Fast Food 

Hops and Crops returns

The Whistler Farmers’ Market annual Hops and Crops Festival is back for the long weekend, Aug. 4 and 5, featuring some of B.C.’s best microbreweries, a homegrown cooking exhibition that pairs local chefs with local organic farms, and two days of the farmers’ market.

Fourteen small breweries have signed on to the Brewmeister festival, almost double the number that participated in the first Hops and Crops last year. Two local brewpubs, the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Company in Squamish and the High Mountain Brewing Company (The BrewHouse) in Whistler, will be there, as well as a wide selection of beers from across the province. Participants are Okanagan Spring Brewery, Vancouver Island Brewing, Granville Island Brewing, Tree Brewing, Big Rock Brewery, Bear Brewing, Merridale Cider, Nelson Brewing, Shaftebury Brewing, R&B Brew Co., Prairie Steam Brew Bros., and Bowen Island / Whistler Brewing.

The beer tasting will take place on Saturday, Aug. 4, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $7, including a souvenir glass and three sample tickets. Additional sample tickets can be purchased for $1 each.

On Sunday, starting at 11 a.m. local chefs will pair with organic farmers to put on a cooking display. Each display is approximately 45 minutes, including a demo and a question and answer period with both the chef and the farmers present. After each display, participants will get a sample of the food and a copy of the recipe.

"All the chairs were filled for last year’s display, and we’re expecting a good crowd this year," says farmers’ market organizer Lovena Harvey. "It’s very popular. We’re basically taking fresh ingredients right from the market itself, and a professional chef will show you how to use those ingredients to make a gourmet meal."

The cost is $10 for a single cooking display, which includes a cloth farmers’ market bag, and $2 for any subsequent displays.

The first pairing, at 11 a.m., has Chef Bernard Casavant with Helmer’s Organic farm.

Chef Hans Stierli of the Aubergine Grill will pair with Bruce and Brenda Miller of the Across The Creek Organic Farm at 12:15 p.m.

Chef Vincent Sefano, the Executive Chef for the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, will pair with Trish and Jordan Sturdy of the North Arm Farm at 1:30.

At 2:45, Chef Grant Cousar of Whistler Cooks personal catering will pair with Margaret Moon and Mario Innes-Tores of the Moon Farm.

More farms and chefs wanted to participate, but there was only a limited amount of time to work with, says Harvey.

Restaurant receipts increasing

Restaurant, caterer and tavern receipts in the province increased 8.3 per cent in May, year-over-year, according to Statistics Canada. This marked the 16 th straight month in which revenues have risen. Drinking places in B.C. saw takings fall (-1.0 per cent) for the first time since December, but full- and limited-service restaurant receipts rose strongly (+10.9 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively). Nationally, restaurant, caterer and tavern receipts increased slightly more than in B.C., rising 8.6 per cent.

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