Angie Quaale can now add published author to the many titles the Langley gourmet food store owner has held.
A vocal champion of the farm-to-table movement has taken her passion for food — and the dedicated men and women who produce it — and made a four-seasons sampling guide to all the bounty the Fraser Valley has to offer.
More than 70 locally-inspired recipes and 100 culinary destinations are featured in the book, which is not only a celebration of Quaale’s passion for local food and community, but also a way to connect us to the farmers, producers and chefs that bring food to our tables each day.
In a “Neighbors” chapter, several Surrey place-inspired recipes are featured in the 264-page book, including Rondriso Farms General Store and Pumpkin Patch (a purple onion soup), Central City Brewers and Distillers (baked beans with Red Racer copper ale), Hazelmere Organic Farm (Brussels sprout caesar salad), Mary’s Garden (butter-braised radishes) and Zaklan Heritage Farm (tomato sauce/soup, with creamy garlic scape dip).
“It took 18 months to create this book. I’m so excited to finally see the finished product and I’m really happy with it,” Quaale said before the book launch on May 6. “I hope the producers are happy with how I told their stories. There are a few in the book that don’t even know they are featured.”
The intent of the book is to celebrate the people and food they produce right here in the Fraser Valley.
“My hope is that people leave the book in their car and use it as their guide to go on day trips, exploring farms and wineries and restaurants from all over the Fraser Valley,” she said.
“Spend a day touring Abbotsford or use the guide book to do a wine or beer crawl. Find your next favourite spot to have a picnic, to buy your produce or get your fish or meats.”
And what better way to launch it than to have food and recipes from the book served at the party.
It was a full house at the book-release event at Quaale’s Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store. Several chefs featured in the book attended, including Ignite Café’s Dan Trites, who served up the recipe he has featured in the book. Also in attendance at the launch was the book’s photographer, Ric Ernst, and illustrator Kate Slater.
Random House Publishing approached Quaale about writing the book.
Knowing her connections in the food industry and her passion for promoting eat local, they felt Quaale was the best person for the vision they had to celebrate food being made in the Fraser Valley.
“It was a crazy time in my life when Random House approached me. I had only been a councillor at the Township for a little while and had just moved my store to its new location six months prior. But then I thought, ‘how could I not take this opportunity?”
It was really important to Quaale that the book explore all four seasons of growing from root vegetables in fall to blueberries in summer.
Some of her favorite stories to tell in the book came out of Langley. Like the story of Peter Breederland, the agricultural pioneer who took a risk and became the first in Canada to grow gojiberries in Aldergrove.
Her favourite photo in the book is of two cranberry farmers in Fort Langley.
Her favourite recipes in the book are ones passed on from generation to generation, like that of Sandee Krause’s birds’ nest cookies. The recipe for the cookies, which are filled with homemade jam, was shared with her by her grandmother. She now makes them for her kids and grandkids and sells them at the Krause Farms’ bakery at Christmas time.
“It’s these kind of connections with food that simply make us feel good,” Quaale said.
All 70 recipes are “old school family recipes that anyone can make, with easy ingredients,” she notes.
Some personal touches in the book include a painting her mother made of colourful cartoon-like produce.
“Food brings people together. That’s how I grew up. My family always sat down at the table every night for dinner. That’s when we communicated. My mom didn’t always serve a fancy meal. Sometimes it was just grilled cheese.”
So, Quaale says, break some bread and connect through food.If there is one message she wants to get out through the book, it is the difference it makes to a farmer when you buy directly from them.
“Farmers don’t do what they do to get rich. They work super hard and do what they love. So when you buy local from a farmer you are supporting their family. People need to understand the power in their purchases.”