Sunworks Farm Tour and Dinner

I have been so fortunate lately to be working with some incredible local clients through my business, Plated Public Relations. Ron and Sheila Hamilton from Sunworks Farm have been no exception. We teamed up together to create a food blogger farm tour and dinner that was incredibly informative and very well received by Edmonton’s food blogging community.  To begin the tour, Ron described their farming philosophy: Organic, sustainable and humane. I’ve worked in conventional agriculture before and have visited a few conventional farms. Compared to Ron and Sheila’s, I have never seen a farm that was so well maintained, and where the animals were so happy.

Sunworks farm is a multi-commodity farm, producing eggs, poultry, beef and pork. As such, they maintain their quotas for each of their commodities from different organizations (including the Egg Farmers of Alberta, the Alberta Chicken Producers, and the Alberta Turkey Producers.) Each organization regulates their respective commodity, and inspect the farm accordingly.

Sunworks’ egg production is extremely efficient. They have 5000 laying hens that lay 2100 eggs a week. Each egg is hand collected and washed using the above egg washing machine.

Their organic laying hens produce beautiful and flavourful eggs.

In addition to maintaining their large quota, Sunworks Farm is Certified Organic through EcoCert. This means that no pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics and additives are used while raising and packaging their livestock and poultry. Inspections are carried out yearly and evaluate all aspects of their farming operations.

They also use an interesting farming technique I’ve never heard of before. Their broiler chickens are housed in movable barns that are pulled over new grass every morning. This is to ensure that they have access to a fresh bed of comfortable grass every day.

Not only do these barns benefit the well-fare of the chickens, but they also add vital nutrients to the soil. Since converting their land to an organic farm back in 1992, Ron and Sheila have added several inches of topsoil to their land by using this practice.

Sunworks farm is also Certified Humane through the BC SPCA. This not-for profit is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of life for farm animals. They carry-out yearly inspections to ensure that all farming operations meet their organizational standards.

Have you ever seen happier chickens? I know I haven’t.

After the tour, guests were greeted to a beautifully-lain table (if I do say so myself), and treated to a five-course dinner prepared by Chef Kevin Zellweger from the Quarter Section Food Company. They will be opening a restaurant in Leduc soon, so if you like what you see below, go check them out!

The first course was a charcuterie platter pilled high with Sunworks meat products and Sylvan Star Cheeses (not pictured.) The second was a seasonal salad with local oil and vinegar from Vinesations in Camrose.The third course was a chicken leg comfit atop asparagus and mushroom risotto.The fifth course (my favourite) was the beef wellington. The beef was perfectly rare and the crust was crispy and crunchy, and gluten-free no less!   And finally, to end our meal, a triple layer chocolate mouse gateaux and nespresso coffee.

Guests were even sent home work a full bag of sunworks sausages to enjoy at home. Ron and Sheila’s generosity knows no bounds, and I was so happy to have been able to work with them on this project. If you’re interested to see what the other Edmonton Food Bloggers had to say about the event, you can check out my Storify Story.


Homemade Oreo Ice Cream

So I’m realizing that with the business, and with baby number 2 on the way and a toddler pulling at my arm, I have way less time to blog than I did previously. Sorry its been so long, folks!

This recipe was incredible. A custard-based ice cream with crushed whole oreos mixed in. So. Good.

Start by tempering the egg yolks and sugar with the warm milk and cream. Next, you’ll want to transfer everything back into the hot pot and simmer on low, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Be patient and do NOT turn up the heat. It can take up to 15-20 mins for the custard to thicken. Once thick, transfer to a heat-proof bowl and refrigerate overnight. The next day, pop it all into your ice cream maker and let it churn. Crush some oreos in a food processor and add them to the ice cream, when the ice cream has almost fully reached the consistency you’re looking for. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe bowl and let set in the freezer. Enjoy on a hot summer’s day.

Homemade Oreo Ice Cream

You will need:

3 cups full-fat milk

3 cups half and half cream

8 egg yolks

3/4 cups sugar

10 oreos

Begin by whisking the egg yolks and sugar together using an electric mixer until the mixture looks like mayonnaise. While whisking, heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until just steaming. While continuously whisking the egg yolks, slowly add the heated milk to the mixture. This is called tempering. Once combined, transfer the mixture back to the pot and cook on low, whisking gently all the while, until the mixture thickens. Take your time and do not turn up the heat. You will break the custard if you do. Once the mixture is thick, transfer to a heat proof bowl and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, set up your ice cream maker and churn the custard according to manufacturers instructions. Crush the oreos in a food processor and add them to the ice cream when the ice cream is almost fully churned. Transfer to a freezer safe bowl and freeze to firm up. Enjoy!