Bacon Fest: Was hosted in Burnaby on International Bacon Day, also known as Saturday, August 30th at this local urban farm called Urban Digs Farm. First a little bit about this farm, I subscribe to a weekly CSA called Farm City Coop where each week you get a selection of veggies and greens (aka hippie food) that are grown locally by urban farmers within the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley Vancouver area. Urban Digs happens to be one of the contributing farms towards this Coop, so naturally I started following them on twitter and found out about this Bacon Fest event they were hosting. Besides growing some produce, they offer pig shares, they sell free range chickens, eggs, and host a farm market on Thursdays and Saturdays. All in all it is an interesting little farm and a neat example of Urban farming near the city, be sure to check them out when you are in South Burnaby or New Westminster. Anyway, I thought what better place to spend International Bacon Day than an event called Bacon Fest right?
My Overall Impression: Honestly, it was kind of a cool and unique smaller event that had some good things going for it beyond just the bacon. First off they had some excellent beer from Steel & Oak and Dageraad, both of which I have reviewed on this site (see BC Craft Beer Reviews). They also did offer wine, lemonade and apple juice for any non craft beer fans or under age attendees. The seating under the House of Bacon tent was farm themed – being canvass covered hay stacks – the music was folksy with some Johnny Cash and other classics in there, the main dish was provided by Re-Up BBQ, and the desserts by Aphrodite’s Organic Cafe & Pie Shop. They also had some fruits, coffees and other snacks were being sold at their usual market. Finally to entertain the children there were pigs, goats, chickens and a tent full of hay that I dubbed it the tent of cheers and tears since about every 2-3 minutes some one in there was either cheering or tearing up. That’s right a tent for the kids to throw hay around, wrestle in hay, jump around in it and well basically get covered in it, what kid could resist that!
Cost of Event & Value For Money: Very good, it was $10 per adult admission and kids were free. The adult admission included a drink which was priced at $5 at the bar cart, which was our first stop of the event. A basic meal was $10, each five dollar ticket going towards the meat or a choice of two sides (as seen above). Lemonades, juices and desserts were $3.50 each and all the other stuff was provides (plates, napkins, music, etc). We spent about $50 here, that covered two plates, four adult beverages, two kids beverages and three desserts – try getting two quality meals, four drinks and dessert for less than $50 in Vancouver, it isn’t going to happen! If anything, in the spirit of urban farming, I doubt this was much of a money maker for them if at all. That being said, it was a great advertisement for their farm as well and they’ll likely be getting a lot of future business from me.
Best in Show: While the pork belly seemed to be a hit amongst many, oddly enough I don’t particularly love pork belly unless it is sliced into bacon and it can be a bit less meaty than most bacon slides. I personally was super impressed with the Bacon Pecan Pie from Aphrodite’s and the biscuits with honey butter from Re-Up BBQ. Of course the Dageraad Amber beer was nice as well, they had a peach reduction that they put in the Steel & Oak Radler that was uniquely tasty way to make that particular beer cocktail. Honestly though all the food was top notch with a slightly hidden gem in the heirloom beet salad that was a great choice in sides for those who like purple foods.
Highlights of the Event: A couple other highlights come to mind that go beyond the food and beer. First of all, they had baby chicks there in a heated bin that were only like a week old so naturally all the kids really enjoyed going and seeing them at least a couple of times when they opened the door for a few minutes. Second, they had over ripe bananas and avocados out for anyone to feed the pigs with which again was a huge hit for kids and adults alike. Finally, the aforementioned tent of cheers and tears was a good 30 minutes of fun for a kid that was usually followed by 10 minutes of picking hay out of your kids hair, boots pants and so on for the adults. The whole farm feel, local food, folksy music, bacon theme and farm market made for a nice way to spend a couple hours on International Bacon Day. We also dressed the kids up for the occasion, because well bacon that’s why!
Disappointments: Only really one in that I think it needed a bit more bacon. The main dish meats were pork sausage or pork belly (which is bacon really) and as mentioned the desserts were full of bacon, but that’s about it for the bacon themed food unless you count the living bacon walking around at the farm. Now if you know me well enough, I have a “More Cowbell” attitude towards bacon so I could have gone for some more and more of that lovely salty fatty meat goodness that is bacon. Suggestions for next year include bacon bowls for salads, Caesars with bacon straws, grilled bacon and peach skewers, bacon wrapped hot dogs and of course bacon chocolate chip cookies – I offer my planning assistance next year if you are interested, these are just preliminary ideas. Now, considering the event was a bit small and essentially free to get in once you factor in the free drink I was pretty happy with it and would gladly go back for sure, just you know more bacon is never a bad thing!
Other Pictures of the Event: