The GOODS from Forage
Vancouver, BC | The BC bison industry is managed in a unique way here in BC and is undergoing some interesting changes. Turtle Valley Bison Ranch, Urban Digs Farm and the BC and Canadian Bison Associations are working together to put on an event that inspires producers and engages consumers in this sustainable industry.
The producer event takes place at Turtle Valley Ranch from June 3-5th in Chase, BC. Consumer workshops and a ranch tour take place on Saturday.
Everyone is invited to attend and can look forward to:
– workshops for producers and farmers with guest speakers from the Canadian Bison Association and the BC Ministry of Agriculture with a focus on adopting new technologies & philosophies in pasture management and raising animals in an environmentally sustainable manner.
– mouth-watering meals including a Friday BBQ and Saturday dinner- a big cookout with Forage’s own Chef Chris Whittaker.
– ranch tour and info session on the sustainable ranching practices being employed at Turtle Valley Ranch.
– update on the national Slow Meat movement with Slow Food Canada.
– discussion of the nutritional differences and benefits of bison meat.
– tips to ensure the very best results when cooking with bison from Chef Chris Whittaker.
– Camping is free at the ranch and other accommodations are available nearby (see list on web site). More information, tickets and registration is through Urban Digs Farm.
Turtle Valley Bison Ranch is a 5th generation ranch on 1200 acres in Chase BC. Rudi Schiebel and Laine Keyes, the owners of Turtle Valley Ranch, met playing junior hockey. Laine’s family has owned the ranch for 5 generations and after a few summers working for the family- Rudi jumped at the opportunity to buy half the ranch in 2013.
Rudi financed his half through Farm Credit Canada’s Young Farmers program. The ranch has a very sustainable farming focus. They believe the success of their farm is based on the health of the surrounding environment. They make choices for their farm that will better the land it’s on, and create a legacy of bison farming in BC for the long term.
Chef Chris Whittaker is the Executive Chef at the award-winning Forage on Robson Street. He recently opened up a second location next door called Timber. Both restaurants serve bison products from Turtle Valley Ranch. Chris Whittaker’s philosophy is simple: respect our land and water. Use local suppliers: small farms and wild food. Whittaker is an active partner and supporter of the Environmental Farm Plan, Ocean Wise, Eat Wild, Farm Folk/City Folk and numerous other tireless organizations all equally committed to promoting the sustainability of our food systems.
Urban Digs Farm brings responsible, whole animal butchery to the Lower Mainland. Co-founder Julia Smith raises heritage pork on pasture in the Nicola Valley and is excited to have partnered with Turtle Valley Ranch to add high quality, sustainably raised bison to their product line. Urban Digs offers free home delivery through their web store, or people can shop right at their urban farm in South Burnaby and at local farmers markets.
Bison farming, when managed appropriately, can actually contribute to the land the herds graze on instead of depleting it, building soil and sequestering carbon. In addition to the environmental benefits, bison cannot be mass produced in large commercial operations and only thrive when allowed to express their natural behaviours. Consumers are getting more involved with their food. They want to know where the meat they eat is coming from, how it was raised, and how to put it on their plate in the best way. In the face of climate change and a growing population, it is more important than ever that we ensure our local food security and that we do so in a way that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
Chris Whittaker | Executive Chef
Margot Baloro | Restaurant Manager
Matthew President | Assistant Restaurant Manager
Forage stands for everything I care about. It represents what I was taught about food preparation both when I was growing up and over the course of my career in the kitchen. To me Forage means that we no longer seek out excess and indulgence, but instead revisit a time when we respected the land and oceans and took only what we needed to survive. It is about being stewards of our land and true conservationists, as we conduct our business and live our lives. It is about goodness, about taking care of each other, and bringing together our community over good food. Our philosophy is a way of life as much as a way of doing business. Saving energy, conserving water, composting and local/responsible purchasing policies all make a positive contribution to our world and our company’s bottom line. Casual, comfortable and affordable, Forage celebrates all things BC. The menu is locally focused in both food and beverage; service is attentive yet never fussy, and its approachable West End location (1300 Robson Street beside The Listel Hotel) makes Forage a local’s locale. It’s an ideal destination for breakfast 7 days a week, brunch on weekends and nightly for drinks and dinner from 4pm.
Chris Whittaker, Executive Chef