Alberta Pantry

Alberta-grown processed meats direct from small family farms.

Four Whistle Farm

Marius and Twiggy De Boer’s farm east of Leduc produces several varieties of sausage from lamb, duck, chicken and pork. It’s not a constant supply, as it depends on what’s selling and the amount of trim they have to work with, so buy it when you see it. They also make a fine maple-smoked bacon. Their merguez is top-notch — the spicy Moroccan-influenced lamb sausage is delicious on its own or with couscous. The chicken apple sausage with dried apple is mild and tasty, ideal for stuffing a holiday bird, and the pork chipotle has sweet heat.

“McLean’s Meat in Wetaskiwin makes everything for us from our own recipes,” says Marius. “If we have enough duck trim, we make rosemary garlic or apple cranberry duck sausage.”

Find Four Whistle products at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market and on restaurant menus throughout Edmonton.

Irvings Farm Fresh

Nicola and Alan Irving started producing sausage in 2006. They make a wide variety of smoked and cured products including three kinds of bacon: British back bacon (not smoked), hickory smoked side bacon and jalapeño back bacon.

“The 11 different fresh sausage are all our own recipes,” says Nicola. “My favourite product of all is the sliced deli ham. We start with the whole leg, bone it out and end up with three large muscle pieces from each leg. We dry cure for 10 days, then net it and air dry in the smoker, then increase the temperature and cook it until fully cooked. We cool, slice and pack about eight slices to a bag, enough for a few days of lunches — labour intensive and absolutely delicious.

Find Irvings’ products at summer markets plus Old Strathcona, Wild Earth, Italian Centre, Careit Deli and on several restaurant menus around town. Check the Where to Eat/Where to Buy list on their website for the most recent locations.

Sunworks Organic Farm

“We started with the honey breakfast sausage. Now, about a quarter of our business is in sausage,” says Sheila Hamilton. “We make them all at the shop in Camrose from our own birds. There’s only eight grams of fat per link.”

They now make garlic rosemary, honey breakfast, Mettwurst (honey and mustard seed), chorizo, Italian teriyaki, plus sliced pepperoni, chicken breast and salami, a chicken hot dog and a smoky. They also make a beef sausage with Moroccan spice and pork bratwurst, chorizo and maple breakfast sausage.

“Sometimes we make a bison sausage and our turkey sausage is seasonal, fall and spring only.”

Find Sunworks products in their store in Blush Lane Market and at several farmers markets including Old Strathcona and the new U of A Thursday Market.

Hog Wild Specialties

Earl and Deb Hagman put wild boar on the map and the menu for most Albertans. We may not all want to participate in a boar hunt at their ranch near Mayerthorpe, but we do love the bacon. Jerky, smokies, bacon and frozen cuts are available direct, 1-888-668-9453. The bacon is stocked at Buffalo Valley Meats, and food service can order through Full Course Strategies.

Natures’ Green Acres

Jim Gebielhaus is making a beef sausage coil, a pork coil and breakfast links for Shannon and Danny Ruzicka at the small hands-on operation on his farm near Bruce. The breakfast link’s subtle seasoning showcases the flavour of the pork. The beef sausage is a bit bolder, salty and redolent with thyme and sage. Grill or fry as is, or crumble to use as part of the meat mixture in meat loaf or Bolognese sauce. The Italian pork sausage would be delicious sliced in a sandwich with arugula and melted provolone. Nature’s Green Acres sausage is available along with their pork and nouveau beef at the City Market until Thanksgiving, then indoors at City Hall from October 13.

La Abuela

We met Yvonne and her husband Gerardo at their charming west end restaurant Mexico Lindo several years ago, loved their food and have been following ever since. Last year, they shuttered the restaurant to concentrate on producing 100 per cent Alberta pork sausage full time. The savoury Spanish and Mexican-style sausage brand La Abuela is available at the Italian Centre, at several farmers markets and across Canada for food service.

The Mexican-style chorizo is made with pork, guajillo peppers and a mixture of spices and aromatics — perfect for huevos con chorizo, or chorizo con queso (with eggs or cheese). Spanish-style chorizo is made with pork, sweet paprika, chili peppers, garlic and red wine. Delicious grilled or in soups and stews.

The Spanish-style chistorra — made with pork, paprika, and garlic — is similar to chorizo, but longer and thinner. Delicious grilled, fried or in classic paella. The La Abuela website contains several excellent recipes for daily use and entertaining.

Check out farmers’ markets and quality meat counters for other made-in-Alberta meats.