate with 1/2 cup all purpose flour and another with hemp.  After seasoning both sides of the red snapper, you’ll want to gently place it in the flour and lightly cover all parts.  Then, transfer the fish to the plate of hemp seeds and repeat the process as with the flour.  This part requires a little more love, you’ll have to help the hemp seeds along the way; you kinda want the fish and hemp to hug a little to make them really stick.  Corny, yes.  Effective?  You betcha.

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Don’t be afraid to really cover the red snapper all over with the hemp; this is what is going to give the filet a real crunch.  Kind of like a fried fish, but healthier and a whole new kind of yummy.

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Place oil (you can get creative here using the tried-and-true olive oil or a more interesting, vibrant cold-pressed Canola oil from Innisfail Growers which might just be sunshine in a bottle), but I digress.  Heat the pan to just above medium (too hot and you’ll scorch the oil, hence burning the hemp).  To test if your pan is hot enough: dip the tip of the fish in, if you hear a sexy sizzle, it’s ready.  Then, place the snapper into the pan and let the magic happen.  You don’t need to move it around or fiddle with it, just let it cook.

Now would be a good time to get a pot of water boiling to steam the green beans.

After 4-5 minutes (when the hemp seeds are golden), with a wide spatula (if you’re a stickler for doing it by the book, preferably a fish spatula), turn the fish over and repeat.

Don’t go away!  You need to drop the beans in the steamer.  These only need a couple of minutes as we don’t really want to suck all of the life out of them; they should be bright and with a little snap left in them.

Snapper 3And the pièce de résistance, the orange maple mustard…. drizzle.  Yeah, we’ll call it a drizzle.  This is the easiest and oh-so-yummy accompaniment to fish and it takes, count ’em, two ingredients.  The juice of half an orange (or a whole cute mini orange), and about a tablespoon of the zippy, sweet mustard from A Taste of Quebec.  Combine the two and voilà!  No one needs to know you didn’t slave over this sauce, it’ll be our little secret.

At this point, the fish now with a glowing golden hemp crust and the beans, still full of life, should be done.  Place the fish on a platter and garnish the beans with a small pat of butter, salt and pepper, a quick squeeze of lemon, and a third of a cup of sliced almonds.  If you really wanted to be fancy, you could toast the almonds simply by placing them in a hot pan, tossing them often so as not to let them burn.  Do you have to do this?  Absolutely not.  Will your beans suffer from not having toasty almonds?  Nope.  It’s your call.  Lastly, drizzle the sauce (oh the one you just whipped up?  why yes, that one!) onto the fish.  This is a ‘as little or a lot as you like’ kind of drizzle.

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And there you have it friends: Hemp Crusted Red Snapper with Orange Maple Mustard and Almondy Green Beans.  Not too shabby for Good Friday.  Or a bad Friday.  Or just about any old Friday.

Simple Easter Brunch

371c9c368f7011e29a3e22000a1f90ce_6Easter is early this year, and for some reason it feels really early.  The kind of early that makes you feel unprepared.  Whether you’re hunting for brightly colored eggs and chocolate bunnies or just celebrating with family and friends… you’ll likely be cooking something.  Ham, lamb, or turkey: dinner is covered.  But what about brunch?  There are so many options, your head might be spinning.

This week, as we launch our Market Blog, we have a recipe to share with you that is simple with only 5 main ingredients, and easy enough for any home cook to execute. An open-faced sandwich that will satisfy any hunger: toasted brioche covered in melted Gruyere, lemony greens, prosciutto, and a creamy, sunny-side-up duck egg nestled on top.  It sounds too decadent to be called simple, but rest assured, it truly is easy peasy.

And you can get all of your ingredients in one stop, here, at the Calgary Farmers’ Market!
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5 Market-Sourced Ingredients:
Serves 6
1 Loaf of Brioche from Yum Bakery

1 Clam-shell of Flower Greens from Cherry Pit

6 Slices of Prosciutto, and 100 grams of Gruyere from Fresh DELIcious

6 Duck Eggs from Greens, Eggs and Ham

Yes! this really is all you need to make a delicious brunch that is sure to impress.

The brioche, a flaky pillow of yum, is lightly toasted, buttered, then topped with grated-turned-gooey Gruyere.  A salty prosciutto ribbon: the perfect place for fresh, lightly-dressed flowery greens to lounge about, waiting to be topped with a rich, poached duck egg.  You can, of course, use a chicken egg, but the duck egg has a smooth, silky, like-sunshine quality to it (perfect alkaline-based balance if you ask Mary-Ellen at Greens, Eggs and Ham, and she’s not wrong).

Getting Started

Toast

So, let’s get started!  Slice your brioche into slightly thicker slices… about an inch thick.  Lightly toast and top with a small pat of butter.  Sprinkle the grated Gruyere over the warm slice of heaven, *ahem*, brioche; this is where you can spread your wings and add as much cheese as is to your liking.  We recommend a happiness-inducing dose of cheese, always.  Set this aside while you poach the egg.  Afraid of poaching?  No problem, you can fry the egg too.  Poaching the egg, however, achieves the ooey-gooey soft centre that is best achieved when swirled into hot water.

Poaching TrickHere’s a tip for you:

Crack the egg (duck eggs’ shell is a little like armour, but it has quite the treasure inside to protect, so we’ll forgive it), into a ramekin, or small bowl.

Bring a pot of water with a splash of vinegar to a boil.  Then, in one round motion, swirl the water to achieve the perfect bubbling hot tornado for the egg to be whisked away. Slide the egg from the ramekin into the swirling water, and voila! An ‘all-together’ egg on its way to being poached perfection. Poach 2-3 minutes.

If this still scares you (or you need to make many eggs at once), you can absolutely use the very convenient poaching pods/cups found at most kitchen retailers.

While the egg is poaching, slide the Gruyere-topped brioche under a broiler to melt cheese, (this doesn’t take long), remove when bubbly and gooey.  Top with prosciutto (at this point, you can choose to return it to bask under the broiler to crisp up the prosciutto, but this is entirely personal preference).  Lightly toss the greens in a little freshly-squeezed lemon and olive oil and place on top of the cheesy-meaty toasted brioche.

And lastly, nestle the soft-poached duck egg on top of the lemony, flowery greens. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Some may think the ‘salad’ portion of this sandwich can simply be served on the side, but the acidity of the lemon and slight bitterness of the flower petals is actually the perfect marriage with the rich, creamy yolk of the duck egg.

This dish is beautiful in its simplicity.  No need for hollandaise.  Or even a second piece of brioche to make the sandwich whole.  No, it’s just right.

So, what will be on your plate this Easter?

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