Meet Bruce and Carol Dalgarno-Radical Hospitality


I would consider my family hospitable people.  By this I mean we take our turn hosting Christmas and dinners at the lake and enjoy going to an extra bit of trouble when we entertain.  We are very intentional and organized when we host.  We divvy up responsibilities and tasks so that the evening will go off without a hitch.

I cannot imagine welcoming a busload of absolute strangers (let alone food writers).

I cannot imagine pulling this off and celebrating my grandson’s birthday in the same evening.

I cannot imagine hosting anything at all after devastating winds have threatened my community and our livelihood.

I cannot imagine doing this without my husband who gets called away at the last minute to answer an alarm as a volunteer fire fighter.

I cannot imagine pulling together any kind of composure and grace under these circumstances.

There is “hospitality” and there is what I call “radical hospitality”.

And yet that is just what Carol Dalgarno did this past Friday evening when Pen-Dale Farms in Newdale, MB was the first stop on Manitoba Canola Grower’s “Be Well” Weekend.

Since Bruce had been called away to fight a field fire in the area, we never actually had the chance to meet him but had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with his family and friends who shared their story. 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.

I know that I would have immediately taken to Bruce as my sweet Dad was also a grain farmer who left his land in southern Saskatchewan only because there was a war to be fought but returned every year to help out at harvest time and then sent his eldest sons to do the same, until his parents were too elderly to sustain the land.  “Farming allows Bruce to feel the earth, to smell and watch crops grow.”

We were treated to my first “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.  A friend of Carol’s had been recruited to feed us and I will have to get one of my fellow travelers to remind me of her name.

Salads had been prepared from the abundance of freshly picked tomatoes and cucumbers, baby potatoes boiled and mashed,

and beef was sliced to our liking along with hearty baked beans.

A gorgeous pumpkin trifle was our dessert, and even though I shy away from desserts in the city, I enjoyed the first of many sweet tastes of the weekend.

The sun was just setting as we boarded our bus to head to our next destination but I will not ever forget the Dalgarnos and their radical hospitality.

Kath’s quote: “Beans are highly nutritious and satisfying, they can also be delicious if and when properly prepared, and they posses over all vegetables the great advantage of being just as good, if not better, when kept waiting, an advantage in the case of people whose disposition or occupation makes it difficult for them to be punctual at mealtime.”-Andre Simon

Love-that is all.


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10 Comments to

“Meet Bruce and Carol Dalgarno-Radical Hospitality”

  1. Avatar September 20th, 2012 at 10:04 am Jenn Dyck Says:

    Thank you so much Kathryne for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes. You are so very right about the term “radical hospitality” and will for ever change how I think about all the amazing hosts we had over the weekend.
    Be Well…Jenn

  2. Avatar September 20th, 2012 at 10:11 am Kathryne Says:

    More to come Jenn. I am bursting with blog posts from the weekend.

  3. Avatar September 20th, 2012 at 10:22 am Getty Stewart Says:

    Kathryn, I love your Musings! Well said.

  4. Avatar September 20th, 2012 at 10:29 am Kathryne Says:

    Thanks Getty-from a published cookbook writer, I take that as high praise!

  5. Avatar September 20th, 2012 at 1:20 pm Karen Dalgarno Says:

    Thank-you so much Kathryne! It brought tears to my eyes! (I’m sure Mom’s will tear up as well, when she reads it!) :-) The name of the friend who catered supper is Barb Cook, she’s from Minnedosa. I can’t wait to explore the rest of your musings, as well as everyone else’s from last weekend! :-)

  6. Avatar September 20th, 2012 at 4:50 pm Johanne Ross Says:

    Hi Kathryn! What a wonderful description of a special evening that brought us all down to earth. BTW, the caterer’s name is Barb Cook.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Avatar September 20th, 2012 at 11:27 pm Rebecca Says:

    That trifle. Oh, that trifle. I had THIRDS. I’ll be on a spin bike until mid-October, but it was so worth it.

    As the token vegetarian (lacto-ovo-pescitarian) in the group, I have to mention that the “secret special” protein was a lovely salmon filet with capers. Capers! In the field!

    It was a fitting start to a weekend of unbridled hospitality.

  8. Avatar September 21st, 2012 at 7:36 am Kathryne Says:

    Rebecca- could you please enlighten me on lacto-ovo-pescitarian?

  9. Avatar September 21st, 2012 at 2:45 pm Rebecca Says:

    Vegetarian plus eggs, dairy, and fish. I love to cook vegan, but I would never take it to that level. Not as long as there is cheese to eat.

  10. Avatar January 28th, 2013 at 1:23 pm Grey Owl 2013 | Winnipeg food blog Says:

    […] been set next to one of the Manitoba Recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal: Bruce Dalgarno and his wife Carol.  I have even had the pleasure of a field supper on their beautiful farm in Newdale, […]

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