The signs of fall are somewhat different at a fruit winery.
All around us, our grain-farming neighbours are bringing in the harvest in big ways, with big machines and lots of dust. Canadian vineyards are picking and pressing fresh grapes. Vegetable farmers are frantically digging root vegetables. Berry harvest, however, is in wind-down mode.
Saskatoon berries, picked right in the heat of the summer, have long been sent to the freezer. Ditto for our Kent strawberries. Raspberries, too, have been picked and pressed. Even the late-ripening chokecherries are finished for the season.
Our fall rituals, consequently, are somewhat non-harvest related! They include:
a) Closing up the Winery.
Yes, the last day open was August 30th. Thank you to everyone who visited this summer, tasted our wines, enjoyed the country, and entered our contest. I am happy to announce that Jen Thomson was our grand winner. Congratulations Jen! Don’t forget that wine tasting at the winery is still available in the winter months by appointment. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you.
b) Our Last Appearances at Seasonal Farmers Markets.
Yes, our summer of FSOTR (Field Stone on the Road) has come almost to an end. Most of our markets will continue until the end of September, and two or three will continue through to the Thanksgiving weekend. If you love markets in the fall, then there is still time to visit. The bounty is still considerable! A huge thank you to everyone who came out to support markets this year – we enjoyed meeting you Calgary, St. Albert, Edmonton, Airdrie, Red Deer, Strathmore, Sylvan Lake, Crossfield, Olds, Bentley, Rimbey, Drumheller, Lacombe, Okotoks, Millarville and Cochrane! In this unusual year, we were very grateful that markets were able to operate, and we ask you to continue supporting local by visiting our retail stores this winter, in many towns and cities across Alberta. For a complete list of markets and retail stores, you can always visit fieldstonefruitwines.com/find-us.
c) The Commencement of Fall and Winter Events.
This year, given the public health restrictions in place, our event calendar is not quite as full, but we continue to support fundraising and community wherever we can. Several Fall and Christmas markets and shows are scheduled to run, however, and many favourite events are working their way through new protocols in order to give you the best, safest and most exciting Christmas markets possible! Tune in to next month’s newsletter for all the details. We are excited to tell you about them.
And now on to the most important ritual of Fall – Thanksgiving! As you probably know (I mention it every year), I love this holiday and all the wonderful foods and flavours that come together. What seems more appropriate and authentic than incorporating the flavours of wild native berries into the Thanksgiving feast? You may not have as many people around your feasting table this year, but that’s no reason to pull back on flavours. We can help you accomplish just that.
First of all, (and at the risk of repeating myself), if you haven’t paired our Bumbleberry Fruit Wine with roast turkey, be sure to treat yourself to this combination this year. And for the perfect ending, try serving one ounce of our Saskatoon Dessert Wine as an accompaniment to your pumpkin pie… I can only say “yum”. And as added incentive, we will be offering our “summer specials” right up til Thanksgiving this year, which means that our “turkey pack” – one Bumbleberry Fruit Wine and one Saskatoon Dessert Wine – will be available between now and Thanksgiving at all our markets for $40.00. (This includes our year-round, indoor, rain-and-snow-free Calgary Farmers and Edmonton Bountiful markets.) Come on down and get one! (Can’t visit all your friends or family this year? Drop off a chilled pack at their door… a perfect “hostess gift” even when it’s curbside!)
Cooking ham this year? Try our Cherry Fruit wine as a winning companion. Flavourful Alberta-grown sour cherries just love Alberta pork! But don’t take our word for it, give it a try for yourself..
Of course, there are many other ways to use fruit wines in fall’s feasting agenda. Here’s a few of our favourites:
Pre-dinner drink: Field Stone Saskatini
1 oz. Saskatoon Berry Dessert Wine
1 oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. vodka
Squeeze of lime
Pour ingredients into a shaker with cracked ice and shake well. Serve in chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
Appetizer: Strawberry Cheese Pate
(Can be made ahead of time and the hint of strawberry and sage at Thanksgiving feast always pleases!)
2 ¾ oz (75 g) hard goat’s cheese
2 ¾ oz (75 g) blue cheese (Roquefort or Gorgonzola)
Small bunch of chives
6 fresh sage leaves
1 clove garlic
3-4 tablespoons Strawberry Dessert Wine
Remove any rind from cheeses. Trim, rinse and dry the chives and sage and peel the garlic. Put all into food processor or blender and process them to a thick paste. Add the wine gradually, blend until smooth, then spoon into a dish to serve. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap, but do not refrigerate. Serve with water biscuits or breadsticks.
Salad: Saskatoon Berry Vinaigrette
½ cup saskatoon berries (fresh or frozen)
4 tbsp. Saskatoon Berry Dessert Wine
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
4 tbsp. vinegar
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. basil paste
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to taste.
Puree in blender and use with your favourite greens. Delish!
Main Course: Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire
(I know I include this every year, but it’s my favourite!)
1 bag fresh cranberries
¼ teaspoon cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 cup 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.
Dessert: Pumpkin Pie & Whipped Cream with a 1-oz. glass of Saskatoon Berry Dessert Wine
(I know, this is too simple).
Option: Bosc Pears in Dessert Wine
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 cups Saskatoon Dessert Wine
1/2 cup sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
2 cinnamon sticks
8 Bosc pears
Place orange, lemon juice, zest, wine, sugar and cinnamon sticks in a heavy large pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Peel pears with a vegetable peeler or paring knife, leaving stems intact. Cut off a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so the pears can stand upright. Place pears in the large saucepan. Cover and simmer pears until just tender. Rotate pears once during cooking. Using a slotted spoon carefully transfer pears to a baking dish and cool. Reduce remaining sauce to about 1/2 cup (about 6-8 minutes). Strain into a separate bowl and let cool. Cover and refrigerate sauce and pears for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. To serve, bring to room temperature and place on large platter. Spoon sauce over pears. Can be served with whipped cream on the side.
There you have it… easy as pie! The luscious flavours of fruit wines can jazz up your fall feasting with little effort. We hope you enjoy.
And finally, we must boast a little about our big wins at competition this season. We are thrilled to announce that, once again, our Black Currant Fruit Wine has taken Best In Class at the Alberta Beverage Awards! For this competition, all fruit wines SOLD in Alberta (not only those made in Alberta) are included in the class …. making us even prouder of our 2020 win. Off-dry, moderately oaked, fruity finish….have you tried it yet?
And following close on its heels, our Cherry Fruit Wine was awarded the Judges’ Selection in the Fruit Wine class. We are so proud of our Black Currant and Cherry wines this year. In competition with wines from around the world, Alberta fruit has once again proved that it ranks high in preferred flavours. Thank you to all the judges at Alberta Beverage Awards who participated. There will be more information on the competition in the October edition of Culinaire Magazine.
And that’s all for September! If you’d like more frequent updates from Field Stone, consider joining our conversations on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to hear from you at anytime!
From farm to glass, we hope local fruit wines will be a part of your fall menus and leisure moments. Be sure and take summer with you into every season.
Happy September, everyone!
May you fall gently into Autumn.