Things have been pretty hectic this summer, but I thought it was about time I started sharing my stretch experience with you all. This summer I have been volunteering with Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm out in Bon Accord, Alberta.
Mainly I have been involved with the Community Supported Agriculture program. What is that you ask? Well, the program allows the community to purchase a share in the farm and they provide you with a weekly bounty of farm-fresh produce that is picked that day (often by yours truly). The produce shareholders receive is diverse and often includes things you may have never heard of let alone eaten before (Lamb’s Quarters anyone? … and no, it’s not meat). But every week you also get information and recipes to help you take full advantage of your produce. With a CSA membership you get to participate in farm workshops and potlucks, and get a season pass to the farm so that you can participate in all of the events and festivals and fun activities on the farm like the corn mazes, games, and petting farm (baby goats!).
Being involved with the CSA I have gotten to help out with seeding, planting (even pumpkins, riding on the back of a cabbage planter), and distribution. I also recently had the opportunity to attend the Alberta Blue Cross Health & Wellness Fair to promote the CSA. The farm really promotes and encourages community participation and so, to take it a step further for my stretch experience I decided I wanted to try and organize a trip out to the farm in partnership with International Student Services at the University. The farm holds Under the Stars in the evenings throughout the summer and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. On August 13th for the Perseid meteor shower I will be leading a group from the University’s Global Academic Leadership Development program out to the farm for a supper (prepared with farm goodies of course!), followed by an evening of star gazing, moonshiner story-telling, and corn mazes by flashlight. Depending on the popularity of the event, ticket sales through International Student Services (which include transportation) may open up to other students at the University, but if you are still interested in the event and can get out to the farm on your own you can get tickets here:
This post is getting quite long so I will leave you here for now with a recipe for a rhubarb, strawberry, and blueberry crisp that I made this past weekend using rhubarb and stevia leaf that I got from my CSA share this week 🙂
- Rachel Veinott-McKeough
3 stalks rhubarb
½ lb. strawberries
2 cups fresh blueberries
5 stalks of stevia leaf blitzed in a blender (or ½ cup sugar)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup flour
½ cup coconut (or brown) sugar
¼ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter
¾ cup oats
½ cup walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
For the filling:
In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, corn starch and vanilla. Stir until the fruit is evenly coated with the sugar mixture, and the sugar mixture is no longer white.
Transfer the fruit mixture to a 2-quart or 8-inch baking dish (no need to butter it) and set aside while you prepare the topping.
For the Topping:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt. Process until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with a few pea-sized clumps of butter within. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the oats and chopped pecans.
Spoon the topping evenly over the fruit without packing down. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes before serving. Spoon into shallow bowls and serve with vanilla ice cream