Here we are on the far side of the calendar from the busiest time of the year, feeling like last week we just went through the busiest time of the year. I am determined to remedy that: letís have a little less action and a little more theorizing. How about those new yearís resolutions then.
Mine include supporting mom and Jennie to raise the Christmas turkeys. This year I bought two birds to feed 24 and although they tasted pretty fine, I think that is more due to the lovely accompanying dishes than to the quality of the birds. Indeed, when I took the plastic off one of them, it looked to me like it was the last one through the processing line before the equipment completely broke down. There must have been some flailing metal involved in its evisceration. We should really be raising our own dinner. I can do more to help.
Apart from that, I really donít see how Christmas dinner could have been improved upon in our household. This was my third Christmas as host and I have to say Iíve got it down. The secrets to my success included arranging food production, so that all I had to do was stuff and roast two 15lb turkeys and make gravy. Sisters took care of not only preparing and cooking, but also growing brussels sprouts for steaming, parsnips for roasting, and carrots, beets and celeriac for grating. Mom made the uber-traditional Christmas pudding onto which she and I poured a remarkable amount of brandy so that when lit, the festive blue flame burned for an amazingly long time ó through several verses and variations of We Wish you a Merry Christmas. The visiting family, not used to our little ways, were quite impressed.
I also recommend letting the not-so-distant future mother-in-law have her way with at least one dish, perhaps the yams, as your friends will be delighted with the results.
A bottle of port for dad to supervise, toy cars and track for the kidlets, plenty of rental plates and glasses and a 3 p.m. meal time all played important roles in the success of Christmas dinner this year.
And of course, never forgetting the entertainment, a surprise wedding is just the thing, with the rings brought to the mommies by three-month-old Will himself, via the arms of sister-in-law and farm employee of the year Veronika (as awarded by seven time self-awarded winner me).
It was a booming success.
Speaking of industry self-awarding, Farm Story column has a few more gongs to hand out.
Best new vendor at a market: Camelís Back Harvest at the Pemberton market. More and more good-looking produce came to the Pemberton market each week from the valleyís newest market farmers. The displays were gorgeous, the quality high, and the customers loved it. Remi and Carrie, you are a great addition to the scene.
Best display: Rootdown Farm at Kits market, weekly. The colours pop, the signage is attractive, tidy and correct, and a long line of Vancouverís top chefs are asking for the produce. I love walking by your stall just before the market opens.
Most likely to double in size (again) in a few short years: Ice Cap Organics. This is what happens when ex tree planters get into the business: the hard-working farmer bar has been raised. I donít think too many of us realized just how productive a few acres could be.
Anna Helmerís cup of inspiring hot wine runneth over.