The last food event I attended was in mid-March 2020. COVID-19 seemed ominous, but we knew so little about it at the time. Over the last 16 months, food events have been postponed, outright cancelled, shifted outdoors, or scaled down to accommodate members of a single household only. Since then, I haven’t attended any food events, and also haven’t yet felt comfortable dining indoors at a restaurant. Having embraced the beauty of eating al fresco in that time, I was thus enthralled to accept the invitation to MIlkCrate’s Feast in the Field event that occurred last weekend.
MilkCrate, in partnership with Taste Alberta, organized an outdoor dining event at Allam Farms, located near Fort Saskatchewan. The food highlighted locally-sourced pork, dairy products, pulses, and canola through a comfort-driven menu. We were told the event sold out almost immediately.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Chef Steven Brochu and the sight of a whole pig roasting on a spit – the definite makings of a tasty evening.
Chef Steve Brochu and the pig
Tables had been set up on the freshly shorn wheat field, though Allam Farms also grows pulses and hemp, among other crops. The beautiful skies contributed to the stunning backdrop, one that everyone would ultimately take advantage of for (what else?) Instagram-worthy photos.
Feast in the field
I’ll also say that because I haven’t dined indoors in a significant period of time, it was particularly wonderful to be able to be within eyesight of the kitchen. We were able to see Chef Brochu and his team assemble everything just yards away.
MilkCrate staff at work
The meal began with MilkCrate’s house sourdough, but everyone was holding out for the main event.
The platters did not disappoint. Laden with juicy fire-cooked whole hog, smoked lentils and biscuits, lentil cakes, roasted vegetables, and field greens dressed with a smoked Saskatoon berry and canola vinaigrette, there was more than enough food for everyone. MilkCrate’s house sauces were a great accompaniment to the meat and lentil cakes, but I was most impressed with the lentils and biscuits.
For dessert, continuing with the pig and family-style theme, we were provided with ice cream cookie troughs made up of house-made cookies, canola oil cake, and scoops of Yelo’d ice cream. It was the best kind of indulgence.
Ice cream cookie troughs
Mack and I were fortunate to dine with a table of familiar food companions – Linda, Sharman, Diane, and Carrie from Taste Alberta. It made the experience of dining out and with folks from outside our bubble a relaxing one.
Night out without Emily!
Given its success, MilkCrate and Taste Alberta are open to replicating the event in the future. I do hope they are able to do so – more people should have the opportunity to enjoy Chef Brochu’s food in such settings, an escape from the city and a reminder of where our food comes from.
Thanks again to MilkCrate and Taste Alberta for having us!