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On Bitterroots and TV Shoots

On Monday farmersdotter and I hosted the crew from Quest OutWest’s “Wild Food”. The programme observes the four food chiefs; Bear, Salmon, Saskatoon Berry, and Bitterroot, and explores the varieties, heritage, cultivation and preparation of each. Our focus was on bitterroot, representative of all root vegetables and in our case garlic.

The project began as the brain child of series host Tracey Kim Bonneau


Tracey Kim Bonneau
Tracey Kim Bonneau

…and is now in production for release on the APTN Network next year. The programme is about Aboriginal foods and their place in history, culture and modern times and intends to weave together threads about growing up Okanagan, family, community, culture and health.


The day began with the arrival of the crew at 8:00am who then promptly set about the task of preparing for the first scene.

Exterior Setup
Exterior Setup

Weather conditions for the most part were favourable for the exterior scenes and of course the interior scenes which took place in the bakery held few challenges, at least the crew made it look very easy.

Bakery Setup
Bakery Setup

Topics varied from the psychological trauma experienced in confronting an elderly cow in a root cellar to land stewardship. Who’d have thought all that from root veggies?

The shoot culminated with a wonderful root vegetable nicoise with tuna expertly prepared by culinary consultant Scot Roger.

Scot Roger
Scot Roger
Root Vegetable Nicoise Salad
Root Vegetable Nicoise Salad

farmersdotter and I want to thank the whole crew of Wild Food for a wonderful and informative experience. In particular producers Suzan Derkson and Darlene Choo and director Richard Flower who pulled everything together with calm and grace. Cheers!

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Rolling Mural


Bruno & Laura from Panama en route to Argentina in their Costa Rican van which is a rolling mural project in progress. Yeah. Well, thats their story and they’re sticking to it. Find out more from Pinceladas de Latino


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Tulum Beaches in Brief

View north from ZaZilKin with ruins in the distance. 20140220-163729.jpg

We briefly explored the beach from the Tulum ruins south for about 15 kilometres. About 4 kilometres south of Tulum highway 109 rejoins the coast and intersects with the beach road at the new Tourist Police Station. To stay the course south on 109 you encounter several very good and some very expensive beach clubs. If you want to go full gringo this is a good area to explore. Lots of amenities and kite surfing. One day we would like to continue the 60 or so kilometres further down 109 to Punta Allen which we understand is a delightful coastal town.

At the Tourist Police Station should you decide to head north onto the beach road towards the ruins there is an expanse of over 2 kilometres of wonderful and mostly public beach. Here there are a handful of private beach clubs. Some clubs require your patronage and some request maybe you purchase a cerveza. It really depends on wether you want to use their beach loungers or not.

We choose instead to lay upon our sarongs, take a picnic lunch and beverages. The only issue is you want relief from the sun and who doesn’t enjoy the breeze under the shade of a palm. But this will necessitate the use of a beach club. As long as we purchase a couple of drinks the beach club we use is content to let us be.

We relax at ZaZilKin. Lots of palms, very secure and between noon and 3:00pm they offer 2 for 1 happy hour. Two drinks will cost $60.00 pesos and cerveza is $25.00 pesos.

From anywhere along this beach one can snorkel the reefs, kite surf, enjoy good food with live music. Relaxing and fabulous swimming. Never crowded and so far very secure and safe.

One small but important beach culture thing we learned straight off is never take a beach towel to the beach. They are bulky and hold too much sand when wet. Sarongs take up a fifth of the space and weight, dry instantly and are larger to boot.

You’ll be thankful too when it comes laundry time because you pay by weight at the lavenderia and with the humidity in Tulum a wet beach towel rarely dries thoroughly.

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Gin and Juice Baby


What does one do with all that duty free gin? Why gin and juice of course.

Risking the breaking point of our carry-on bag’s zipper we stuffed as much duty free 40% into it as humanly possible. After arrival we carefully unburdened the weighty tote of its’ precious cargo. Bombay Sapphire. I dare say If its good enough for the Queen then its all righty-ho by me.

The challenge is how one conveniently and efficiently transports chilled el coctels to the beach. Well mi amigos the challenge has been met. Game, set, and match.

For this you will need an insulated tote bag with a closing zipper. Ours is from Community Natural Foods in Calgary and is about the volume of a plastic shopping bag. Fits nicely into the basket of a bike.


Fill four empty single serving sized plastic water bottles with potable water and freeze over night.

Take two additional empty water bottles, as large as will fit into your insulated beach bag and pour a liberal amount of gin, vodka or whatever grain alcohol tickles your fancy into each bottle. Reserve room enough to add the juice mix.

For the mix we prefer jugo de toronja, grapefruit juice, or jugo de naranja, orange juice. Fresh squeezed juices are readily available in Tulum and will cost about $25.00 pesos a litre for grapefruit juice and $20.00 pesos a litre for orange juice.

Once you have the mix to your liking place these bottles in the freezer overnight.

Yield: two fun filled suckies of fun.

By now you gather where this is headed.

The next morning you will wake up and like a kid at Christmas you will behold the joy when you open the freezer to reveal two perfect slushy cocktails. With enough alcohol the contents will freeze to a slush and not rock hard. So one could enjoy these straight off. But wait.

Just before you head out to the beach place the four frozen water bottles along side the two ‘juice’ bottles into the beach bag. The frozen water bottles will keep everything nice and cold for up to four hours.

There will be additional space in the beach bag to add some sandwich fillers. Lunch and refreshments. Cool, tidy and good to go.

The side benefit is as the ice melts in the water bottles one has agua enough to rehydrate.


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Would You Like Tortillas With That?

To consume a meal in Mexico without corn tortillas is rare. Tortillas are plentiful and cheap. Chances are anything made with a corn ingredient anywhere in the world is made from GMO corn. No getting around it. Nasty stuff but there you have it.

farmersdotter and I vote with our wallet and prefer to support organics and the local fair trade economy. One does the best one can.

That being said you can purchase a kilo of fresh tortillas anywhere in Tulum for about $9.40 pesos and you can by a wheat flour bun for $1.20 pesos or ten cents each.

Either way that is high carb cheapness. Seeing how we are all about the gluten and not GMO we choose to buy fresh leavened buns every day from the mercado or the street vendors who parade the streets on bikes or motos all day and night.

Pollo asado al carbon or BBQ chicken is available everywhere in Tulum from vendors on the main avenue to private stands that spill out onto the street. The private family run operations are easily equal to the store front ones. Pork, beef and seafood are plentiful as well.

From about 8 am until well into the evening Grandma and the grand kids will be slapping whole split birds onto the grill to satisfy eager street dwelling carnivores. Each morsel flavoured with the families own unique rub. Always good and always moist.

One taste of these home grilled pieces of juicy goodness and you know these aren’t Tyson’s over injected chemical monster birds that can’t stand on their own two boney feet. These are dense meat birds. A meal that can easily feed two to four comes complete with sides of rice, slaw, hot sauce, peppers, pasta and of course tortillas. We ask our purveyor to skip the tortillas and substitute a little more rice.

A whole pollo meal will cost 100 to 130 pesos depending wether you dine in or take away. We found one delicious pollo place in a nearby colonia that offers a two for one take away deal every Sunday. Holy crap. Why would one cook at home?

To make this two for one deal work within our ‘prepare meals at home’ budget we combine all the ingredients in a bowl.


Remove the meat from the bone and place in the mixing bowl.

Add the sides; slaw, pasta, rice and hot stuff to taste. To this we also add fresh chopped tomato, and cucumber.


Divide the mixture in half. One half you keep in the fridge to use in the first few days. Simply add mayo and mustard to make this a great sandwich mix.

The second half you will freeze without the mayo and mustard for later use.

Add the cost of a bun, fresh veg and condiments you have 10 tasty meals for under $1.25 CDN each.

Take that to the beach!