I’ve been singing “Shine On, Harvest Moon” for most of the day. Not sure why… the berries, for the most part, were on early this year, so we’ve been finished for some time already. I guess the seasons are ingrained in a farmer’s soul, even in years when seasonal rituals are not so evident. We are happy to say, however, that in spite of an early snowfall, we have acquired lots of fruit for winemaking this winter. The Harvest Moon was good to many Alberta fruit farmers this year, giving us an excellent fall strawberry crop, an excellent fall raspberry crop, and a reasonable harvest of saskatoon berries. We are ready and set.
It is definitely harvest season. So many indicators. Nippy air, falling leaves, some early snow. Summer seasonal markets at an end. The summer has flown by and we have only four more appearances at a seasonal market this year: two Saturdays (Oct 5 and 12) at Millarville Racetrack, one Saturday (October 12) at St. Albert Downtown, and one Sunday (October 13) at Callingwood Edmonton. Before we go any further, we want to say a big “thank you” to everyone who visited us at one of the 15 seasonals we were a part of this summer. It was great to meet you all, in all parts of the province.
I always think that one of the best things about fall is planning for Thanksgiving: all those wonderful flavours coming together in one place and time. Here at Field Stone, we like to feel that we are continuing the ancient practice of using wild native berries at the Thanksgiving feast. Now those berries come in a bottle… berry wines are the new black!
At the risk of repeating ourselves, if you haven’t served our Bumbleberry Fruit Wine with your turkey before, be sure to try it this year. Bumbleberry’s subtle berry flavours perfectly complement the mild flavor and texture of turkey. And our Cherry Fruit Wine is great accompaniment if you prefer ham; you won’t be disappointed with either choice. And one more turkey feast recommendation: Saskatoon Berry Dessert Wine served with your pumpkin pie. This is a pairing we love – these two flavours have “harvest” written all over them. Sometimes in our haste to mix dessert wines into cocktails, especially in the summer, we forget that all alone, dessert wines are always the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
To help with the feast, our “Turkey Dinner Pack” (one Bumbleberry and one Saskatoon Dessert Wine) remains on special this week at Calgary Farmers Market, Bountiful Farmers Market and our remaining summer markets.
Of course, you don’t have to stop there. Ratchet up your cranberries with this great recipe; I include it every year in the October newsletter, cause you just can’t beat it:
Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire
1 bag fresh cranberries
¼ teaspoon cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 cup Field Stone Wild Black Cherry Dessert Wine
¾ cup wildberry juice
¼ cup honey
Simmer all ingredients until berries are soft and slightly reduced. Cool and serve.
Perhaps you are having guests for Thanksgiving Dinner and are looking for something to serve when they arrive? We love to have our Cherry Cider Sangria ready in large pitchers for company’s arrival. The lovely ginger flavour of the beer combined with harvest-favourite apple cider, and melded with Alberta sour cherries is perfect for October. Give it a try this year…
Cherry Cider Sangria
1 bottle Field Stone Cherry Fruit Wine
500 ml. apple cider
2 – 250 ml. bottles ginger beer (alcoholic, or non-alcoholic)
Red and green apple slices
Orange/lemon zest (optional)
Mix ingredients together in a large pitcher. Chill for one hour to let flavours mingle.
Not cooking this year but invited out? Take our Turkey Dinner Pack along (well-chilled) for a hostess gift. Whatever your plans may be, we hope you invite Field Stone to be a part of your Thanksgiving next weekend.
It always seems somewhat strange to talk about Thanksgiving and Halloween in the same breath, but if there are any potential ghoulies and ghosties in your house, you know that Halloween is coming too. Fruit wines can be a very fun part of the perfect Halloween Party. One of our favourite ‘dark’ sips is this odd-looking martini… it fits right into your scary themed night…
Black & Blue Martini
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. Black Currant Dessert Wine
2 oz. blueberry juice
Generous squeeze of lime
Pour ingredients into a shaker with cracked ice and shake well. Serve in chilled martini glasses!
A scary offering …
On a more serious note, news from the winery this month includes our summer draw, and Rita Herrmann is our lucky winner! Congratulations Rita and again, thanks to everyone who visited and entered the draw this summer.
And for those of you who missed our big news on social media this week, we are thrilled to announce that our Strawberry-Rhubarb Fruit Wine recently received the Best In Class award at Culinaire agazine’s Alberta Beverage Awards! And that’s not all. Our Black Currant Fruit Wine took home a Judge’s Selection Award (silver medal) as a serious contender in its category. This competition is open to ANY product that was for sale in Alberta this year, both international and national. We are so proud of our Strawberry-Rhubarb Fruit Wine and its great showing… this is the THIRD year that it has taken the top prize. Read more about the Alberta Beverage Award winners at Culnaire’s website: www.culinairemagazine.ca. Thank you Culinaire!
And finally… believe it or not… we are travelling around the province to some great CHRISTMAS shows this month! Yes, it begins….
On Friday, October 18th, we’re happy to be a part of Strathmore’s own Vintage and Vines Country Market. Come sip, savour and shop at our curated selection of vintage vendors and artisans showcasing their talents at the Ag Society grounds. The market is a perfect start to the holiday shopping season and more info can be found here.
Friday, October 18th also finds us at Medicine Hat’s Fall Into Christmas HandmadeMarket. For three full days we will be set up at the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede with over 100 other artists, artisans, makers, and designers who have come from coast-to-coast. Fall Into Christmas is a uniquely Canadian handmade marketplace featuring only Canadian handmade works. For all the details, including hours, visit www.signatures.ca.
The following weekend finds us at Red Deer’s Our Best to You Handmade Market. Since 1991, this show has been an annual holiday tradition where visitors can meet individual artists and crafters in person, hear their stories, and enjoy the variety of Canadian products. Join us at Westerner Park from October 25-27 for an unforgettable experience that boasts over 200 vendors. For all the details, visit www.signatures.ca.
So for all of you who like to a get a real jump on your holiday shopping, October is your month!
And that’s all we have for this month. Until next time, we hope your “Harvest moon will smile, and shine on all the while…”
Happy October, everyone.
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