• Artisan SakeMaker

ASM July 2020 Issue

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

Welcome to the July 2020 issue of ASM Newsletter. In this issue, learn about a new rice research group that ASM is grateful to work with, things we have started with lessened restrictions, and tanabata festival traditions.

Rice Production

Rice research group eh?

No one had ever told me that there was a group of people in the Fraser Valley who had loads of experience in rice production, the kind that grows in Asia in paddies. You have seen beautiful pictures of rice paddies in magazines such as The National Geographic and from internet search. Well, they were certainly not Canadians born in Canada but immigrated within the last several years from east Asian country namely the Philippines.

I was able to meet one of them by chance through talking to a foreign farm worker working on site at EcoDairy farms in Abbotsford where our rice field is located.

Through a young hard-working young man who has a degree in animal science, I met his uncle Cris Ramento who is an agrologist in a nursery in the Fraser Valley. And within a week, through his introduction, I met three more well-qualified individuals whom I would call “Rice Scientists” all trained in the field of plant science in agriculture and worked in related fields of industry in their home land. They are all graduates of Central Luzon University that is the best agricultural university in the Philippines. Their combined studies span from Crop Science to Agronomy and Plant Breeding, and even to Rice Production Research and Breeding. What a wealth of talents have I been missing for the past decade!

This recent development has spurred me to quickly organize the group of researchers to conduct organic rice trials for this season. I am very excited to have them on board with us and afford us an opportunity to work together and advance rice production in the Fraser Valley for many years to come. It will make a positive impact on the research studies on rice production not only in BC but potentially across Canada when governments start recognizing the potential of agronomic advancement by adopting rice as Canada’s new field crop for food and other beneficial uses.

We will keep you posted on the development of our rice research ‘a la canadienne’ in the next issue.

Sake production

It’s finally June and we’re starting to feel that summer heat that makes us, as human beings, want to get outside, explore and recconnect. As COVID restrictions are lessening in many ways, we must remain safe as we ease back into our normal routine and begin to do things just a little bit more naturally. As the changes happen gradually we begin to realize all the small things we took for granted. Particularly, to name a few, a customer’s reaction to tasting Sake for the first time or that shared connection you have with a regular customer just returning to grab a bottle of their favourite Sake and say “Hello!”. As we reopen our tasting counter you’ll notice it’s not the usual setting but we are making it work so you can come in and still have an experience outside of your house, which a lot of us desperately need!

Changes you will notice:

-Trio tasting and 3oz pour are now available once again! with our Junmai, Genshu and Nigori Sake.

-New snack menu items!

-limited seating and a max amount of customers in the store at one time due to social distancing. Don’t let this deter you from coming down though, turnover is quick, as most people are looking to sit for a few moments, enjoy some Sake and a snack before they get back to exploring the rest of Granville Island.

-New Batch production beginning in July!!! hurray! fresh Sake is in our futures!

We’re working hard to stay open and bring back the Artisan Sake experience you know and love. Be patient with us, we want this as much as you do and trust me when I say we missed you.


Tanabata-Celebration of star crossed lovers on the evening of the seventh

Tanabata (七夕) festival is celebrated for two lovers represented by the stars Vega and Altair as they can only reunite once a year if the sky is clear.

Here is how the legend goes. Orihime (Vega), a talented weaver wove by the heavenly river day in and day out. She wasn’t quite happy with her life and despaired of ever finding her true love so her father, Tentai, an emperor of heaven, arranged her to meet Hikoboshi (Altair), a cow herder and a messenger.

The couple fell madly in love with each other and married soon after. Being newlywed, they were both happy with their perfect life- until they started neglecting their duties. Orihime stopped weaving and Hikoboshi let his cows wander around the heavens. This incurred Tentei, Orihime’s father, who decided that they must be separated by a river, that is, the Milky Way. Orihime was completely heartbroken, as her love is out of reach. She pleaded with her father to be able to meet Hikoboshi. Tentei loves his daughter very much and he felt remorse seeing her drown in her unhappiness, caused by separation from her beloved. Tentei then allowed the two innocent lovers to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month as long as they diligently fulfilled their duties. Orihime and Hikoboshi worked hard and waited until the 7th day of the 7th month. A little fun fact! Kanji for tanabata literally translates to seventh evening.

On the first day they were to be reunited, the two lovers found the Milky Way, a river too difficult to cross. They were devastated. Of not being able to reunite, all the hard work they have put in, and possibility of not being able to reunite forever. Orihime fell to her knees, and tears raced down her cheeks. She was so disheartened that a flock of magpies heard her crying and came to build a bridge with their wings. Magpies ensured that they would return each year to help reunite the two lovers as long as the sky was clear.

Around the Edo period, it became a common practice to write wishes on a colorful paper and hang them on bamboo branches. This is called tanzaku. Origami papers are often used to create colorful crafts including the Tanzaku paper. Bamboo represents one’s wishes being carried to heaven, as its propensity to grow tall and straight. It is also believed that bamboo protects rice crops by functioning as an insect repellent. This meant a lot for Japan, where rice is a crucial staple food.

Community-Burdock & Co.

Burdock & Co has been a local partner of Artisan Sakemaker since 2014. Chef & Owner Andrea Carlson seeks inspiration from BC’s tangle of islands and coastlines, sourcing ingredients from local farmers and foragers and presenting them in a fluid culinary experience. The Main Street eatery opened in May 2013 with a farm-to-table philosophy that quickly enchanted diners. The restaurant has earned a reputation as a pioneer of naturalist food and drink, recognized nationwide as a welcoming haven that encourages patrons to slow down, connect and linger over a shared meal.

Marrying professional service with a relaxed and approachable vibe, Burdock & Co showcases a constantly updated vegetable-forward menu that allows raw materials to shine. Chef Andrea has spent more than a decade building relationships with regional farmers and growers from whom she sources seasonal ingredients daily. Her cooking is vibrant, earthy and delicate, complemented by a careful selection of natural wines, craft beers and bespoke cocktails. Every aspect of Burdock & Co reflects Chef and her team’s commitment to respecting the land, employing artisanal techniques and enjoying simple and honest food.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Chef Andrea Carlson quickly pivoted to expand her CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program at her sister restaurant, Harvest Community Foods, to serve the community with weekly grocery pick-ups on Thursdays from 4-6pm; she also extended the CSA program to Burdock & Co in order to serve the Main Street neighbourhood. Sized for two and priced at $38, each bag is filled with fresh seasonal veggies and foods.

Burdock & Co patio, as well as in-door dining is open and available from Thursdays through Sundays 5pm-10pm. Reservations can be booked through the Burdock & Co website. *Patio dining will be weather dependent.

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