One of the most magical summer events takes place at Richmond’s Rabbit River Farms (17740 River Road) on September 8, 2019, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The Metro Vancouver Feast of Fields event is a glorious and delicious celebration of the harvest that encourages its 600 attendees to forge stronger connections with their local food system. With wine glasses and linen napkins in hand, guests roam around the fields, sampling the best that local restaurants and producers have to offer.
Since 1995, FarmFolk CityFolk has held annual Feast of Fields fundraisers in the Metro Vancouver region, the Okanagan Valley (August 11, 2019, at Caldwell Heritage Farm) and Vancouver Island (August 25, 2019, at Snowdon House Gourmet & Gifts). The not-for-profit society actively works to strengthen BC’s sustainable food systems, doing everything from supporting farms to educating consumers. This year marks the first time that the Metro Vancouver edition will be held at a farm in Richmond. Rabbit River Farms was chosen to showcase Richmond’s agriculture, as well as the pioneering work of owner Steve Easterbrook, who helped create the standards for organic egg certification in Canada.
“It’s a very authentic farm, which we felt would provide opportunities for folks to learn about organic free-range eggs,” explains Wendy Riches, Feast of Fields Events Manager, adding that many attendees probably already recognize and love the farm’s distinctive “pink and purple egg cartons.”
Easterbrook will be in attendance at the event, in addition to providing a tour of the farm to VIP guests. The chickens will also be grazing in their outdoor pens, allowing attendees to get a direct view of Rabbit River’s farming practices, which are premised on social responsibility, sustainability, and the humane treatment of its birds.
As a roaming gourmet event, attendees are invited to wander from tent to tent, sampling the food and drinks being served at each. The 29 food participants represent top restaurants, hotels, and food producers in the region. They include Royal Dinette, Tacomio, Whiskey Six BBQ, and Terra Breads, as well as Richmond’s own River Rock Casino Resort and the Fairmont Vancouver Airport.
Riches says their creations “must be sourced locally, be presented in a zero-waste way, and be bite-sized,” still leaving plenty of room for participants to dream up delectably unique items. Previous creations have ranged from pork belly cabbage cups with shiso and spicy koji mayonnaise to fermented beet paper with smoke and spice cheese, grapefruit mostarda, juniper, and black currant jam, and pickled radish pod.
New this year is an initiative called “Bring Your Own Farmer,” which encourages food stations to host farmers from whom they source so that attendees get in-person interaction with local food producers.
For pairing drinks with these food items, a wealth of wine, beer, distillery, and beverage companies will be in attendance, such as Blasted Church Vineyards, Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery, Parkside Brewery, Roots and Wings Distillery, and Silk Road Tea. In addition, Richmond brewery Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks will also be participating.
Musical acts Peter G-G and The Lollygaggers, and Ranj Singh will perform throughout the afternoon. There will also be a silent auction on-site for those wanting to take home a memento from the event.
Besides having a wonderful time, Riches recommends that guests wear sensible shoes and dress according to the weather (the event happens rain or shine). Because seating is limited, attendees can bring their own chairs for resting in between the roaming.
Tickets are $99 per adult, $45 per youth, and $15 per child (plus admin fees). New this year is a VIP ticket package ($250 per person plus admin fee, with a partial tax receipt available), which comes with priority access, food and beverages prepared exclusively for ticket holders in a private area, an opportunity to meet a local chef, concierge service from a Feast of Fields volunteer, a personal guided tour of the farm grounds, a commemorative Feast of Fields VIP gift bag (including a carton of Rabbit River Farms eggs), and a souvenir cedar plate.
All ticket holders can purchase round-trip transportation ($15 per person plus admin fee) on the Feast Bus, which leaves from the River Rock Casino Resort outside the Bridgeport SkyTrain Station.
Photos: FarmFolk CityFolk