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[lofo List] Fwd: [Local Food Idea List] The 100-Mile Wedding
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From: "Local Food Ideas" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: September 8, 2008 4:52:39 AM GMT-06:00
To: "Local Food Ideas List" <email@example.com>
Subject: [Local Food Idea List] The 100-Mile Wedding
The 100-Mile Wedding
Alberta couple's big day highlights local producers, growers and
Friday, September 05, 2008
Calgary Herald - AB, Canada
The father of the bride drove his daughter to the wedding ceremony
-- on a flatbed wagon, towed behind his tractor.
The invitations were printed on 100 per cent recycled paper, and all
the guests were politely asked to bring their own salt and pepper.
Or do as the bride and groom planned to do, and go without.
The reception was a casual outdoor affair -- about 165 friends,
family and neighbours showed up with boxes and bags of dishes, food,
even tablecloths from their own homes.
The groom wore a vintage suit, while the bride wore a dress made by
a local seamstress. Even the couple's rings came from within 100
miles of their home. They were made from an oak tree on their
property. The bride cut the branch, and the groom shaped them.
"Two rings, cut from the same branch," he says as he shows off his
band of wood.
Sounds unconventional? Well, yes.
But for arborist Gerda Vester and her new husband James Edwards, 31,
a sustainability expert, their "locavore" wedding was a way of
celebrating not just their union as a couple -- but also a way of
celebrating their respect for the environment. "All this organic
stuff going on is nice, but there's still such a huge carbon
footprint if you're getting food from California," says Vester, 42.
"We both believe in recycling and reusing and using as much local
stuff as possible.
"So we thought, 'Let's try to do our wedding that way.' "
They decided to have a 100-mile wedding.
The name, by the way, comes from a non-fiction bestselling book, The
100-Mile Diet, by West Coast authors Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon;
in it, the couple become locavores for a year, literally eating only
food grown within 100 miles of their home inVancouver.
The growing locavore trend -- eating local, all the time -- is easy
to do, perhaps, when you live in a climate as balmy as that on the
West Coast, but it's a bigger challenge in rural Alberta, a
challenge that Vester and Edwards, with the help of their families
and friends, met head-on.
The wedding and ensuing four-day party featured food grown, raised
and sourced from within 100 miles of the couple's acreage near
Didsbury, about an hour north of Calgary.
That meant no salt. No pepper. No sugar. No coffee or tea.
But there was plenty of good stuff to eat: potato-dill soup, roasted
chicken-vegetable soup, rhubarb and berry crisps, coleslaw, lamb,
chicken and beef roasts, as well as raw veggie trays. The couple
grew a lot of their own herbs and vegetables; so did Gerda's
brother, Kris Vester, who runs an organic farm, Blue Mountain Farms,
west of Carstairs. Platters of cheese came from Sylvan Star Cheese
near Sylvan Lake; and the chicken, butter and many more vegetables
(cabbages, cauliflower) came from the Fairview Hutterite Colony,
All the meat came from other farms in the region, and the bread --
including giant sheets of focaccia -- was all made by family
friends, from grain grown on Kris's farm and milled locally; his
girlfriend, Tamara Brunt, contributed the canola oil and flax oil
from Highwood Crossing south of Calgary.
"It's such a great idea, really. It's really interesting," says
Brunt, the produce manager for Sunnyside Market in Calgary.
"Certainly I meet a lot of people who try to shop locally and eat
locally, but I've never known anyone who has done a locavore wedding."
So much so, the couple even served Alberta-made beer and vodka after
the ceremony, alongside jewel-toned fruit wines from Field Stone
Fruit Wines near Strathmore.
Bridesmaid Debra Jakubec came from Edmonton and found herself
staying up till midnight the night before the wedding, making soup.
"I was cooking in Gerda's kitchen and I knew that behind me in the
fridge were other ingredients," she says. But those other
ingredients weren't local and therefore weren't allowed.
"I was good," she laughs. "I didn't cheat."
Neither did family. Gerda's sister Jenny Vester came from the West
Coast to spend several days cooking, including a day rolling out
fresh pasta made from flour milled from more of her brother's grain.
Her secret for great taste, even without salt and pepper? "Lots of
onions," she says.
Another friend made fresh fruit punches from local raspberries,
saskatoons and rhubarb juice; and five neighbours volunteered to
roast the meat for the wedding dinner.
"Neighbours have been essential to this undertaking," says Jenny.
Indeed, after the sunny outdoor ceremony, which took place beside
the couple's dugout pond, neighbours and longtime family friends set
tables with a motley assortment of tablecloths. Others sorted
flowers (all local, of course) into an array of donated vases.
Those neighbours included Leon Cyr, who lives near Gerda's parents'
farm, west of Carstairs. He showed up with a big grocery bag stuffed
full of beans, picked fresh from his wife's garden that morning.
"More people should do weddings like this," he says, noting that 40
years ago this was the way most weddings were done.
"It's a good time."
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