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A blueberry sauce rich in flavour and rooted in tradition

May 6, 2021

This past November, Roxanne Kent joined the Prairie Research Kitchen team as the Indigenous Research Assistant, where she uses her acquired culinary skills to support product development projects. Roxanne graduated Culinary Arts in February 2021 with honours and won various awards, including one for a recipe she developed for Manitoba Pork Producers. She is currently working on an individual research project highlighting indigenous and local ingredients. 

“I was asked to create a recipe for something to share with guests at the Prairie Research Kitchen. I knew I could come up with pretty much anything, so it was hard to narrow it down. I finally decided on creating a blueberry sauce,” said Roxanne.

Initially, she was thinking about potentially creating crackers or chips as whatever she made had to be shelf stable. Roxanne decided to build off the mustard she had previously created, to develop a rich, flavourful blueberry sauce. 

While developing the recipe, Roxanne wanted something that would pair well with gamey meats such as bison, duck, and venison, or could be used to top toast and pancakes. The recipe features wild blueberries, a blend of birch and maple syrup for sweetness, and an infusion of sweetgrass.

“Sweetgrass is used as traditional medicine but has also been used as tea or in a marinade. I worked with Research Chef, Kyle Andreasen, to get his perspective on how to incorporate this ingredient. We first toasted the sweetgrass, then steeped it in vinegar.”

Wild rice medley, sautéed heirloom carrots, seared duck breast topped with Wenoodizii Magan Miinan Apagajiganan wild blueberry sauce.

After developing and finalizing the recipe, it came time to give the blueberry sauce a name. The name is connected to Roxanne’s lineage – she is Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in northwestern, Ontario. In Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) the name of Roxanne’s blueberry sauce, Wenoodizii Magan Miinan Apagajiganan, means: ”The rich flavour of blueberry that you can put on top of something.” 

This name was selected by Corey Ralph Whitford, instructor, Indigenous Language, School of Indigenous Education at RRC. 


Listen to the audio recording to learn how to pronounce Wenoodizii Magan Miinan Apagajiganan.

Roxanne prepared an initial sampling of her sauce with meatballs for Corey. After finalizing the recipe, she served the sauce with a duck dish to help him experience the flavour.

“Jamie Chahine, Indigenous Research Liaison at the Research Kitchen, brought me tobacco and asked if I would help select the name for Roxanne’s blueberry sauce. Experiencing the flavour helped inform how it would be best described in the Anishinaabemowin language,” said Corey. “Forty-five years of language and memories of dipping bannock in jam and sauce with my grandmother came together in naming this sauce.”

Food is often part of a larger experience, helping connect people and foster community. 

Connecting with community is especially important to Roxanne. In addition to a Culinary Arts diploma, she obtained a social work degree in 2015. One of her long-term goals is to work with low-income families and teach them how to cook nutritious meals. She enjoys the challenges of creating and developing new recipes, and finds it rewarding to be able to apply what she has learned in her craft.

Learn more about Roxanne’s craft, her blueberry sauce, and other projects she’s worked on with the Prairie Research Kitchen during the Indigenous Food Business Stories webinar on May 12.

Wenoodizii Magan Miinan Apagajiganan Food Pairings

Roxanne’s wild blueberry sauce makes for a versatile topping with many savoury and sweet applications. She recommends pairing with gamey meats such as bison, duck, and venison, or pork chops. For sweet pairings, she suggests topping bannock or ice cream.

More Information

Ingredients

Wild blueberries, sugars (cane sugar, Canadian birch syrup, maple syrup, maltodextrin), vinegar, pectin, sweetgrass, salt, sage.

Nutrition Facts

Per 2 tablespoons (24 g)

Calories 35% Daily Value*
Fat 0 g
Saturated 0 g
+Trans 0g
0%
Carbohydrate 8 g
Fibre 1 g
Sugar 6 g

4%
6%
Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 20 mg1%
Potassium 20 mg1%
Calcium 10 mg1%
Iron 0.1 mg1%
*5% or less is a little, 15% or more is a lot.

Community through cuisine: Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen hosts Indigenous food business stories webinar

April 22, 2021

Food and story-telling has always brought people together. The Prairie Research Kitchen is creating a community environment for Indigenous stories and food science to blend and grow. On May 12 from 9 am – 12 pm, the Prairie Research Kitchen will host an Indigenous Food Business Stories webinar to foster discussion and relationship building in the food entrepreneur community.  

Community and economic development representatives, aspiring researchers, and entrepreneurs are invited to this discussion on food product development stories from Indigenous business leaders and to learn how the Prairie Research Kitchen can help as a product development resource. Participants will hear stories and lessons learned from Indigenous food entrepreneurs who have been through similar journeys. There will also be an opportunity to hear about exciting food business opportunities across Turtle Island (North Americafrom Andi Murphy of Toasted Sister, a podcast focused on Indigenous food and entrepreneurship.

The Prairie Research Kitchen at Red River College is a Technology Access Centre available to all food businesses and entrepreneurs who want to engage in food related applied research and product development. The team of food scientists and culinary experts work with companies to create new, safe food products for sale. These products can be consumer packaged goods, ingredients or extracts to be used by other food producers, or ingredients or foods used by food service businesses. 

In 2020, the Prairie Research Kitchen began outreach to Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs to encourage and support the development of food ventures. Outreach activities are part of the College’s commitment to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action with respect to eliminating educational and employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.  

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action call upon every industry and person in Canada to create the changes required for reconciliation, equitable opportunities for access and growth, and to further the conversation. As a Technology Access Centre, we are uniquely positioned to support and offer opportunities and resources to Indigenous food entrepreneurs,” says Mavis McRae, Director Prairie Research Kitchen Technology Access Centre. “Bringing these entrepreneurs and experts together will create a launch pad for further discussions, create relationships that blend state-of-the-art food science and Indigenous knowledge, and will help us get the word out that we are here and what we can do.” 

McRae also says this is just the beginning and there are many stages in food product development to discuss through an Indigenous lens such as business growth, ingredients, recipe development, packaging, and distribution. McRae will share more on these opportunities with attendees at the webinar, which will also feature a welcoming from RRC Elder-in-Residence Elder Una Swan and presenters from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program. 

Indigenous Food Business Stories featured speakers:

Welcoming and Scaling up a Family Recipe
Elder Una Swan, Cree Ware Owner

Photo of Elder Una Swan

RRC Elder-in-Residence Una Swan is a band member of Fisher River Cree Nation. She is 53-years-old and has three boys and one grandson. She says she is very close to her culture, both from a physical and spiritual aspect. She has worked at various grassroots organizations over the past 20 years as Aboriginal Cultural and Spiritual Liaison and as an Elder. She is a teaching and healing Elder. She has found this work to be giving, receiving and extremely rewarding.

The Prairie Research Kitchen
Mavis McRae, Director, Prairie Research Kitchen Technology Access Centre

Mavis McRae

Mavis has led the development of Red River College’s Culinary Research program since 2014. With a 25-year career in food product development and project management, Mavis’ connections to the Western food and agriculture stakeholders are important in creating successful collaborations. Her background in food science and entrepreneurship helps new clients navigate through the commercialization process, creating links to other valuable technical and business resources in the community.

Creating a New Product
Roxanne Kent, Indigenous Culinary Research Assistant

Roxanne Kent holding a dish of food

Roxanne began working with the Prairie Research Kitchen during her second co-operative work placement through Culinary Arts and now uses her skills to support product development projects. She graduated from Culinary Arts in 2021 with honours and has won various awards, including one for a recipe created for Manitoba Pork Producers. By using the skills she gained from her social work degree and culinary arts diploma, one of her long-term goals is to work with low-income families and teach them how to cook nutritious meals. Roxanne is Ojibway and is from the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in northwestern, Ontario.

Business Ownership and Research for Food Business
Suzan Stupack, Founder + CEO, The Stak Co

Suzan Stupack photo

The Stak Co is a Manitoba-grown and Métis-owned award-winning agribusiness. Suzan inherited her love of feeding people from her grandmother, an incredible woman who always made everyone around her feel special. At an early age, Suzan learned about dietary restrictions to help her father manage health issues. Seeing how important nutritious meals were inspired a lifetime of cooking from scratch. Her family has supported The Stak Co since its inception. From social media campaigns and accounting to helping out at farmers’ markets, they always find time to lend a helping hand.

Lessons from a Serial Food Entrepreneur
Kelly Beaulieu, National Research Council of Canada, Industrial Research Assistance Program

Kelly photo

Kelly Beaulieu is Ojibwa associated with the Sandy Bay First Nation in Manitoba. Her work in agri-food, agri-business, agri-engineering and Information Communication Technology (ICT and SaaS) spans rural Manitoba, Westman and Winnipeg. Her technical and busines specialties include food processing, life sciences, protein extraction, aseptic Processing, agricultural Field Crop R&D, start-up, angel investment, Aboriginal business strategies, strategic partner development, and innovation practices.

Q+A: Opportunities and Trends in the Food Industry
Andi Murphy (Diné), Creator, Host and Producer of the “Toasted Sister Podcast”

Photo of Andi Murphy in her kitchen

The “Toasted Sister Podcast” a show about Indigenous food. She’s a producer with the “Native America Calling” radio program, a one-hour national radio show about Indigenous issues and topics. She’s also a freelance food writer, speaker and home cook. Andi grew up on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. She has a journalism degree from New Mexico State University and has been working as a journalist since 2011. She’s also a photographer, a home cook and an amateur artist who creates all the art for her podcast, the “Toasted Sister Podcast.” She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her cats, Carrot and Lucifur.

Register for Indigenous Food Business Stories

Click here to register for Indigenous Food Business Stories. Connect with our research team and Indigenous leaders in the food industry and learn how the Prairie Research Kitchen can help with your food product innovation goals! 

Upcoming webinar: Learn about the future of Canada’s transportation industry

March 23, 2021

How can Canada respond to the future demand for electric and alternative fuel vehicles? How will the relevant workforce be transformed to meet this demand?

Red River College is proud to lead the first of several Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery webinars to discuss topics like these.

Join us for a webinar on Thursday, April 8 at noon to learn how Canada can make the change to electric and alternative fuel vehicles. A group of expert panelists will explore the future of research, industry trends, and consumer perspectives and discuss what is needed for the new economy.

Register now at www.resilientcolleges.ca/webinars

Participate in the discussion on social media using the following hashtags: #C2R2 #ResilientRecovery #BuildBackBetter #CdnEnv #EconDev

Webinar Panelists

  • Jojo Delos Reyes from Red River College, Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre
  • Clara Clairman from Plug N’ Drive
  • John DeBoer of Siemens Future Grid and eMobility Solutions
  • Jim Stanford from The Centre for Future Work

About Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2)

Red River College is proud to be a founding member of C2R2, a group of climate-action leading colleges, Cégeps, institutions, and polytechnics from across Canada who have joined forces to educate a post-pandemic workforce to support a new climate-focused economic recovery. Learn more about how we work together to lead the transition to a clean economy.

RRC works with Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery to help build Canada back better

March 4, 2021

Red River College is proud to be a founding member of Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2), a group of climate-action leading colleges, Cégeps, institutions, and polytechnics from across Canada who have joined forces to educate a post-pandemic workforce to support a new climate-focused economic recovery.

C2R2 champions projects across Canada to:

  • support a recovery that delivers good jobs
  • positively impact for the environment, and
  • address socio-economic inequality.

By working together, colleges can help lead the transition to a clean economy. With a vision to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, colleges are positioned to quickly develop thousands of training and research opportunities to help Canadians access good jobs, support the transition to the low carbon economy, and foster inclusion, diversity, and equity.

Alignment with current research programs

Through the leadership of Research Partnerships & Innovation, RRC has existing research programs that align with the coalition’s focus goals, such as RRC’s extensive electric vehicle applied research experience – particularly cold-weather performance, battery-pack redesign, redevelopment, and secondary use.

RRC’s Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) provides relevant industry training and applied research. BETAC has an array of specialized equipment that can enable and support energy efficient buildings.

C2R2 is working together to support the rapid development and deployment of new curriculum and research initiatives to support resilience in our towns and cities across Canada.

Follow along with C2R2 at resilientcolleges.ca.

TACAM Virtual Knowledge Event for 3D Modelling, Design and Simulation

February 18, 2021

The Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM) recently hosted the first of a three-part series of virtual knowledge events. This event covered the topic of 3D design, modelling and simulation.

At this session, partners from SimuTech spoke about some of the leading-edge technology used to minimize development costs in different stages of product development.

There were also presentations from  three TACAM clients who have harnessed these capabilities. Learn about their innovation challenges, how they worked with TACAM, and the benefits realized thereafter by watching the event recording.

Click below to watch a recording of the event, and stay tuned for future events!

 

Keeping spirits bright and alcohol-free with Solbrü!

December 21, 2020

Looking for a made in Manitoba mocktail this holiday season? Why not try a “Sol’d-Fashioned,” a non-alcoholic twist on the classic Old-Fashioned, featuring the tasty plant-based elixir Solbrü – a new product from Winnipeg entrepreneur Leanne Kisil!

Over the past few years, up-scale alcohol free products have been a hot trend on the bartender circuit. Customers have been looking for sophisticated sober options when enjoying a night out rather than sip on soft drinks or Shirley Temples. Leanne wanted to create something different, fun and healthy. She approached the Prairie Research Kitchen team with an idea to develop an alcohol-free product to replace a bourbon or whisky experience. The Prairie Research Kitchen team of culinary and food science specialists enthusiastically set to work balancing flavours in her recipe, while providing direction in creating a shelf-stable, ready-to-drink (or mix) beverage.

The product launched in May this year, and is now carried in 30 retailers across the country – setting the stage for work on an expansion product in the future!

The Sol’d Fashioned

  • 2 oz Solbrü Restore (shaken before served)
  • Alcohol-free Abiding Citizen Citrus bitters
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Navel Orange slice

Directions:

  • “Shake to wake” the SolBru elixir.
  • Pour 2 oz of Solbru into a short cocktail glass or “rocks glass”
  • Add one tablespoon of maraschino cherry juice.
  • Add two drops of Abiding Citizen Citrus bitters. Stir.
  • Add ice. For fun, you can freeze cranberries or orange slices into large ice cubes or ice globes.
  • Garnish the glass with a half orange slice and maraschino cherry.
  • Mix all ingredients to combine, and enjoy!

Check out the video below for a demonstration of the recipe, plus the background story behind Solbrü.

Red River College wins global award for applied research and innovation

December 11, 2020

Red River College has once again secured its position as a world leader in applied research. In a virtual ceremony held at the end of November, the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) awarded the College a Silver medal in the Applied Research & Innovation Category, for contributions led by the Research Partnerships & Innovation department.

“As Manitoba’s only polytechnic, we are partnering with industry and leading the way in applied research – to be recognized on a global stage is an incredible honour,” says Fred Meier, president & CEO, RRC.

RRC’s applied research is driven by demand and supports many important areas of Manitoba’s economy, while boosting development and opportunity in many emerging areas – from agricultural and culinary research, to manufacturing and aerospace, to applied computer technology and health sciences. Students benefit by working hands-on with industry on projects that solve real-world problems.

The WFCP Awards of Excellence honour higher standards in applied education institutions. WFCP last honoured RRC in 2018 with a Silver award in this category, at a ceremony in Melbourne, Australia.

China’s Wuxi Institute of Technology (WXIT) won Gold in this category, while RRC tied with another Canadian college, College La Cité, for Silver. China’s Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College (JAHVC) took the Bronze. The awards took place in a virtual ceremony, due to the cancellation of this year’s WFCP World Congress.

Red River College awarded $300,000 in Mitacs research grants; fastest growing college in Canada 2019-20

November 5, 2020

Red River College is now one of the fastest growing research colleges in Canada thanks to two new grants totaling $300,000 awarded by Mitacs earlier last month.

“Red River College is proud to be a leading Canadian institution in applied research,” said Fred Meier, RRC President and CEO. “We continue to expand our research efforts into new and emerging areas of technology – such as AI and machine learning – and through collaboration with businesses across Manitoba and our ACE Project Space.”

“These partnerships with Mitacs help support more opportunities for our students to use their hands on training and skills to think creatively for their clients, to problem solve and implement innovative solutions, and drive industry forward.”

Mitacs fosters growth and innovation opportunities for companies and communities, while supporting applied learning for students across all industry sectors and academic disciplines – making Canadian colleges and polytechnics a natural fit their support.

Red River College is now one of the fastest growing colleges for Mitacs in Canada, and these two initiatives alone will engage 17 RRC student interns in innovative industry research.

The first Mitacs grant – one of the largest – awarded to any college in Canada – is an $180,000 partnership with RRC and IT operations optimization startup, Optimiz. With the support of Mitacs, 12 students from the Business Information Technology (BIT) program will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning explore new approaches and technology applications to monitor the health of IT systems. This important work will allow for quicker and more effective implementations of AIOps systems, and will result in cost savings to Canadian businesses.

“In today’s ever-changing world, many businesses must quickly adapt to our new norm and over the last six months, digital accessibility has quickly become an essential need in order for them to effectively sustain their business offering,” said Tom McIlwham, Chief Strategy Officer, Optimiz.

“We identified Red River College as an excellent source of enthusiastic and highly qualified students to help us build out our solution for AIOps monitoring and management needs, and Mitacs has provided guidance and expertise to assist us through the funding process. We are very pleased to be collaborating with Mitacs and RRC on this exciting initiative, and we truly appreciate the opportunity to make this win-win-win scenario a reality.”

The second is a $120K joint partnership with RRC, the University of Manitoba (UM) and the Arctic Research Foundation (ARF). With support from the Mitacs Accelerate internship, five students from RRC’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) Department will use their skills to gather data from the Canadian Arctic to create a user-friendly, free, centralized database that will serve governments, universities, Indigenous communities and researchers from around the world, for the first time.

“RRC’s ACE Project space has established itself as a key player in Winnipeg’s start-up community, and with their cross institutional research relationships with the University of Manitoba and others, non-academic partners can receive end-to-end support for their product development with funding from Mitacs,” said Brent Wennekes, Director, Business Development, Mitacs Canada.

“Red River College has been a trailblazer for applied research at the college level and remains a national leader. Mitacs is so pleased to be able to support their researchers, students, and community partners with our Accelerate program.”

Manitoba has been the fastest growing province for Mitacs over the last two years, with over 420 internship units applied for last year alone, equaling over $6 million in research awards to Manitoba institutions.

Collaboration with KAP and UM is ready to roll: Mini Training Tractor revealed

July 16, 2020

A collaboration between the University of Manitoba (UM), Red River College (RRC) and Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) driven by the need for an agricultural safety training tool, has produced a unique vehicle that will help predict, teach and demonstrate tractor roll overs.

The Mini Roll Over Training Tractor (Mini ROTT) was demonstrated at the UM’s Glenlea Research Station on July 16. Approximately the size of an average lawn tractor but with the appearance of a traditional tractor, the radio-controlled Mini ROTT will be used for teaching and demonstration of roll overs and activities that will enhance students’ and farmers’ understanding of farm safety practices.

“Keystone Agricultural Producers is proud to be a part of the roll over training tractor (ROTT) project through our Manitoba Farm Safety Program,” says Bill Campbell, President, KAP. “We look forward to using this innovative tool to further promote the need for safety awareness and training across our sector to reduce the risk of serious injury in the operation of tractors and large equipment on farms across the province. The partnership we have forged with the University of Manitoba and Red River College shows the importance of our industry to this province and showcases some of the brightest minds and ingenuity we have here in Manitoba.”

The project was initiated by the UM’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences to supplement hands-on safety workshops developed for diploma students and farmers.  The UM teamed up with KAP’s Manitoba Farm Safety Program staff to explore the concept of a remote-controlled tractor as an interactive training tool for teaching roll over prevention strategies.

“The Faculty, especially the farm safety training leaders in our School of Agriculture, are keenly engaged in farm safety training, both for our students and for our wider agricultural community,” says Martin Scanlon, Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, UM. “We were excited to partner with Keystone Agricultural Producers and Red River College to create this novel training tool that will assist the University of Manitoba in delivering potentially life-saving knowledge to the next generation of Manitoba producers. This project underlines the high value and mutual benefit of collaboration with talented industry partners and other educational institutions.”

UM and KAP then engaged with RRC’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM) and Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) for the fabrication process. The research staff at TACAM designed and built the tractor, with support from the VTEC team on the electronics and systems control components.

“Working with Keystone Agricultural Producers and the University of Manitoba on the roll over training tractor (ROTT) is the perfect demonstration of the value of applied research: providing tangible solutions to real-world problems,” says Fred Meier, President & CEO, RRC. “The ROTT highlights the skill and expertise of our TACAM and VTEC teams, and now that we’ve created this first product we’re excited to explore similar projects in the future. We’re proud to play a role in farm safety awareness and supporting the agriculture industry in Manitoba.”

Going forward, the Mini ROTT will be housed at the Glenlea Research Station and utilized for farm safety training for post-secondary students and Manitoba farmers. The Manitoba Farm Safety Program and UM staff plan to collaborate on expanded tractor training and develop programs aimed at creating a safer agri-food industry.

Funding for the project came from a variety of sources, including the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Endowment Fund, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada through Red River College’s TACAM and VTEC-Innovation Enhancement grants, and Keystone Agricultural Producers.

Ray Hoemsen Retirement

June 16, 2020

After nearly 35 years of working in the academic technology transfer and applied research world, Ray Hoemsen has retired from Red River College, as of May 22, 2020.

Ray has led RRC’s research enterprise, Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI), since it was first established in 2004. Through his leadership, the College has seen tremendous growth as one of the most significant research colleges in Western Canada, and one of the few to be awarded three Technology Access Centres. His many years of experience were a great asset not only to the College, but to RRC’s vast network of partners, collaborators and clients.

From culinary research, building efficiency technology, social and health sciences, manufacturing and aerospace, electric vehicle technology and more, Ray fostered an abundant research hub at RRC that continues to grow. His leadership has empowered RPI to keep evolving to meet the needs of Manitoba’s diverse industry, and to empower future generations of students and researchers to gain the hands-on experience needed to create ground-breaking results to better serve our community and economy.