Remembering My Manitoba Harvest Celebration



I am writing this as part of the Canadian Food Experience Project which began June 7 2013.  As we the participants, share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice.  My topic: The Canadian Harvest in Manitoba.

Even though I have not been to school (as a student) since I graduated from University many years ago, I still get that “back-to-school” butterfly feeling every September.  I look forward to the change of season even though it means I have to pack up from my extended stay at our summer house and embrace my routines of our house in the city.  One special event that I look forward to every fall is celebrating the harvest season by traveling to the Dalgarno Family Farm in Newdale Manitoba.  This is the second time I have been invited by the Pen-Dale Farm to attend a “Supper-in-the-Field”- a term known to most farm families.  During harvest time meals are taken to the field so as to be time efficient for the workers.  Often friends who have other occupations assist at harvest time and so there are many to provide a hearty meal for.  Last year, Bruce Dalgarno who is a volunteer fire-fighter was called away to fight a field fire in the area.  His wife Carol, didn’t skip a beat and hosted a large group of us “city-folk” and celebrated her grandson’s birthday all at the same time.

Pen-Dale is a fourth generation farm and they operate a 3000 acre mix of canola, cereals, oilseeds, grasses and pedigree seeds.  All this seems daunting enough but they do so at an elevation approaching 2000 feet which means that the area has one of the shortest growing seasons for agricultural land in Manitoba.  Bruce and Carol are true illustrations of being the “salt of the earth”.  They met in the area and have lived a love affair with the land, ever since.  They are humble, kind and trustworthy; the kind of people that you would love to have living next door to you, or a mile or so down the road.


Tables were beautifully set prior to our arrival.  I felt very pampered because the prior year we ate more picnic style.



Chef MJ Feeke of Benjamin’s in Selkirk, Manitoba is the beautiful woman wielding the tongs.  I have had the pleasure of sampling her creations on many occasions.  She too loves the land and the bounties that it delivers and feels that food nourishes both our bellies and our souls.


Our post-supper discussion was a passionate one about GMOs and the ethics of bio-technology.  I would never knowingly harm my family with food that was dangerous in any way.  I try to expose myself to whatever information I can, to make a rational decision in the face of the radical anti-GMO movement.  I am concerned about food security both at home and around the world and I worry that the anti-GMO movement will paralyze the bio-ag industry to deliver new technologies to feed the hungry of this earth.  Where can we go for the truth, for the straight goods on all of this?  Well, I can visit Bruce Dalgarno who loves to farm because he can “feel the earth and watch and smell the crops grow”.  I can watch he and Carol with their grandsons and I know that they would not knowingly harm those boys either.


When we left the farm that evening we could hear the din of the combines in the vicinity and the honking of geese overhead and knew that  glorious evenings like this were numbered, as summer gave way to autumn.

Kath’s quote: “Feed the world.”  Bob Geldof


Love-that is all.





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7 Comments to

“Remembering My Manitoba Harvest Celebration”

  1. Avatar November 15th, 2013 at 9:01 am Pat Orsak Says:

    Harvest meals are special. There is no greater time to connect those that produce food with that food. As farmers we work very hard and are very proud to produce food safely for family,friends and the world.

  2. Avatar November 15th, 2013 at 9:07 am Kathryne Says:

    Amen Pat.

  3. Avatar November 15th, 2013 at 11:40 am Jennifer Dyck Says:

    What a beautiful message you have shared. I too truly believe that farmers know best when it comes to their land and I fully trust their decisions when knowing what is best to grow and how to grow it for my family, their family and families around the world.
    My favourite quote “I can watch he and Carol with their grandsons and I know that they would not knowingly harm those boys either.”
    Wow, just wow. You are so very right!

  4. Avatar November 15th, 2013 at 12:02 pm Bruce & Carol Dalgarno Says:

    Harvest is an especially great time of the year. All the trials and tribulations with Mother Nature come to fruition as we harvest our crops. The “Supper in the Field” is important in that not only does it allow workers to be time efficient but also allows other family members and children an opportunity to help out with the harvest. This short break for a meal also allows the children to experience the sights and smells of autumn. We were so pleased that we were able to host your group for this experience!

  5. Avatar November 15th, 2013 at 12:05 pm Kathryne Says:

    In the end, it is all about trying to do best by our children and our children’s children, isn’t it Carol?

  6. Avatar November 15th, 2013 at 12:08 pm Kathryne Says:

    Thank you Jen for introducing me to the people responsible for putting food on my family’s table.

  7. Avatar November 15th, 2013 at 1:23 pm Leanne Says:

    Well said Kathryne. I appreciate your words describing a wonderful evening with the best people. It is thanks to the farm community that we have the safe healthy food that we enjoy year round.

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