Friday, September 28, 2007

You just can't keep a good cereal down!

In our very first issue of The Edible Prairie Journal, we ran a story about the return of Sunny Boy cereal and flour. The mill in Camrose and the product line had been bought by brothers who grew up near the mill and just couldn't bear to see it vanish into nostalgia. It garnered us a lot of attention because, as we found out, Prairie folks love their Sunny Boy cereal - a mix of flax, wheat and rye grains that cooks up to a thick, hearty porridge.

Well, unfortunately, the mill and brand went up on the auction block yet again, and we didn't know if there was any life left in this brand. Though the previous owners had wisely introduced an certified organic line of the cereal, the flours and pancake mix. Well, an Edmonton company thought that there was indeed life left in Sunny Boy, a product that has now fed at least three generations of Albertans and Saskatchewanians. (Manitoba has its own Red River cereal, though it is no longer locally owned; Smuckers owns the brand.)

It was actually an ex-pat Albertan who now lives in Quebec who sleuthed out the new ownership and informed us that we should start to look for the new packaging, coming to shelves. And this week, a straw-yellow resealable plastic package caught our eye as we cruised the grocery isles. Sunny Boy is back. The same products are back, but in different packaging, and are available in organic and non-organic versions.

Guess you just can keep a good cereal down! Here's the new logo that you can look for in Safeway, Sobey's, Federated Coops, Nutters and a few other local grocery stores. To find a retailer near you, contact the company in Camrose. Their contact info is on the Sunny Boy website.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Eek! Get Eating! Only one week left in Dine Alberta month.

Chef Mark Klaudt of Route 40 Soup Company in Turner Valley, Alberta.

September is a great month here on the Prairies. We are absolutely overwhelmed with fresh produce, market veggies, and the coolish temperatures kick starts our appetites. It's also Dine Alberta month here in ... well, Alberta.

Dine Alberta, for those who don't know, is a month-long promotion where restaurants, cafes and caterers across the province run special menus featuring great ingredients from their region. It's a program that began five years ago, and now includes over 130 Alberta producers and 125 eating establishments from the Crow's Nest Pass to Grande Prairie and beyond. Some are high-end restaurants, some a country cafes and coffee shops. But they all are doing their part to support the incredible and hard-working farmers, ranchers, and food processors in the province. Last year, Dine Alberta participating restaurants purchased $575,000 worth of local ingredients during the program. And 20,000 diners enjoyed these special menus and dishes.

We want to encourage everyone to get out there and Dine Alberta. The participating restaurants are listed on the Dine Alberta web site. It's a great site, with locator maps to all of the participating Dine Alberta restaurants and cafes. It also contains a great Alberta-wide local food sourcing guide, and so much more.
And keep on visiting these places in the months that follow, because 99 percent of chefs in 2006 said that they'll continue to purchase products from the producers they met through Dine Alberta. This just means fresher, tastier, more interesting food for all of us.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Savour Life, A great Website from Regina

Regina-based CJ Katz does a great job covering the Saskatchewan food scene. Her electronic newsletter Savour Life arrives like clockwork in our email basket every Friday afternoon and there are always interesting stories about local ingredients, chefs, recipes and happenings. We encourage you to subscribe to Savour Life and keep up to date with the Prairie food scene.

When she's not our reporting on the food scene in her neck of the woods, CJ also teaches cooking classes, food and wine pairing classes, and appears on CBC radio and CTV. She's tireless! Check out her new blogpage too. We'll add a link to it in our list of favorite Prairie food sites too.