A Farm Family Harvest Celebration

Take Time to Celebrate with Food

Thanks to Roberta for sharing her Be Well Story (below) about her family and friends who helped in completing the harvest this past fall.   Time was taken to celebrate, reconnect and appreciate the hard work that everyone did to get the crop in!

Enjoy this hearty dish and think about how many farm hands played a role in growing and raising the ingredients.  Share with us your harvest stories, memories or questions.  We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Sweet Potato Shepherds’ Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie | www.canolaeatwell.com

Bottom Layer Ingredients:

1 lbs extra lean ground beef (500 g)
1 Tbsp canola oil (15 mL)
1 small onion, diced (1 )
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 )
1 medium carrot, chopped (1 )
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (2 )
1/8 tsp hot sauce (0.5 mL)
1/4 tsp pepper (1 mL)
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour (15 mL)
1 1/4 cup low sodium beef broth (300 mL)

Vegetable Layer Ingredients:

2 cups frozen corn or mixed vegetables (500 mL)

Sweet Potato Topping Ingredients:

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (4 )
1 large Russet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (1 )
1/4 cup chopped chives (60 mL)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (30 mL)
1 Tbsp canola oil (15 mL)
1/4 pepper (1 mL)


In a large non-stick skillet, add beef and cook over medium heat until browned and juices run clear. Remove from pan, drain off remaining fat and set aside.

Add canola oil, onion, garlic, carrot and celery to frying pan and cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Season with hot sauce and pepper. Stir flour into the mixture until well combined. Stir in cooked beef and broth. Continue to cook until mixture is hot and thickens, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot cook sweet and Russet potatoes in boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer meat mixture to a large 8 cup (2 L) oiled casserole dish. Spread corn over top. Mash potatoes and add chives, parsley, canola oil and pepper. Spread over corn.

Bake at 325°F (160°C) for about 40 – 45 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: About 1 cup/250 mL Calories: 220
Cholesterol: 35 mg Total Fat: 7 g
Carbohydrates: 25 g Fibre: 4 g
Protein: 16 g Saturated Fat: 1 g
Sodium: 105 mg

Roberta’s Harvest Story

We had our Harvest supper to celebrate all the hard work that everyone did to get the crop in.  This was our crew this year.  I did the math and the average age of the crew was 49.5 years young!  It was a PILE of work and we are still drying and moving grain for other farmers and ourselves but we have lots of laughs and good times amongst all the long hours and challenges that come along.

A Farmer, a Baker, a Candlestick Maker

Farm Family Harvest 2013 | www.canolaeatwell.com

Left to Right: Neil (husband), Nelson, Jason (son), Ewan, Ryan (son) , Larry, Bob (dad)

I am proud that we have three generations working on this farm and a few other characters that join us.  The fellow standing beside my husband Neil is Nelson.  He and his wife Wilma sold us our farm 24 years ago and we have continued to rent a quarter from them since then.

Farm Family Hands | www.canolarecipes.caThe short fellow in the back is Ewan and he is originally from Scotland and came here a number of years ago and stayed.  He and his wife farm down the road from us but he has worked for us part time during seeding and harvest for several years.

The fellow beside my dad is Larry a semi-retired trucker that lives down the road and who we miraculously picked up this year and we just love having him around.  He is incredibly handy mechanically and our son Ryan and him just have hit it off.

Then there is my dad of course, the patriarch of the clan at 76.  The boys and Neil of course get a real kick out of these dudes and in stressful times they sometimes are the ones that diffuse a tense situation.

For our boys they are learning a lot about team work, multigenerational work crews and of course all the stories that come along from years past.  Neil and Ryan manage a pretty great crew with efficiency, humor and decisiveness which is appreciated by everyone.

But where are the women?

Mom and I were not part of this picture but we of course play an integral role in keeping the crew fed, watered and running for parts etc.  Mom pinch hits for me during times when my job crosses over into harvest meal times, but for the most part we manage to juggle most days around my schedule.  I tease the guys that the only time they want me to run a combine is at night when everyone else has been sent home!

Yields of a lifetime

Combine Harvest | www.canolaeatwell.com

We will likely never see yields like this year again in our life time so it was really neat to have this crew together and hear their comments.  Some days I just had an ear tuned into the radio as the guys chatted about yields  that their dads would have taken off and the size of equipment that they used back then.  Quite endearing.

We are a proud family farm

I wanted to share my story, in this day and age when the Agriculture industry is bombarded with negative comments on how and what we farm.  This is my family and this crew this is the real side of the business of farming.  We are a family farm and proudly growing what we choose!

Be Well…Roberta

Roberta in canola field | www.canolaeatwell.comRoberta is passionate about Agriculture and the family farm that was homesteaded by her family in 1876. 

She is a 5th generation farmer who is concerned about the sustainable use of land and water resources and the management of these resources for the production of food. 

She enjoys the change of the seasons, the rhythm of farm life and spending time outdoors. 

When she is not working on the farm or in her role as Member Relations Coordinator for MCGA she can be found checking off one of the items on her “bucket list”.

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