Red beets and sharp knives are to Agnes Seitz the pinnacle of fall produce and kitchen equipment, respectively.

As the recreation director for Mount Lorne, her penchant for good, wholesome food runs throughout the programs and events she organizes at the Lorne Mountain Community Centre. Cookies and scones may be served while old-timers in the valley tell their collected stories, or a buffet bulging with seasonal ingredients will be paired up with an entrée of local music.

A couple of years ago she noticed a consistent cohort among event-goers who took a real interest in the food. Realizing a shared passion, these household chefs began to meet informally to share in the experiential learning of cooking. Instead of showing up to enjoy prepared meals, apron-clad members arrive brandishing spoons, ready to roll up sleeves and expand culinary horizons in the company of friends. These meet-ups evolved into the Mount Lorne Foodie Club, and their inaugural event explored sourdough and a host of techniques all focused on baking bread.

“We were careful with the name,” says Seitz, “because ‘foodie’ can bring up extravagant, special stuff, and our focus is on good wholesome food, and sharing it with each other. Food has an important role in community; it’s something everybody deals with, something everybody likes regardless of where you come from, so it is an ideal focus for sharing. Following our bread-baking day a number of community members bought a grain mill in co-op with the community centre, and now they can come in at any time to grind their own grain.”

Other areas the club has explored are veggie burgers, curry paste and garam masala. The November focus is vegetarian food, with a menu of hazelnut spaetzle (a German fresh pasta) with Savoy cabbage, and red cabbage rolls with veggie stuffing topped with apple cranberry gravy.

Knowing Seitz’s background helps explain how she draws such a crowd to the humble out-of-town community centre.

She has spent much of her 20 years as a chef running her own businesses, both in her native Germany, where she ran and cooked for an organic health food store for 12 years, and in Whitehorse. Locals may remember the Cranberry Bistro, which earned quite a following during its five-year run. Her passion for food and community has not waned.

“My ideal foods to work with are local and organic, mostly vegetables for their amazing variety, their colours, their flavours – and if they come straight from the garden, even better,” says Seitz. “I can’t stand commercial meat, and eating mostly vegetarian with a bit of wild fish and game is the perfect way to eat in the North.”

INFOBOX

Headline: Mount Lorne Foodie Club in Brief

Who? Anyone keen on good food.

When? Next event takes place on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. and is called Herbivoracious: The art and joy of vegetarian cooking.

Where? Lorne Mountain Community Centre, km 1 Annie Lake Rd.

Cost? $15 per person.

There are a maximum of 15 participants, so to register, or be put on the mailing list for future events, call Agnes Seitz at 867-667-7083.