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.