New horticulinary festival aims to be hot, hot, hot
Festival celebrating food and horticulture slated for fall
Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 06:00 am
St. Albert is deadly serious about food – not just eating it, but also planting the seeds, cultivating the harvest and cooking the bounty to perfection.
That was the message that came across as the City of St. Albert, in partnership with the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance, announced the inaugural Dig In! Horticulinary Festival to be held on Oct. 10 and 11 at the Enjoy Centre.
The two-day celebration, held on the Thanksgiving weekend, will be the first of its kind in the greater capital region, encompassing both culinary arts and horticultural experiences.
Through a series of demonstrations and hands-on workshops, participants will learn to grow food as well as prepare and preserve their own produce. Organizers are keen to present a wide swath of experiences from nano-farming and edible landscaping to Alberta sushi and savoury desserts.
“This festival is for people who may have heard a lot about food but may not have dabbled in it very much. This is a movement to learn a skill. Maybe you know the benefits, but don’t know how to source the products you need. This festival will encourage and empower you to try new things,” said organizer Dawn Fedorvich, economic development officer for the City of St. Albert.
Mayor Nolan Crouse provided context for the festival noting that about five to seven years ago, the City of St. Albert adopted the Botanical Arts brand and this festival is a natural fit.
The Friday night kickoff will be celebrated with the Alberta Ate Chef Collective, a group of Alberta chefs who will come together to create a menu for an interactive dining experience from locally sourced food.
Saturday will include workshops on a variety of topics that include indoor edible growing, mixology, fall gardening, baking, bread making and retail meat cutting.
One event that’s sure to provide a powerful kick to the affair is a hot pepper-eating contest. The four types of peppers, now growing at the Enjoy Centre specifically for the competition, include the second hottest known pepper on Earth – the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.
Jim Hole explains that the pepper heat is measured in units. The jalapeno pepper measures at 200,000 units. The scorpion reaches two million units.
“We haven’t selected the victims yet,” Hole jokes. “But we may require medical attention.”