For anyone who has lived on the prairie for any length of time, October means the end of the harvest, and a time to give thanks for all that the earth has provided for us. For many Manitoba farmers, this past summer has been one to remember. The hot dry weather we had this past summer has meant that many crops did not get the kind of moisture that they need.
Manitoba businesses that depend on local farmers to provide goods have also had to plan ahead for a fall season that may not provide the bounty that they are used to getting.
Tall Grass Bakery at the Forks Market and at 859 Westminster Avenue in Wolseley has been Manitoba’s premiere locally sourced, organic bakery for 30 years. For Tabitha Langel co-owner of Tall Grass Bakery, this summer has meant challenges. However, for Tabitha and the staff at Tall Grass Bakery they chose to look at a glass that is always half full, and be thankful for what they did receive from local farmers. “A lot of produce did not happen… but others did.” states Langel. “It is a time for gratitude for the goods that did grow, and a time to remember those farmers who did not have much luck at all.”
There were parts of Manitoba that did not get any rain at all, and this made the growing of the variety of heritage pumpkins challenging, but other pumpkin varieties did manage to grow such as the sugar pumpkin which means that the bakery will have lots of pumpkin for thanksgiving treats.
Tall Grass Bakery has just received an order of 1000 pounds of pumpkins, and have already been making pumpkin filled goods such, as pies, breads, and muffins. “The pumpkin pie has stayed very beloved… this year we are very grateful to have a few of the heritage pumpkins, but the sugar pumpkins came through, so we will make many pumpkin pies, muffins.” says Langel.
Other crops such as Kerr crab-apples, peppers, and tomatoes managed to do much better this summer, which means that the bakery will be able to use these items in their baking throughout the winter.
For Tall Grass Bakery, the making of bread is also an important way to give thanks. The Scottish tradition of making a loaf called Struan Micheil is observed at the bakery. Micheil refers to St. Michael who was the guardian of the harvest and head of all of the Arc Angels. The bread was originally made for an ancient festival that was held in Scotland to honor St. Michael. It contained all of the ingredients that were grown and used for the season.
“When you were giving thanks for this bread, you were giving thanks for the harvest, “states Langel. “I think in almost every culture bread is sacred, and is used in sacred ceremonies…communion is one of the ways we do that where we express peace to each other. And whether you are religious or not, I think it is especially important to share bread in peace together to get through COVID and this time of Truth and Reconciliation… to use bread that we acknowledge comes to us as a total gift from the earth and the creator… and to use that energy to work together for peace and good.”
Missed Chris Wolf’s conversation with Tabitha Langel form Tall Grass bakery?
Listen to it here: