30 June, 2009


After last week I needed to start a new quilt like I need a hole in the head.  But staring out at the dirt one evening, and upon hearing that sod was ordered, I felt inspired.  I suddenly could picture an end to the mud, mess, and hassle.  Our planned patio stared back at me and a quilt was born.  Well, the concept of a quilt.  I'll keep you posted.

And on the grass front I am happy to report that we do indeed have grass!  Most of a fence too.  Hubby just has to put the boards up on a few sections, build the gates, and it's done.  Oh, then there are the two sandstone patios and front steps. Then it's done.  For now, there is no longer any mud and that's all I care about.  Now I can concentrate on quilting.

26 June, 2009

Get It While You Can

This weekend is possibly the last one for Edgar Farms asparagus.  Go get some!

Just this week we've had it steamed, with loads of butter and served with lobster at a Forage Farm table Dinner.  We've had it grilled, in pasta salad, raw, and on the pizza above.  Lightly blanched asparagus with Gull Valley cherry tomatoes, Fairwinds Farm Goat Cheese, and some oregano.


24 June, 2009

Water Argh

That make-do attitude so many of you commended me on is on its way out the door.  To be replaced with pissy attitude and cranky pants moods.  The fence is on its way!  Yay for the fence.  And while that is actually a good thing, it means I'm on full-time kid duty on top of work.  I thought that it would be perfect to head to the park and work on layouts while the girls played around me.  Such a dreamy fantasy.  Instead there was just enough of a breeze to keep the strips from staying in place.  Death Wish Arkison (a.k.a Smilosaurus) kept making a beeline for the road with a great big evil grin on her face.  And if she wasn't doing that she was attacking the fabric.  I finally gave up trying to do anything and give in to her own poopy bum.

Pardon my french, but fuck it.  I need to do something else for a while. 

Where Am I?

Got a fussy eater?  Find me here, at Christie's Corner, sharing a few tips.

23 June, 2009

For The Love of Rhubarb

Walking the dogs the other night I was seriously tempted to do a little midnight gardening. Now, I'm a thirty-something mom with a mortgage, a real job (as opposed to a McJob), and significantly less alcohol running through my blood than I did 10 or even 15 years ago. Midnight gardening is not something I should be doing.  You know what I mean, right?  Sneaking into gardens to pull carrots, pick strawberries, and sneak raspberries?  Oh, maybe that's just what us bored kids in the 'burbs did.

So there I am walking the dogs in the near dark.  Business done, I notice this giant, neglected rhubarb plant in the corner of the alley.  Just tucked behind someone's garage, begging to be chopped down, this lush plant called to me.  "Pick me!  Come on, you know you want to do it. Pick me!"

The thirty-something mom in me prevailed and I went home with only a dog-poop bag in hand.

A few days later, however, we were working on the fence with the neighbour.  The girls wandered down the alley and when I chased after them I came across their rhubarb plant. I completely forgot that they have two of these plants.  Since they would never harvest and use all of it, and they really didn't need to store one more thing, I volunteered to take it off their hands.  Really, I'm that generous.

At this point it was necessary to bring out a bowl of sugar and introduce the girls to one of my favourite childhood treats - rhubarb dipped in sugar.  We pulled up a pile of wood, watched Hubby cut some of that wood and our neighbour shovel gravel, munching away.  Okay, I munched away, The Monster sucked sugar off and tried to peel her rhubarb, and Smilosaurus gummed the stalk and fought to put handfuls of sugar directly in her mouth.  Perhaps the introduction was a bit too early?

When it was time to get the girls out of the way of Hubby we came inside and baked. Conveniently, nature provides the perfect match for rhubarb, strawberries.  I know it seems a little cliche, but they really are made for each other.  There is a reason they mature together. Armed with the first of the BC strawberries I knew that nothing but a crisp was in order. Everyone else can have their cobblers, crumbles, and brown betty.  I love me a crispy crisp.

In my eyes, a perfect crisp has a slightly runny syrup, chunky fruit, and a crisp, oat-filled top. Pick your fruit based on the season, but don't mess with the top.  Ever.  No extra seasonings, no fancy additions.  Simple, plain, and balanced.  And whatever you do, please leave the nuts out. They just don't belong.

Where it does pay to be creative is in the filling.  Spice, limitless fruit combinations, and unexpected additions are all welcome here.  Looking to branch out  - just a little - from my usual strong vanilla accents with the strawberry rhubarb crisp I dug through my recently organized spices.  Cinnamon?  Nah, too predictable. Nutmeg?  Feels too wintery.  Cardamon? Ooh, now that could be nice.  Holy freakin' gawd, it was amazing!  Try this.  Now.

When it comes to cardamon, a little goes a long way.  It would have been a lot better if I had some whole pods to grind fresh, but a little ground, dried spice still worked wonders.  It really was a perfect compliment to the tartness of the rhubarb and sweetness of the fresh strawberries.  We invited our neighbours over for dinner.  Good fences do make good neighbours.  And rhubarb honestly got makes you a better neighbour.

Cardomon Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
(serves 4 for dinner, and possibly a little leftover for breakfast, topped with yogurt)

2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups sliced rhubarb
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon - 1 tsp ground cardamon (depending on how strong it smells) 

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup rolled oats

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8 by 8 baking dish (or similar size) with non-stick spray or butter the pan.
2. Gently mix together the fruit through to the cardamon.  Pour into the baking dish and set aside.
3.  Cream the butter and brown sugar.  Add in the flour and salt.  Finally, stir in the oats.  Do not overstir or mix because you can break up the oats and that diminishes the crispiness.
4. Using your fingers, top the filling with clumps of the topping.  Do not press down.  
5.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling if bubbling and the top is lightly browned.  Let cool and serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt. 

19 June, 2009

Backseat Adventure - Chinatown

We have Revenue Canada to thank for our day.  Yeah, I just said thanks to the taxman.  Due to ignorance on either my part or theirs (I'm going with the latter, of course) I had to make an unplanned trip downtown to the federal government building.  For those of you that don't know Calgary, said building is located smack-dab next to Chinatown.  How could I not take advantage of that?

It was perfect too since we were on a chopstick mission this week.  For The Monster's birthday dinner (on the day of) she chose sushi. After the forced affection and delivery of our Pocky and the carved orange we set down to eat.  The girls had pieces of sashimi and a pile of edamame.

All was well until she got frustrated with the chopsticks.  It was not dissimilar to her attempts to ride the tricycle.  If she can do it easily all is well the world.  Rainbows appear and choirs appear to be singing just for her.  But if it is even the tiniest bit difficult then the thunderheads arrive instantaneously and she throws aside her pride and her effort to pout.  Oh yeah, we're going to have fun with her in life. 

So it was with the chopsticks.  She tried them the way Hubby showed her.  No luck.  She tried the way she thought they should work.  Nope.  So she flounced back in her chair, ignoring even the edamame, and pouted.  Crossing our fingers we asked if they had kid-friendly chopsticks. MacGyver would have been proud of these take-out chopsticks configured with an elastic band and bit of paper towel.  And a chopsticks superstar was born.

So, thanks to Revenue Canada she and I found ourselves in Chinatown this morning (Smilosaurus was napping and Hubby working from home).  Sheesh, it's been a while since I wandered through this part of town.  We went into some groceries, a meat place, a bakery (steamed pork buns and pineapple cake!), and even a store selling Chinese medicines.  She walked around asking, "What's that?  And that?  And that, that, that, that?"  Of course, being the white girl with no real knowledge of Chinese I couldn't answer her most of the time.  

Her natural curiosity  - I wonder where she got that? - carried her through just fine.  It was funny to me that the crowds, new smells and sights, and people selling on the street were just fine to her, but the bustle and noise of the traffic on the main roads of downtown actually terrified her. She had an abject fear that a truck would run her over.  Sure, she can randomly run into the basement of a strange building because it has a funky ramp, but a dump trunk is going to jump the curb and squish her.  Is that just a three year old thing?

I loved chatting with the little old ladies selling plants and fresh onion, herbs, and garlic on the street.  They reminded me of my Baba in the worst way - if my Baba ever lived in a big city and thought to sell anything from her over-sized garden.  They were tiny, full of smiles, a little bit pushy, yet meek and quiet.  On plastic sheets in front of them they sold stuff picked from their gardens.  Wait, I'm assuming that last part because their English wasn't great.  But I want to think that they picked the stuff that morning from their backyard and brought it downtown to sell.

You can only just make it out above, but they also had a variety of houseplants for sale - in pots, plastic tubs, or margarine containers.  It was like they transported their houseplants to the street to share with everyone.  If I liked houseplants I definitely would buy from them.

You could eat all day in Chinatown and not even scratch the surface of possibilities.  I would love to take the girls to Dim Sum.  I think it's been twenty years since even I've been.  Honestly, I think need a tour guide to make sure I appreciate what I see around me - on the street and on the plate.  Maybe I should sign up for one of these?

That being said, I knew this place and couldn't resist taking lunch home for Hubby. Oh, the Thi Thi sub... excuse me while I mop my forehead from the heat and wipe the drool from the side of my mouth.  Sadly, the girls stuck to their steamed buns while Hubby and I sweated over our subs.  Yeah, thanks again taxman.

Now What?

I have my Hubby to thank for getting some quilting done this week.  No, he didn't magically win the lottery so I could quit working, nor did he take the girls out every evening so I had no interruptions.  But he had a busy week at work, so he was too bagged at the end of the day to do much work on the fence.  That meant I didn't have to work on the fence.  As much as I would love a fence, I really appreciated the quilting time.

With The Monster's birthday behind us we had a bit of breathing room this week, beyond the yard work.  So I actually got to sew during naptime today (I don't work on Fridays).  I got all the strips sewn for the water quilt.  Well, I say that they are done, but I'm not sure of that yet. I've got all these strips, now what?

Just to get an idea of the potential size of the finished quilt I laid them out on the grass in the park across the street.  Eyeballing it I would call this a large lap size at this point.  Maybe 60 inches square, depending on layout, or even up to twin sized.  The layout above with very random and done without any thought.  But it does make me happier with the project overall. It has the general feel I wanted.  I think it will come together into something interesting.

My next few posts are going to be photos of potential layouts.  I would appreciate any opinions or input.  I'm sure I'll have more stuff to piece and bits to cut out along the way.  And I have a few ideas for how it could all come together, but we'll have to see.  In the meantime, the grass across the street will be decked out in fabric.  I've got no design wall currently so that is the only place I can spread things out to see.  Let's hope there is no wind or rain in the coming days. Oh wait, if there is no wind or rain I'm on fence duty.  Crap.  Quilt or finish my fence and get a yard again? Rock, meet the hard place.  

Isn't this a cool photo?  A grass-eyed view of the quilt.

15 June, 2009

There's a Party in the Park

In case you were wondering, birthday parties for a three year old are so worth the effort. She won't remember it, but I will forever remember impatience for the last month - drama included - and the high of having all these people there for her, the Happy Birthday Girl.  The drama on her part, and mine, was worth it.

With so much competitive parenting going on these days I would like to think I am immune to it. We've been to our share of birthday parties of late and inevitably we do take notes. Usually those notes revolve around ways to make the party clean-up easier and how to sneak some wine into a kid friendly venue.  Thankfully we have a great group of friends and family that were more than happy to simply come and hang out with us on a finally hot Saturday afternoon. There is a park across the street from our house, a rather convenient feature considering that we still have no yard.  So we carried over a few picnic tables, a couple of quilts, a mess of sandwiches, some bubbles and balls for the kids, and had ourselves a picnic.

I realize that this fruit porcupine is more than a tad over the top for a picnic.  It was a fantastic way to keep a now three year old occupied with prep work.  Skewering grapes, a new way to kill time and fruit.  Plus, there were no post slurp watermelon rinds to deal with.  Keep in mind that this is not a way to serve things if you have any distance to travel to your picnic.

Remember the asparagus?  Edgar Farms is still picking, so I'm still eating.  On my continued mission to indoctrinate, er... feed my friends good food I blanched some, along with some green beans, and served them with some Gull Valley cherry tomatoes and a homemade blue cheese dip.  For the few moments when I sat down I was parked near this platter. I'm not sure how many people tried the asparagus with me hogging the plate.

The rest of the menu included grilled veggies and Boursin on a whole wheat baguette, a recreation of the famous Italian Centre sandwiches (very well received and a soon to be picnic staple in this house), tabouleh salad, Holy Guacamole (We Got Chips), and some brewed iced tea and lemonade.  And don't forget the cupcakes!

Speaking of the cupcakes, I'm pretty sure that the was the only food most of the other kids ate. I think my friends were maybe prepared for me and my tendencies because most of them brought their own food for the kids.  Hey, I made peanut butter and jam sandwiches too! I thought it was pretty kid friendly with the fruit porcupine and veggies, but maybe that is only my kids? 

No party would be complete without a little entertainment.  No clowns or facepainting here. We had Uncle Paul juggling fire!  Sadly fire is not that noticeable at 4 in the afternoon.  I can tell you that it is very noticeable after a few beers and once the sun finally sets in the summer. Unfortunately the kids always miss that entertainment.

Happy Birthday Monster!

14 June, 2009

I Used to Quilt

This about says it all.  A bunch of strips sewn together and just sitting there.  Just sitting there.

Phew, this was an exhausting week.  Work was hell.  The only thing getting me through the week was the promise of a drink with an old friend.   We haven't seen each other in over a year and in two short hours reconnected. Beyond work I had some heavy deadlines for Quilt Canada, I donated blood, and had to pull off a picnic for over 30 for The Monster's birthday this weekend.  Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of quilting done.

This water quilt is a work about process.  That is, I don't have a final design in mind.  A general idea of what it might look like, yes, but no final picture.  I've been sewing strips together in varying thicknesses and lengths.  At some point I'll lay them out and see how they look.  It could be complete crap for all I know.  So far, however, I do like the combination of fabrics.  It is soft at points and bold at others.  Serene, but a bit wild.  A bit like the ocean and only kind of like me.

Here's hoping that once I recover from the fact that my Monster is three (or rather, that I've been a mother for three years) and get the invitations out for my sister's baby shower and help Hubby build a fence and lay sod, then I can get more quilting done.  

08 June, 2009

More Confessions

The very nature of a blog is part confessional.  It's time for me to 'fess up.  I've never been able to make Rice Krispie Squares.   Yup, the laziest, kid friendly treat and I've never been able to make them properly.   If you want rocks filled with rice cereal then I'm your girl.  That is, until last week.  

My mom loves to make them for the grandkids and thus The Monster was asking for them.  It hurt a little, but only a little, to buy the marshmallows and boxed cereal.  I try to limit the processed food in the house, but I have to stop beating myself up for a few little treats. Besides, it is great dessert time fun for us to throw mini marshmallows across the table in an attempt to score one in a waiting, open mouth. 

And ultimately, score one for this mom - I've finally mastered the Rice Krispie square.  My mom told me to add a bit more marshmallows than the recipe calls for and to take it off the heat as soon as those fluffy bits of corn syrup melt.  It worked.  Squares that stayed together but weren't like rocks.  Oh, and The Monster was happy.  So happy.  Such simple pleasures.

I'm all for treats and baking. I have no qualms with them having too much sugar, they actually self-regulate pretty well.  But I didn't want the cereal hanging around, constantly teasing her and inviting the ceaseless begging of a nearly three-year old.

Then I recalled a recipe that I saw from my favourite bow-tie wearing baldy, Christopher Kimball. Have I mentioned my geek crush on him before?  I'm sure I have.  He's so damn nerdy and cute. I digress.  I remembered America's Test Kitchen doing a bit on perfect, crispy waffles. Guess what the secret ingredient was?  Hell yeah, Rice Krispies!  A perfect use for the cereal.

The recipe uses cornstarch to help lighten the batter.  Whipping the egg whites separately is not a new notion in waffle recipes, but the combination of the cornstarch, whipped whites, and cereal makes a very light batter.  The cereal essentially melts, leaving pockets of crispy throughout the cooked waffle.  I've changed the recipe a bit, adding some whole wheat flour to make myself feel better.  And I prefer brown sugar for the extra flavour, but it works perfectly well with white sugar too. 

We've now made the waffles a few times.  After so many attempts to find a light waffle that doesn't turn into a brick the second it comes out of the waffle iron I've finally found one. Seriously, these are crispy, light, and perfect for toaster leftovers.  I can make a batch on Sunday morning and the girls have a few breakfasts during the week. This is a great week for mom - dinnertime laughs, afternoon treats, and pre-made breakfasts.  And all from a box of cereal.

Perfect Waffles
(Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)

1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Rice Krispie cereal
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil

1.  Preheat a waffle iron.
2.  Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Whisk the egg yolks, milk, oil, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.
3.  Beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until just combined.  Fold in the whites gently.  Do not overmix.
4. Cook according the instructions with your waffle maker.

Water, Water Everywhere

Did you know that today is United Nations World Oceans Day? While it is against the laws of nature to make a quilt of water and fish - and would be kind of gross even if you could - I am starting a quilt inspired by water.

This is the first pull for that quilt. To be honest, I got the idea when I did the pull for my Key Lime Pie quilt. I just loved the looks of the greens with blues that I used for the limes. Still on the high from the memories of Baja these fabrics jumped out of the stash and begged to be sewn together.

As I said, this was the first pull. I always have that initial rush of fabric delight and pull everything out that my conceivably work with the colourful notion in my head. When designing heads prevail I weed out about a third. Then, as I cut, more gets culled from the pile and maybe some other ones get added in. It would be different if I started out with a specific pattern in mind. Because for me quilting if often about process rather than final design, the fabric choices are dynamic and continually evolving.

I'm curious to see where this one takes me.

04 June, 2009

Heritage Park Quilt Show

As promised, here is a report about the Heritage Park quilt show.  I managed to get a very fast tour in last Saturday.  Hubby graciously let me escape the backyard mess and the girls for a couple of hours alone, surrounded by history and quilts.  Peace.

Heritage Park is a historical village that demonstrates life on the Prairies and in the Calgary area. For the quilt show they display the quilts throughout the park - in tents on the grass, in the different homes and buildings, and even on the buildings and fences.  Wandering through the park you can see the park entertainment, visit the buildings, and enjoy the quilts.

To be honest, I didn't find much of inspiration in the show. In fact, the day confirmed that I really don't have a traditional bent for quilting, not at all. I can appreciate craftsmanship and good use of colour, but earth tones and traditional piecing kind of bore me.  Sorry to those who love it.  I'm sure my stuff is too much for some people as well. To each their own.

Here is the biggest building on site - the Wainwright Hotel.  I love how they hang the quilts from the verandas.  If you look closely, you can see my Tuesday Night Quilt hanging on the lower veranda.  The next picture shows it better.

See, there it is, hung randomly by that crane.  It doesn't seem like there is much thought put in to the relation of quilts from one to the next.  They do have 500 quilts to show after all.

Here is my black and white quilt.  Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the display of this one.  I didn't mind that it was inside a building, but folded in half and hanging over a counter? You certainly lose the impact.  Oh well.

Other than the fact that they hung this one the wrong way (see the original here), I thought it kind of looked neat on the washing line.  This building is actually the Chinese Laundry.  My black and white quilt was at the front of the building, and this was in one of the back display rooms.
Is it just me, or does this quilt look out of place in a replica turn of the century hospital?

This is a pretty traditional quilt.  Despite what I said above, I liked this one, especially the quilting.  Mostly the quilting.

My picture doesn't do this quilt justice.  The use of fabric and colour was amazing - the quilt was luminous.

I'm showing a close-up of this one.  These are actually square blocks, can you tell?  If anyone has seen something like this elsewhere, please let me know.  Otherwise I'll be studying the photo to figure it out, a lot.

The front of this quilt was nice, but I loved the back!  Those are gorgeous fabrics, but there was no note as to what they were.  They were ridiculously vivid.  The front had fabric with elephants and hindu gods, so I'm almost wondering if it was an Indian cotton?

Under the category of "why didn't I think of that?" comes this monster quilt.  So, so cool.  And the detailed quilting was phenomenal.

Here it is on the line behind the school, with some other kids quilts.

Heritage Park also has a number of vintage quilts in the Park's collection.  Isn't this one gorgeous?  I can't go anywhere without finding circles!

By far, this was my favourite of the day.  It is too bad the shade is dappled because it takes away from the luminosity of the quilt.  Interestingly, this quilt is made up of the same block, repeated.  At first glance it looks improv, but it isn't.  Unfortunately, there was no detail on the construction.  I can tell you that it is a lot of small pieces!  Don't you love the colour gradation?

I just love this image this display the best out of any in the park.

This is a Bento Box, but the entire thing is done with Denyse Schmidt.  I'm sure there are some of you out there who will love this, I took the photo just for you.

Oh, and in case you are wondering why I didn't share the artists or names of the quilts it's because the program has already been recycled.  Oops, sorry.

02 June, 2009

Luck Be a Pink Hat

This one has been a long time coming.  I had the top finished, and the back too, over a year and a half ago.  I managed to get it to the long armers shortly before or after Smilosaurus was born, I can't remember.  And it sat for nearly a year once I picked it up.  I simply had no motivation to get the binding on.  It's not like I dislike the quilt, I quite love the boldness of it all, I was simply lazy and didn't want to sew on a binding.

The motivation to finish it came because I entered it in the show over the weekend.  Nothing like a deadline to get your butt in gear!  So I found the perfect fabric, braved the bias cut, and got it done.

The center portion of the quilt is from a book called Strip Pieced Quilts by Maikke Baker.  I was at a retreat with some quilting friends in my Red Hat group, The Garnet Gals.  Yes, I know I am way too young for a red hat, but these great ladies welcomed me in and still share lots of life and quilt experience with me.  We decided to sew one afternoon and put this together from stash.  And we all liked it too much to donate it - bad us! - so we drew straws to see who got it. I won!

The borders were pieced from scraps, yet another black and white fabric, and more circles.  If you look closely in the bottom photo you will see that the purple we used had coloured circles scattered across the purple.  That's where the colour of my circles came from.

This is one of my favourite backs ever.  So simple, yet really bold.  My initial plan was to put the label in a circle in the green, but I couldn't print a small enough, yet still legible label for any kind of border on it. It still works.

It now seems that the girls can't keep their hands off any aspect of my hobby, er... obsession.  It was impossible to get a shot of this quilt without them in it.

I had this one professionally quilted by a local lady, Berny Sproule.  She used a purple thread in a swooping meander pattern to bring it all together.  

Now, don't get too googly-eyes staring at the photo!

01 June, 2009

Backseat Adventure - Asparagus Festival

Much to Hubby's chagrin I dragged him away from the yard and we made the drive to Edgar Farms' first Asparagus Festival.  He was tired and tried not to be cranky, but the rewards were sweet.  The girls sat on a horse and a pony, got to pet some brand new goats, ran around a hay bale maze and fort, and even went on a tractor ride.  But the highlight of the day for me, and possibly Hubby, was eating stalks of asparagus that we'd just picked from the ground.  It would never have occurred to us to eat asparagus raw, but we were trusting the advice of Elna Edgar, and she would know.

Elna and Doug Edgar own and operate their farm, with their daughter and son-in-law just South of Innisfail, Alberta.  They are a traditional grain and cattle farm.  But they also grow fantastic peas (so I am told) and Alberta's only commercial asparagus.  And they've been doing it for nearly two decades.  So, when Elna tells me to take a taste of asparagus right from the ground I do it.  

Wow, what a revelation!  Other than the fact that raw asparagus tastes more than vaguely like peas, it was crisp, light, and purely fresh.  Unlike tomatoes that you pick in the late summer sun this tasted like cool spring.  The Monster and Smilosaurus had as much as they could eat.  Good thing the baby got her front teeth a few weeks ago.

We saw the asparagus fields last summer, long after harvest.  Did you know asparagus is a fern? But as soon as it comes out of the ground the spears can be picked and will continue to grow. The only thing that stops the Edgars from a continuous harvest is the need to let the crowns rejuvenate to produce next year.  During spring, however, these custom pickers travel up and down the fields picking the tall enough crowns. It is a near continuous harvest for more than a few weeks as the crowns can grow over 6 inches a day!

Once we returned from the fields we tasted some freshly grilled asparagus from both Wade Sirois from Forage and Infuse Catering and dee Hobsbawn-Smith.  Grilled is my all-time favourite way to eat asparagus.  A little toss with olive oil then just a few minutes on a hot grill. You can drizzle some lemon or vinaigrette over top, but I will happily eat them like fries straight off the grill.

One of the best things was hearing people's surprise when they heard that no, you don't need to break off the ends or peel asparagus when it is this fresh.  And you don't get any fresher than off the picker's truck.
Asparagus Festival is over until next year.  Okay, this was the first one and there are no guarantees, but I'm betting that we and many more will be back next year.  You don't have to wait until then to go to Edgar Farms.  You can visit them daily at their farm store - where they currently have asparagus, rhubarb, their own beef, and a variety of asparagus pickles, relishes, and some sweet berry jams.

You can also visit Edgar Farms with the rest of the Innisfail Growers at farmers' markets around the province.  And make sure to stay on top of things through Doug Edgar's blog, he'll keep you up-to-date on harvests, this year's pea crop, and more on-farm events.