Fresh to the table in Prince Edward County

Ontario food reflects the arrival of spring, with asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kohlrabi and peas begging to be steamed and tossed in butter as side dishes.  Cucumbers and lettuce fresh from the farm are just the antidote to winter comfort food, and fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and mint will perk up marinades or provide the final flourish when scattered over soups and Middle-Eastern dishes.  Recipes are plentiful for the eagerly awaited rhubarb and strawberries. Rhubarb is delicious roasted with ginger or poached in sugar syrup and tossed with fresh basil.

It’s not just the locals that are enjoying the richness of the land, as Prince Edward County has become a favourite destination for foodies and locavores from around the world .  It’s all happening this season in the farmer’s fields and gardens! Get it to the table while it’s fresh!

Many local restaurants and cafes feature local vegetables and fruit served in traditional and unique ways. Roadside stands showcase the changing bounty from the spring to the end of fall when the frost arrives. Below is a listing of where to find locally grown seasonal produce .

Black Walnut Teaching Gardens,  1695 County Rd 17, R. R. 2, Milford, 613-476-8849, www.blackwalnutgardens.ca  Call first before you visit to pick up produce. This is not your typical farm, as 90% of the exotic, heritage and unusual produce are grown from seeds, including asparagus, five types of broccoli , cauliflower, eggplant, kale, parsnips, and turnip.  Fruit grown Includes blueberries, black and red currants, huckleberries, kiwi, raspberries and strawberries.  Workshops, concerts and art shows are held on the grounds.

 Campbell’s orchards, 1633 Rednersville Rd, Carrying Place, 613-962-3751, www. Campbellsorchards.com    Hours: 9 – 5:00 Thurs. Fri. Sat. and Sun from Jan til mid June.   Open 7 days a week from 9 – 5:30 from Mid June until Dec 25.  All produce is sold at the roadside and PYO as well as  a stall at Belleville Market, and a satellite stand at the intersection of County Rd. #3 and Hwy#62 in Rossmore late June until Oct 31 . They sell apples, basil, beans, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, and tomatoes .

Their apples are used at Taste by Paulo’s Trattoria in Belleville for his famous apple dumplings. Waring House uses their apples and pears in their dishes, and Loyalist  and Albert College uses their apples year round. As part of the Food for Learning program through the school board, they make a delivery once a week so public school children enjoy a healthy local snack most days

Cherryvale Organic Farm, 1927 County Road 10, Cherry Valley,  Picton K0K 2TO, 613 476 5250, www.cherryvale.ca. Cherryvale is a  unique organic Farm, producing and  selling organic produce  to the local community.  Energy from the sun and wind is produced in an effort to become more sustainable, using sustainable farming practices. Their produce will be offered in a  food box,  as well as to local restaurant’s and two retail stores in Picton.

Everdean Farms, 13783 Loyalist Parkway, R. R. 1, Picton, 613-476-5511 or 613-393-2370. A second generation farm with a roadside stand open mid June to thanksgiving, 8:30 to 6:00 pm daily featuring green and yellow beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, sweet corn, cucumber, peppers, potatoes, Spanish onions,  pumpkin ,squash, and tomatoes, also sell cut flowers.

 Country Farm Market, 20261 Loyalist Parkway, Hwy #33, Consecon, 613-394-2382. This sixth generation farm has a roadside stand combined with a restaurant selling and featuring the crops they grow including beans, beets, corn, carrots, cucumbers, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes.

Fosterholm Farms, 1414 County Rd 11, R. R. 1, Picton, 613-393-5655 This family farm has been running since 1924 and has grown substantially since then from 75 acres to 585 acres.  Their produce can be picked up from 8:00 in the morning till dark all summer, including basil, beans, broccoli , cantaloupe, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, dill, leeks, onions, peppers (2 acres), sweet potatoes, potatoes (seven acres) and watermelon.  They also have 7000 maple taps for maple syrup.

 Kleinsteuber Farm, 1102 County Road 12, R. R. 1, Westlake Road, Picton, 613-393-5671. This family has been in the county for 4 generations, and on this particular farm for three.  Their roadside stand is open from April to October, 9:00 am until dark with beets, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, corn (Indian and sweet),  cucumber,carrots,  five types of lettuce, melons – watermelon and musk, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, , squash, and tomatoes. New Zealand spinach is grown on the farm as it grows right through the summer.  A huge variety of unique herbs for cooking and medicinal use are grown and sold including basil,  Echinacea, milk thistle, red root sage,Russian comfrey, and  tarragon.  Perfect for mint tea lovers, they have  a selection of different types of mint; chocolate, apple, grapefruit, orange, ginger, spearmint and peppermint. Fruit includes grapes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries. Special events are held on Canada Day and Labour Day, one of which is a car show.

Laundry Farms , 530 County Rd 1, RR # 8, Picton Ontario, K0K 2T0,  613 476 1066 This third generation family farm is on 400 acres, with eight acres of strawberries starting  their season with the roadside stand approximately mid June which is ready picked or pick your own. Open  8am to 6pm  7 days a week starting early june.  Pick your own hours are the same.   In June they have beans, green onions, lettuces baby potatoes, peas ,spinach, and swiss chard. As the growing season progresses there are beets, broccoli,, sweet corn, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant,  leeks, tomatoes ,spanish onions, red onions, zucchini, peppers, and cut flowers.  In the fall, the parking lot is filled with with pumpkins, and many varieties of squash . They also sell bags of potatoes, bags onions, tomatoes for canning,  cabbages peppers for freezing and roasting.

Mill Creek Farm The Vader Family,  37 County Rd 11, Picton 613-476-7709
Roadside Stand , opens Open June 11th,  closes September 6th, Hours:  regularly 10am-6pm  during PYO season 8am-8pm. Fresh from the field corn, green and yellow beans, peas (their main product, sold fresh, shelled and province wide in main grocery stores), potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, zucchini

Morrison A’s and B’s, 19067 Loyalist Parkway, R.R. 3, Concession KOK 1TO, 613-399-3663. This family owned and run operation has a seasonal roadside fruit and vegetable stand open 10 AM to 8 PM everyday from May until Thanksgiving. Orders can be reserved if you call  around noon  to avoid disappointment.   Principles and practices of Organic Farming are followed, although not currently certified organic, so no  pesticides or synthetic fertilizer are used, using  local mushroom compost only . Apples, Asparagus, Beans, Beets, Blueberries, Carrots, Cucumbers, Onions, Pumpkins, Raspberries,, Strawberries  Tomatoes , Zucchini, and at least one surprise each season.

Simply Scrumptious, Ally and Mark Walters, 299 Clossen Rd, Hilier, Ont KOK 2JO, 613-399-1532 This self sustaining farm grows grown from heirloom, organic seeds, no hybrids. All the veg, fruit and herbs are farmed using biodynamic principles and companion planting for plant quality and pest protection, and using only organic farming methods.   This year there will not be a roadside stand as Mark and Ally are involved in a joint venture  supplying Tall Poppy Café, a new restaurant opening in Wellington in spring this year.  Along with Ann Heathcote, and Robyn Cakebread the café will be featuring in-house baked breads and pastries.   They will all be doing all the picking, cooking and serving. Extra produce will be available for purchase in the cafe.

Sunset Farms,  1398 County Road #15, in Northport 613-476-3586 This  fourth generation farm specializes in over 60 varieties of peppers. Beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower,  eggplant, swiss chard, tomatillos, and tomatoes are sold at their  roadside stand. The peppers are available fresh frozen or are included in their range of salsas  from sweet to inferno. New for 2010 is their exotic pepper plant sale

Vicki’s Veggies, 81 Morrison Point Road, R.R. #2, Milford, 613-476-7241, www.vickisveggies.com.  Produce is sold at a self-serve roadside stand . Specializing in Heirloom varieties of vegetables, they grow:  Arugula, Asparagus, Beans, Beets, Bok Choi, Broccoli, Carrots, Celery,  Celeriac, Collards, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic, Green Onions, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce (head, leaf, romaine), Mache,  Mibuna, Mizuna, Mushrooms (Shiitake), Mustard Greens, Nettles, Onions, Parsnips, Peas (Snow Snap & Pod), Peppers (Sweet & Hot), Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Scallions, Shallots, Spinach, Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Turnips & Zucchini and a variety of herbs such as Basil, Oregano, Chives, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, Sage, Dill, Cilantro, Savory, Lemon Balm & Parsley. The fruit they grow are : Strawberries, Raspberries, Ground Cherries. Melons, Watermelons  and Rhubarb. Flowers: Zinnias, Calendula plus many others for Bouquets.

photo:  Vicki at Vicki’s Veggies

Stonehouse Farm, 1023 County Road 15, R.R.2, Picton,  613-471-1234 This  farm uses organic practices to grow their produce naturally, without  using  pesticides or herbicides. Phone ahead for orders:  arugula, beans( including navy beans, broad beans, and fava ), three different types of beets, carrots, lettuce, mesclun mix, onions, peas, potatoes, spinach, ,and herbs including  parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, basil, cilantro, chives, and garlic.

All photos courtesy of  Tim Noxon, Vicki’s Veggies, Milford, Ontario, http://www.vickisveggies.com

Header photo: Simply Scrumptious farm

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About The blog of travel & lifestyle journalist Melody Wren

Melody is a freelance writer because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. She writes about travel, food, lifestyle and green living. Melody loves staying in a place long enough to get acquainted. Local customs, markets and traditional cultures are magnets for this writer. When not writing she’s either on the road, in the air, or savoring something tasty. Most of her travels feature outdoor adventures of some sort, although she typically avoids sleeping on the ground. She is an ordinary person that enjoys challenging and pushing herself, facing fears with an eye on experiential travel. She needs to do it, feel it and see it so she can write about it. Her hope is that her stories encourage readers to get out there and do the same.
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