Sunday 28 September 2014

The Moser's Dinner Bus
When we first decided to move to Alberta, I wasn't sure what to expect. My only previous visit to the prairies had been that time when Kay and I took the Via Rail all the way across from Toronto through to Jasper - I think it may have been on my second visit to Canada. It certainly brought to me the vastness of this country I now call home.

When we moved to Edmonton, Kay came up ahead. I remember a conversation with him, in which he told me that the first thing I would notice about the prairies was the big sky. I honestly couldn't understand what he meant by that until I stood under the said big sky one summer afternoon... all the way out in the Albertan prairies.

Jack and Sharon Moser, Canola Farmers
One of the most enduring images of Alberta, for me, is bright yellow canola fields. Whenever we drive to BC in the summer, I can't help but want to head out into those sparkly fields and just bury myself in them. It's a unusual feeling for someone like me, who didn't grow up with a lot of space, and loves the crowded city a lot.

When the Alberta Canola Producers asked me if I wanted to head out into Killam, meet the Moser family and learn about canola, I knew that it would certainly be an interesting day for this city slicker. I didn't grow up on a farm - an Indian tropical orchard is very different from a Canadian prairie farm - so it was going to be a learning experience.

Non-city-slicker Twyla Campbell, Edmonton's favourite foodie.
Jack and Sharon Moser also have a super cool school bus, which they have converted to a mobile kitchen and eatery for their farm people during harvest season. We were invited to check out the bus and have lunch, catered by popular farm-to-fork chef Blair Lebsack. I've been meaning to try out his restaurant, RGE RD forever, and this was a perfect opportunity to sample some of his amazing cooking.

And of course, it helped to give Sharon Moser a break, and enjoy herself with us, as a change from being the chef all the time.

Chef Blair Lebsack, RGE RD.
Chef Lebsack's menu didn't disappoint. From the 'Edible Farm' to the Maple Whisky Verrine, let's just say his take on classic farm food was incredible. My friends, Diane and Andrea agreed that this was the way food should be eaten - in a school bus, in the middle of a canola farm in the prairies, surrounded by amazing, inspiring people. 

Jack and Sharon work on the principle of the family meal. Having raised their children on the farm, they now enjoy spending time with their family and grandchildren, who, unsurprisingly, love the bus. But what struck me most, was their insistence on providing their workers with a home cooked meal at the end of a long day. Hence the bus, which is equipped with all the comforts of a home kitchen, including a sink where the workers can clean off.

Canola farming is intensive, and a lot depends on the weather. We were there right at harvest season, and it was interesting to hear all about the farm cycle, and how much it depended on forces outside of their control. It instilled in me a new appreciation for farmers and their work in ensuring that the land is looked after.

 Thank you to Alberta Canola for inviting us to take part in this unique experience.


  1. Oh you are making me miss living out west. This looks and sounds like a beautiful event, and your pictures really capture it nicely :-).

  2. That sounds like such a fun adventure, Michelle. I've yet to experience the big sky of the prairies, but I really hope I get the chance someday soon.
    PS: I think I can safely say that I've never come close to eating anything so gourmet on a big yellow schoolbus... colour me jealous. :)


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