Bigger and better was the underlying theme of the â€œWhole Hogâ€ long table dinner held at the Fraser Common Farm in Aldergrove on Sunday.
The second year of the chef-prepared dinner took on a new flavour with the addition of â€œCanTinaâ€ the shipping container turned outdoor kitchen.
One of the farmâ€™s residents, Mark Cormier, explained that everyone wanted to see CanTina functional in time for the feast, originally inspired by chef Chris Whittaker of Vancouverâ€™s Forage restaurant. Funds raised from the dinner will help to pay for CanTinaâ€™s arrival and set up.
â€œWe did this Forage event last year,â€ Cormier said. â€œThis year we worked really hard and sold out. The idea was to get CanTina up and running in time for the event.â€
The task was extensive with about a month of work to turn the shipping container into the outdoor kitchen facility which will allow for a greater number of events on the farm from kidâ€™s campouts to dinners like the Whole Hog long table dinner.
â€œWe have a blacksmith on site,â€ Cormier noted of the lionâ€™s share of work for the containerâ€™s conversion.
The blacksmith, Dustin Pritchard, managed the installation and refurbishing.
â€œIt is a little bit like any household human space,â€ Pritchard said. â€œIt has to be functional. There are several sort of formal functions that happen here every year.â€
Levelling the earth, laying foundational timbers, and designing all came before cutting the large holes in the container to allow for special awnings.
Itâ€™s a guarantee that CanTina will play a part in future events at the farm.
â€œWe plan to have it [the long table dinner] every year,â€ Cormier said.
Chef Chris Whittaker is no stranger to Fraser Common Farm and its food grown and sold under the Glorious Organics name. In addition to the Whole Hog event, he has worked at the farm and become a friend to those living and working there.
The Whole Hog name for the long table dinner came from Whittakerâ€™s use of the entire hog for the feast. Guests enjoyed both farm-fresh produce and various pork dishes along with wine from Backyard Vineyards and beer from R&B Brewing.
Music was provided by a trio during the guestsâ€™ arrival and included the talent of the farmâ€™s own Tallulah Winkelman. While the music played the sense of smell was easily engaged by Whittakerâ€™s barbeques.
Sights enjoyed were as varied as fields filled with vegetables and the numerous functional buildings around the farm. When it came to the sense of touch, guests were set to picking some of those vegetables to supply the feast.
By adding CanTina to the farmâ€™s amenities, Cormier feels it will continue to make the site more inviting.
â€œI guess one of the big things we want [as a result of the Whole Hog feast and other events] is for people to get to know our farm and see what we do,â€ he said. â€œWe want them to see what we do and how we do it. The farm is always open for visitors.â€
Cormier added that support from guests who attended the long table dinner as well as those like Whittaker who take an active role in the farmâ€™s health, is what keeps the farm team inspired.
â€œWe get to see people eating our food,â€ Cormier noted as a benefit of the dinner â€œWe donâ€™t see that with restaurants. This is opportunity to do that.â€