ANNUAL CHEF'S TOUR

We are pretty lucky in Alberta to have such wonderful food grown and raised in our province.

Last Monday marked Galimax Trading's annual Chef's Tour.  Galimax Trading is a direct farm marketing supplier specializing in products from southern Alberta.  Each year the owners, Rudy Knitel and Corne Mans, load up two tour busses with around 80 chefs and food professionals from Calgary and surrounding areas.  The day starts at 7:30am where we meet, get on the bus, talk about how early it is, then drive 90 minutes south to Nobleford where we stop at the Galimax Trading headquarters.  Upon arrival we are served up a quick breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs, crepes, whipped cream and berries.  

After breakfast, Josh Mans gave the group an egg grading demo to show the quality control Mans' eggs go through before heading to market.  From there, we visited Broek Pork Acres where Allan and Joanne Vanden Broek showed the group around their pig farm and butchering facility.  This is a small family-run operation where the whole family pitches in (all 9 kids!).  They raise a heritage-breed of Berkshire hogs and sell them whole, broken down or in a variety of delicious value-add products.  A couple of these pigs have even attended backyard parties (roasts) at our place in years past.....  

Next stop - Mans Organics.  The Mans have been farming organic onions, shallots and potatoes for 7 years now and recently added a bunch of greenhouses where they grow several tomato and pepper varieties.  The greenhouses are temperature controlled and when the temperature fluctuates the ceiling either opens or closes automatically depending on whether they need to be heated or cooled.  Organic farming is a lot of work but the results are much more rewarding!  After our tour at Mans we sampled some of the different tomato varieties.  I think I ate about 50 tomatoes which served as a nice appie before lunch.  

Our next and final stop was at Leffers Organics where we had a nice lunch and a mini-trade fair.  At the trade fair we had the opportunity to chat with more southern Alberta producers like Bert from Ewe-nique Lamb, Mountainview Farming Canola (cold pressed canola oil), and Red Hat collective to name a few.  Following lunch we headed out to the carrot and beet fields.  Leffers grows delicious rainbow carrots and red, yellow and chiogga (striped) beets.  Here Howard Leffer showed us the different root varieties and explained his process in getting his products to market.  After that we were back on the bus and headed home to Calgary.  The bus ride was pretty quiet compared to the ride down.  

Thanks to Rudy and Corne at Galimax for putting on such a great tour every year!

Check out a few photos from the tour:

These piggies went to the market....

These piggies went to the market....

Momma pig having a bite.

Momma pig having a bite.

Up close and personal with Mans Organic Tomatoes

Up close and personal with Mans Organic Tomatoes

Tomato house at Mans Organics.  These individual tomato vines grow upwards of 40 ft.  

Tomato house at Mans Organics.  These individual tomato vines grow upwards of 40 ft.  

Pepper house at Mans Organics

Pepper house at Mans Organics

Cody from @nativetonguesyyc getting the aerial shots from the experimental aquaculture deck at Mans Organics.

Cody from @nativetonguesyyc getting the aerial shots from the experimental aquaculture deck at Mans Organics.

Henk Mans showing off his earthworms.

Henk Mans showing off his earthworms.

Different tomato varieties at Mans Organics.

Different tomato varieties at Mans Organics.

Mandy and Howard (Leffer) pulling carrots.

Mandy and Howard (Leffer) pulling carrots.