Best chefs in Canada right now? I think so...yet they don't have a restaurant. It's all about Okanagan cuisine de terroir, dining outdoors on a cliff over Okanagan Lake, and eating not just what's in season, but what is best that day. Here's my article in September 2013 Western Living magazine on Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart, owners / chefs of Joy Road Catering in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.
In the current issue of Canadian Geographic, The return of the sockeye salmon, is a story I worked rather hard to get into print.
I have to give credit to a wonderful fishmonger in the Okanagan Valley, Jon Crofts of Codfather's Seafood Market. He tipped me off to the story that was developing, and provided some very useful background and contacts about a year ago to this day. He not only spent time on the phone getting me up to speed on various fishery-related issues, we met a few times in person, and he patiently answered my naive questions about how ocean-dwelling fish could end up in a fresh water lake system 1000-km from the Pacific.
As I pursued the story, there were some challenges just getting to the right people who would facilitate a visit to the fishing camp on the north end of Osoyoos Lake, in the Okanagan Valley (British Columbia, Canada's, southern interior). After a month of back-and-forth on the phone with various people at the Okanagan Nation Alliance, I was invited to tag along on the purse seiner on the very last day of fishing for 2012. I immediately called up Bruce Kemp, an award-winning photographer in the Okanagan Valley, Bruce cleared his calendar on a moment's notice, so he could join me and we were able to capture the story together.
A year later...here's the story. I'm pleased that Bruce and I could bring this story into being, in a major national publication like Canadian Geographic. It's a rare, good-news fishery story in Canada. There are still some major hazards and roadblocks in the way in the salmon's complicated journey back to this once-abundant terminal fishery in the Okanagan, but as an optimist, I choose to believe that the salmon have returned to the Okanagan, to their First Nations communities, and to our lakes and streams.
FarmAid: How Alberta’s Farmers, Entrepreneurs and Innovators Can Help Feed the World, Alberta Venture magazine, April 2012
Alberta Venture magazine, April 2012 issue / Agriculture / Jennifer Cockrall-King
Project: Transform Alberta – How Alberta’s Farmers, Entrepreneurs and Innovators Can Help Feed the World
On October 31, 2011, the global population reached seven billion. It’s predicted to grow by another two billion by 2050. At this rate, we’ll have to grow and raise more food in the next 50 years than we’ve produced cumulatively over the past 10,000
In the chill of the spring dawn, an Alberta livestock farmer waits nervously for a pregnant cow to give birth. As soon as she does, the farmer swabs the inside of the newborn’s cheek. The sample is quickly shipped to a lab in Edmonton where the calf’s DNA is extracted and analyzed. Three weeks later, the farmer knows if the calf has won the genetic lottery. Does it have the genes to make it a great producer of milk? If it’s a beef breed, will it produce AAA steak years later? Plainly put, it doesn’t make sense to bring that calf to age if genetics aren’t on its side such that it can be healthy and productive and contribute to a profitable enterprise.
Welcome to the brave new world of farming. Primary agriculture in Alberta is a $7.7-billion industry, with crops accounting for $3.7 billion of that number and livestock bringing in $3.5 billion. But while our role as a volume producer of raw exports may be significant, our greatest contributions to helping solve global hunger could yet be ahead. Perhaps our role in the global food economy will be one of innovation and contributions to technological leaps. This future will be one where soil is enriched with “biochar,” where farmers earn as much through their efforts to offset carbon dioxide emissions as they do from crops, and where every animal is scanned, analyzed and barcoded.
Read the full article on Alberta Venture magazine's website.
In conjunction with this article, I was interviewed by Duncan Kinney at Alberta Venture for a companion podcast to the article.
Podcast: How Can Alberta Help Feed the World?
Project: Transform Alberta is all about addressing big, bold ideas for the province. In this month’s Project: Transform Alberta article Jennifer Cockrall-King explores how over the next century of population growth Alberta’s farms, farmers and innovators could help feed those many mouths.In our podcast we spoke to Cockrall-King about bio-char and growing more farmers and we headed to Delta Genomics and spoke to Colin Coros about the state-of-the-art genomic testing that is helping to build better cows and pigs.
I am a contributing panelist to enRoute magazine's Best New Restaurants issue, which appears every November. In this issue, I also have an article about what I consider Canada's last culinary frontier: Northern Foods. Yes, as in Canada's North. The Arctic.
The article, really is about a series of "Northern Night" dinners that have been going on in Edmonton thanks to two amazing foodies, Twyla Campbell and Steve Cooper, who travel in the North a lot. Their enthusiasm for the exotic ingredients they find in the Arctic is infectious and their Northern Night dinners are now the hottest tickets in the Slow Food Edmonton calendar.
By the way, Twyla is the CBC Radio One Edmonton restaurant critic, writer, blogger, food lover and wanderer. Her blog is http://weirdwildandwonderful.blogspot.com/.
Currently in print in Western Living magazine, Nov 2010:
For all that Old Havana has to offer—UNESCO World Heritage Site architecture, music on every corner, mint-condition classic cars, surprising art galleries, nearby pristine Caribbean beaches—food has always been the unfortunate, forgotten footnote and the chief complaint of even adventurous travellers. But with a massive tourism shift from the resort areas into the pulsating capital of Havana, the dining scene has had no choice but to catch up. With a little inside info, the chances of finding a really good meal, especially in Old Havana, are steadily improving. (Click here to read the rest of my article online at www.westernlivingmagazine.com.