Savour the Flavours

By Willa Wick in Community, Food, Places, Events, & History

With more and more emphasis on eating healthy, being loyal to the 100 mile food radius, and choosing organic – it stands to reason that all three items should come in one neat package.
Savour the Flavours provides that package.
The 3rd annual event was sold out immediately – a fine testimony to how this social and culinary evening is being enjoyed by dedicated followers.
Organic farming practices combined with small home businesses has steadily increased. That in turn made the various Farmers’ Markets in Minto well received and attended. Eventually those vendors wanted to do something on a larger scale, something grand, something special and unique.
Representatives from the market vendor group met with supporting organizations (Chamber of Commerce, Town of Minto, Palmerston Agricultural Society and the Harriston/Minto Agricultural Society.) All groups agreed they should work together and the Chamber of Commerce was established as the lead organization. From those meetings spawned the idea of a gala event featuring many vendors serving hors d’oeuvres of locally grown produce.
That was three years ago!
The first evening, on a small scale as a trial event and held at the Palmerston Community Centre, was highly successful. The second was a sell-out on the curling club floor of the Harriston Community Complex. The third event was to be held in Clifford (as one of the 3 partners in the Town of Minto), but because of the uncertainty of whether or not there would be ice in Clifford in 2012, the affair remained in Harriston for a repeat performance.
This was the first time the Minto Arts Council became a host partner and arranged for a showing of local “Savour the Arts”. In the Curling Clubroom, overlooking the dining floor were exhibits of ink pieces by Nichola McEwan; ironworks by Bevelled Edge Blade & Blacksmith Mike Shannon of Drew; Palmerston artist Chantal Heroux who works in abstraction; Minto’s Amy Belair whose works are a mixed medium; and custom designs and creations in stained glass by Harriston artist Tony Hale.
There was no stage nor speeches, just a few introductory remarks from Minto Chamber of Commerce representative Glen Hall. Background entertainment was provided by 17 and 18 year old brothers from Mt. Forest (Nick Misener on violin and Jake Misener on the chello). A Farmers’ Market vendor area was held at one end of the hall.
Wightman Telecom was the major sponsor for this event and Marketing Manager Hope Robertson could only agree that the evening was a huge testimony to the great community we live in. Their TV cameraman visited most of the vendors over the past few months for promotional interviews, and these have been running on Channel 6, the new TV channel for Wightman customers.
As an aside, Robertson advised that for everyone who participated in the Heels for Health Walkathon, Wightman would donate an additional $20.
Savour the Flavours was the very first time that anyone sampled C & M Seeds’ bread. The bread came right out of the ovens that morning. It’s made with locally grown and produced flour and was also packaged for sale.
The University of Guelph is a big supporter of ‘Taste Real’ which undertakes the marketing of local farmers. Minto has adopted the Taste Real brand to highlight local initiatives.
In concluding his remarks Hall noted that a new approach had been added to make the line-ups go faster. Green Club Members from Norwell District Secondary School were acting as servers and clean-up crew. Salads and hors d’oeuvres were placed on the tables so that (hopefully) only half the diners would rush to the vendors following grace.
There was no shortage of food as many local producers, each paired with a chef, created tasty samplings from the local area. There were refreshments of many varieties to accompany the meal.
There was laughter, rejoicing and socializing. Even I, in my wanderings around the hall, was approached by an out-of-town vendoress whom I hadn’t seen since high school (many moons ago), what a pleasant surprise.
After it was over, and one reflects on the success of the event and what a good time was had – we must pause to remember how much work goes on behind the scenes. The farmers spent a whole season growing and caring for the produce. The vendors must estimate how much product and how many samples have to be prepared for 300 ticket holders other vendors and helpers. How do they prepare that much food in their kitchens? The list is endless, yet they arrive at their allocated spot, decorate their area, and with smiles on their faces are ready to face the hungry crowd at 6:00.
Many of the vendors who participate in Savour the Flavours are also sellers at the Minto Farmers’ Markets. We need to support these vendors and the markets each summer because if not supported these merchants cannot afford to be there. Then there would be no markets.
Kudos must also be given to the Norwell students, some of whom were working on their community service hours while the rest were strictly volunteering. A little clean-up area was cordoned off in the back corner. The teenagers gathered plates, goblets and utensils, and dumped, scraped and stored the glassware for
later dishwashing.
Savour the Flavours in Minto promises to be a tradition to continue.