Northern Bites; Showcasing Local Producers and Talent
Northern Bites is the brainchild of Jacquie Fenske and Monique MacDonald. Jacquie is part of the Fifendekel family and Monique is one of Edmonton’s social media influencers. Monique is also on the teams for Spirits on Ice and Sherwood Park Cravings. These two lovely ladies have partnered together to bring you unique tour experiences to meet local small businesses in Edmonton and the surrounding counties. It was quite the tour!
After we RSVP’d to our invite, we were sent an email requesting that we meet at Fifendekel to board the limousine that would be leaving promptly at 6pm. Limo? Swanky!
We were treated to a bagged lunch from Fifendekel. Wow, did that bring back memories! They have been an Edmonton staple for 35 years. I have had the pleasure of being able to indulge in many catered lunches through various workplaces over the years. Quality ingredients, quality food.
During the ride to the farm, we were treated to a presentation by Chocolates by Terry. This is a lady that started out her whole business with a batch of chocolate covered pecan bark. It was so popular that she decided she might need to make a business out of it. This is her retirement project so there is no retail storefront, custom orders only! Everything is made fresh to order and has a shelf life of approximately 3 months.
Before we knew it, we were pulling up to Thiel’s Greenhouses in the Bruderheim area. We were introduced to our lovely host family and educated on the different types of Saskatoon berries. (I had no idea that there were different varieties!)
Malcolm also showed off his very unique titanium Morse code glyph pendants. Super talented creator. A beautiful way to put a message onto a piece of jewelry to gift to a loved one.
We were sent on our way with our pint sized pail to speed pick the saskatoons. By chance, it was also the Scotford Hutterite Colony’s night to pick berries as well. The ladies came with their berry picking belts and pails and settled down to work. Unbeknownst to me, the Hutterites are known for singing while they work. These ladies had beautiful voices! I could have picked berries all night listening to them sing their hymns while they picked. This was my favourite memory of the night.
Speed picking it was! Fill that pail up and off we go! The lovely Nancy made us some scrumptious Saskatoon and Rosemary Ice Cream to sample before we got back in the limo. We were also gifted with some creeping Rosemary seedlings to plant at home. They smelled absolutely delicious.
Sparkling conversation took place for the ride back to Fifendekel. It was lovely to get to know our hosts and our fellow influencers. Edmonton is so fortunate to have such a vast and diverse group of people that want to promote everything local!
When we arrived back at Fifendekel, our baking stations were all set up for us and ready to go. I have never made a scratch pie in my life, so this was a little intimidating for me. We washed our berries and then followed the recipe (see below).
Thankfully the pie crust was pre-mixed and rolled out for us already. I remember many battles with that damn rolling pin and being covered head to toe in flour. I am NOT a good baker! I have, however, watched many food television shows and was at least able to fake it.
I managed to get the berries into the bottom crust and make the top crust into a flower cutout. I think I even managed to flute the edges so that they didn’t look too bad.
The pies went into the oven. They needed to bake for 50 minutes so we were treated to another couple of special guests.
Camola Sustainable Foods was first up. I have been following them for a couple of months now doing my research on cricket flour and the sustainability factors of growing crickets versus cattle. Due to a personal setback, I haven’t gotten that blog post up yet, but it is coming in this month’s edition of The Edmonton Muse!
Don’t let the whole “cricket” thing turn you off of the products. They are both delicious and nutritious. There is no “off” flavour. If you didn’t know that there was cricket flour in these products, you would not be able to tell the difference between a normal biscotti and a bugscotti. Be brave, try one!
Camola’s products are available for purchase on their website, or you can buy them in person at one of the farmer’s markets that they attend on a weekly basis. They will also be growing their own crickets within the next couple of months. It is an exciting time for them.
Rig Hand Distillery was on hand to sample about 12 different flavours of vodka, gin, brum, moonshine and whisky. I have had a previous opportunity to get a super quick tour of the distillery and one of their tasty garlic vodka ceasars! Clearly I need to pop back in for a complete tour soon. Many flavours in all of the different categories. All of them use ingredients available right here in Alberta and no added sugars. My favourite was the raspberry vodka. I love the “no added sugar” concept. You actually get to taste the flavour of the raspberries in all of their natural glory.
Jacquie Fenske from Fifendekel gave us a bit of history on the business. It is 35 years young this year. Originally it was started out as an ice cream business. The name comes from a family “urban legend” from one of the uncles. When you were misbehaving, it was all because of Phillip Fifendekel, a mischievous imp.
Eventually, the ice cream business wasn’t lining up around the block any longer because people were becoming more health conscious and the popularity of ice cream was going down hill. This is where the sandwiches took over. The meats are all roasted in house. Nothing is processed. All of the ingredients are fresh and lovingly prepared. Famously fast, friendly and flavourful. Nothing pretentious here!
Fifendekel is most famous for those pies. A different featured flavour every month. When good things go into a product, deliciousness comes out. Fifendekel pies are no exception. Family recipes, simple and unique ingredients, tasty dessert.
Monique gave us a bit of information on Spirits on Ice. This is part of the Silver Skate festival that takes place each year in Hawrelak park. Enjoy food and drink samples from local vendors inside a heated tent. Live music, firepits and a beautiful winter atmosphere are here to enjoy. Admission is free, you just pay for your food and drink tickets.
Special packages were available at last year’s event where $20 would get you admission to the Ice Castle and 10 tasting tickets. What a great date night idea!
Our pies were finally done baking, the whole process smelled so good that it was making everyone’s mouth water! It is such a delicious recipe that I thought I would share it with you below:
Fifendekel Saskatoon Pie
One of the featured flavours during the month of July. Use fresh local ingredients.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
4 cup saskatoons freshly picked
2 9 inch pie crust
1 tbsp butter cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt together. Sprinkle over top of saskatoons and mix together gently.
Line dish with one pie crust. Add saskatoons. Dot with butter.
Get creative with that top crust! Cut into 1/2 inch strips and make a lattice, or place the second crust on top and make some slits for ventilation.
For some added flair, you can sprinkle the top of the crust with a bit of extra sugar.
Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Northern Bites is a bit too new to have a website up and running just yet, but you can find them on all of the popular social media platforms:
They will surely have some exciting tours coming up soon! Go and give them a follow and experience some of the delicious local producers that Edmonton and area has to offer.