Rita Cooney’s kitchen at Breadstuffs Bakery in Brentwood Bay will be filled with local goodies this coming week in preparation for the annual Harvest Feast.
“We’re making buns from local wheat and helping to prepare a few of the other dishes for the feast out of local ingredients,” Cooney said. “We’ve supported this event since it started. But in the last couple of years we’ve really gotten involved not only in the cooking part, but also in the planning phase as well.”
The Harvest Feast, which takes place on Sept. 22 at the Saanich Fairgrounds, celebrates Peninsula food and farms and features contributions from local growers. Virtually all food served at the event is grown or raised on the Saanich Peninsula. The lone exception this year is cranberries from Yellow Point.
The event opens with a wine and cider tasting by Muse Winery, Dragonfly Hill Vineyard and Winery and Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse. It moves into a seasonal feast which includes such desserts as lemon meringue pie made from lemons grown in North Saanich. This year’s main course will be prepared by Truffles Catering.
“It’s just so bountiful here on the Peninsula,” Cooney said. “This event is really to celebrate the fact that we have everything you could want in one place. We have wheat, berries, salmon, different types of meat, all kinds of fruit and veg.”
The feast is a non-profit community gathering supported by the Southern Vancouver Island Direct Farm Marketing Association and the North and South Saanich Agricultural Society. Net proceeds are donated to the Sidney Lions Food Bank.
Tickets generally sell out in advance and special prices are offered for those who bring their own dining accessories.
Regular tickets are $27 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. A family pack (two adults, two children) is also available for $64. The ‘bring your own plate’ option is offered at $24, $7 and $52, respectively.
Tickets are available at Breadstuffs Bakery in Brentwood Bay, Fresh Cup Roastery Café in Saanichton, The Roost Farm Centre in North Saanich and Muffet & Louisa in Sidney.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner is served at 6.
For more information on the Harvest Feast, call 250-652-4691 or visit islandfarmfresh.com/harvestfeast.
Waste not, want not at Harvest Feast
Aside from serving as an appreciation of the bounty of the Saanich Peninsula, the annual Harvest Feast strives to encourage food recycling and waste management by operating with near-zero waste.
“(Recycling and composting organizer) Roni Anderson makes sure all the waste is sorted to a very advanced level,” says event co-organizer Rita Cooney.
“She breaks it down into pig food, recycling and garbage, and last year she ended up with only one small bag of garbage.”
Feasters are encouraged to bring their own dishes and clean them afterwards.
“We really would like to see people bringing their own plates, cutlery and glasses to cut down on waste,” Cooney said. “If they do prefer to bring a disposable-type plate, we encourage them to use something like bamboo, which decomposes quickly.”