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Riverside Meats repeats as Lord of the (Sausage) Rings winner

Riverside Meats, a family-owned and operated meat processing firm in Corman Park near Warman, was crowned Lord of the (Sausage) Rings for the second year in a row at the third annual event in Osler on Thursday, November 9.

Eldon Wiebe of Riverside Meats with the Lord of the Rings championship trophy

In addition to winning the “Best Overall” championship, Riverside Meats also walked away with the awards for “Best Appearance” and Best Texture.”
The annual competition is designed to showcase the area’s Mennonite Farmers Sausage producers. A total of eight firms competed in the blind taste test, in which about 150 guests vote for their favourites.
Ideal Meats of Neuhorst won the award for “Best Flavour”, while Smokehaus Meats of Martensville won the “VIP award” for the second year in a row. The VIP Award is based on the votes of a panel of media representatives and mayors of area communities.
Firms competing in the competition also included: Carmen Corner Meats of Waldheim, J&J Sausage of Warman, Pine View Farms of Corman Park near Osler, Smokey Joe’s Meat Shop of Rheinland and Valley Meats of Gruenthal. Continue reading “Riverside Meats repeats as Lord of the (Sausage) Rings winner”

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Lord of the (Sausage) Rings returns to Osler

Who makes the best Mennonite Farmers Sausage in the area?
The question will be decided on Thursday, November 9 in Osler, when that community hosts the third annual “Lord of the (Sausage) Rings” competition.

The best Mennonite Farmers Sausage in the area will be judged at the Lord of the (Sausage) Rings competition in Osler on November 9

Eight area producers will vie for the crown, including last year’s overall champion, Riverside Meats. Other competitors include J&J Sausage, Pine View Farms, Smokey Joe’s Carmen Corner Meats, Valley Meats, Ideal Meats and Smokehaus.
The event is designed to raise funds for recreational programs and facilities in the town of Osler, according to Ben Buhler, a former Osler Mayor and one of the main organizers of the competition. Continue reading “Lord of the (Sausage) Rings returns to Osler”

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More of Saskatchewan coming to local food table

Traceability - knowing how your food was grown and handled - is key to the local food movement. Lyle Stucky pits cherries at his Anna's Orchard just west of Osler.
Traceability – knowing how your food was grown and handled – is key to the local food movement. Lyle Stucky pits cherries at his Anna’s Orchard just west of Osler.

Locavores in the province are making themselves heard and increasingly, food producers in Saskatchewan are listening. More of them want a seat at the local food movement table.

Recently, former Osler Mayor Ben Buhler was invited to speak at a Regina conference about the Food Node being developed in the Osler area. The “Agriculture and Agribusiness: From the Earth to the Table” conference was organized by the Economic Forum of the Conseil economique et cooperative de la Saskatchewan from October 14 to 16.

“At the end of the conference, all the presenters had their own tables and we had so many people that were so interested,” said Buhler. Some were interested in how they could do something similar in their own community and some joked about moving to the Osler area because of how much fresh food is available. And there’s proof interest in the immediate area as well. “We know there’s interest from people coming out already,” said Buhler.

The Saskatoon Food Council is partnering with the Osler project as well as the RM of Corman Park. Rebecca Row, planning director at the RM said other areas, like Valley Road, west and south of the city, would be very suitable for a food node with the number of growers already there, a boutique distillery and options for recreation. Some of the producers at the Regina conference were from St. Denis, which also has a food node.

Food nodes can be quite a draw for tourists. Other provinces like British Columbia and Ontario have been on this page for some time. Saskatchewan may be arriving a little late to the local food table.

“British Columbia is more creative that way. Saskatchewan is a little behind,” said Buhler. But the mood is shifting. While the province does a great job of feeding the world, he says more people are asking, “why are we shipping our products away?”

A roundtable discussion at the Regina conference pondered what is the value of the local market, what is the role of the urban consumer and what are the benefits to the vendors and to urban centres.

Buhler sees much value and benefit in the local food market. “I love to see local producers do well. I think it’s so unique that I can drive within just five miles and get whatever food I want right off the farm.” He’s talking about vegetable growers, a fruit orchard, honey producers that produce 1000 barrels a year, a number of sausage and other meat producers and dairy producers. “It’s such good tasting food!”

He said LB Distillers came to them and said they’d love to come on down, if Osler has a spot for

Another decision Osler area food producers need to make is whether to have a storefront on their property or not. Buhler says while many aren't currently planning for that, they do want people to come out and visit their farms. Fortunately producers have options like the new FG Market in Osler and the Farmyard Market (seen here) on Highway 12.
Another decision Osler area food producers need to make is whether to have a storefront on their property or not. Buhler says while many aren’t currently planning for that, they do want people to come out and visit their farms. Fortunately producers have options like the new FG Market in Osler and the Farmyard Market (seen here) on Highway 12 for possible retail opportunities.

them. The community plan has 100 acres set aside for companies that would like to come in and establish in the community. “If we already had it incorporated and annexed and had the infrastructure to go with that, then of course LB probably would have been within our community already.” One those details are in place, the expectation is to sell property to allow the Osler local food to expand. A food map is being refined and nearing completion.

“When you find something unique to a town, maybe that’s our calling. Lets at least give it a chance. Let’s enhance it and see where it goes,” Buhler said. Given all the dairy producers in the area, Buhler is surprised there’s no cheese producer, something he’d like to see included.

Another benefit is keeping dollars within local communities. “Food purchases are one of the biggest dollar leakages out of local economies,” Buhler told the conference. “Keeping those dollars at home generates spending in rural areas, spawns businesses and increases the tax base. The benefits of supporting locally owned businesses are vast.”

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