Tips and Tricks for Farm Meals: A Voice from the Farm Table

Meals in the Field

Alberta Harvest Field Meal | www.canolaeatwell.com

Preparing and taking meals to the field during harvest can be a challenge. Some farm women make it look effortless, but they will be the first to tell you lessons learned along the way helped them hone their skills.

They also advise it isn’t always the idyllic picture of everyone sitting around the makeshift table on the tailgate of a truck, a beautiful array of food spread out,  light breeze blowing, everyone happy, relaxed – and that’s okay.

Here are a few pointers from the voices of experience.

Food:

  • Become friends with your slow-cooker. Embrace stews, chili and casseroles. All-in-one-meals can incorporate each food group and are easy to transport.
  • Have a good stock of clean vegetables and fruit in the fridge for quick preparation.
  • Take advantage of rainy days to bake or make freezer-friendly meals.

Leaving Home:

  • Make a checklist, especially if you are travelling to a field several miles away. Food, drink, utensils, chairs etc.
  • Have a storage caddy filled with cutlery, napkins, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, cups and plates. Camping dishes are ideal to use if you have them.
  • Old towels make great insulators for keeping food warm. They absorb any spills and are easy to wash.

Getting there:

  • Ensure communication is clear. Exactly which field are they working in? Especially critical if it is early in your marriage when you aren’t familiar with each field’s “name”. “We’re on Bill’s”, or “At the McLeod farm”, may be meaningless to you, especially if Bill or the McLeods haven’t owned that land for several decades…Cell phones and road numbers have definitely aided in alleviating navigational struggles.
  • When swarms of mosquitoes and flies are abundant, it may seem genius to borrow your in-laws motor home to deliver supper. However, ensure you park on stable ground as getting said “kitchen-on-wheels” stuck is more a hindrance than help to harvest progress.

No time to stop:

  • Small coolers which hold both food and drink, makes for a quick and easy hand-off and eliminates spills.
  • Sandwiches and wraps are perfect for on-the-go eating. Just remember to advise if you have used toothpicks to help hold them together…
  • Quiche works too, either hot or cold, with a side of raw veggies and a bun or biscuit. “Real men don’t eat quiche” they say? Why argue when a simple name change will do?  Who can resist “Bacon & Egg Pie”?

A little preparation, communication, flexibility and sense of humour all help at this busy time of year.  May your harvest meals be made and delivered with ease, and any memorable moments shared and treasured for years to come.

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12 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks for Farm Meals: A Voice from the Farm Table

  1. “Some WOMEN make this look effortlessly?” Well, I guess I better get off the combine and into the kitchen judging by this article! Don’t get me wrong – a great meal in the field or after a long day just makes it all worth it, however being that is 2015 and not 1915, it’s time for the Canola Growers to join the 21st Century.

    1. We would be thrilled to hear what your operation does to juggle harvest meals and combine seat time so we can add it to our list of resources that we can share. In no way was our post meant to belittle any of the work women or men do on the farm to get the harvest off in a safe way, rather we were looking for ways to celebrate the harvest with our rural and urban followers. Thank you for posting your comment we appreciate it.

  2. Nothing like cold fried chicken, potato salad & buns , with iced tea & home-made apple pie. Remember these meals when out at hubby’s parents farm.

  3. Having fresh vegetables in the pantry ready to eat is half the battle of packing a nutritious meal! Since that’s already done, I’d get the slow cooker out and begin! A great hearty minestrone soup made with all the fresh veggies and basil, adding a some browned beef and macaroni. Now that it’s made and ready to go, it’ll stay warm on the way to the corn field. In my picnic basket I’ve packed some parmesan cheese for the soup and some home made fresh buns, extra bottles of water packed on ice, and some fruit of course from the orchard. There I’ll sit with my better half in the middle of the corn field having a wonderful meal and quality time where nobody can see us, talking about our day and crops and just enjoying each other’s company over the food we created! Doesn’t get any better than that!

  4. I love a hot stew from scratch, meat cubed and seared, carrots, potatoes, onions, parsnips in a hearty beef broth. Fresh hot biscuits from the oven. Ahhhh a cup of tea to top it off at the end of a meal , with some home made apple pie.

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