It seems that there is not enough summer to enjoy all that summer has to offer. There are so many events going on every weekend, and in my completely unbiased opinion, the best event is farmers markets.
With the business of the summer, I’m going to need to split myself in two! Or three.
This weekend was especially busy (and fun) because there was a farm crawl happening! You know like those pub crawls you go on and drink all day, yea except here you get to take pictures with farm animals and vegetables all day.
Veggies are totally better than beer right?
Hamilton hosted one of its summer farm crawls this past weekend with 11 participating farms.
However, me being me, I still made some time in the morning to venture out to one of my favourite markets, the Waterdown Market where I got myself some loaves of Sourdough bread from Park Road Bread, tomatoes from Echo Farms, and some gooseberries from Baba Link Farm.
Since it was my first time at Hamilton Farms, I was very excited to spend the afternoon venturing into unexplored territory. Lucky for me, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the city has a wide variety of unique and amazing farms!
I really enjoyed my time at ManoRun Farms. It has a quirky, childlike/relaxed, and fun feel to the farm—almost like you are stepping into a storybook, especially with the beautiful weather on Saturday.
I mean look at this scenery!
And the whole farm was decorated with colourful signs that added character. You could go visit the cows, learn about mushrooms, and take a stroll through the herb garden (all with descriptions of the herb, its health benefits and suggested food/drink pairings).
Next, if you walked a little further into the farm, you were able to see the chicken coup—where the hens were outdoors, on the grass, happily going about their day.
Then venturing further out you got to see the outhouse at the back with a beautiful pond. If you felt adventurous like I did then you probably followed the trail to the forest where the mushroom farm lay well hidden between the bushes.
Though there weren’t any mushrooms (since they had been already harvested), it was still neat to see inside the mushroom ‘cave.’
I wasn’t ready for my adventure to end just yet so I continued along the path to visit the pigs!
They were hard to miss to be honest—at the end of the trail were two sheds surrounded by a pile of mud. And if you didn’t see pigs roaming outside the shed, you definitely spotted their fatty piggy legs stick out while they lazily laid down on their “bed.”.
I was pleasantly entertained by the view and the animals but left famished by the end. So there was no better way to end the farm tour than to buy some locally made food from Nellie James Gourmet To Go and a haul of some local veggies.
Chef Ken Lefebour was serving “the stack,” a zucchini bread topped with meatloaf topped with a blueberry tomato sauce and some goat cheese, garnished with herbs. It was oh my god you guys—so good!
ManoRun definitely had the right idea in mind; local farm, local produce, local animals and so it only made sense to have some really good and locally sourced food for lunch! They even had rhubarb cheesecake—eating with the seasons! Love it.
Our Fathers Farm
I also visited Our Fathers Farm where I met Candace and her family of farmers. It was a beautiful farm with goats, chickens, and horses.
Our Fathers Farm is known for the Apricot Kernels, which have one of the highest antioxidant qualities out there and are used/known for their anti-cancer properties.
They also make their own honey and an array of vegetables that will surely make you love all greens! I got a beautiful Napa from them, which I can’t wait to cook with.
The other stop I ventured to was Lotsa Hostas and Jerry’s Berries where I had a magical walk through their flower and plant garden to their raspberry fields.
I got a complimentary half a quart of berries for my own picking with my entrance—so I picked away some delicious and red raspberries to take home!
Weir’s Lane Lavender & Apiary
My last stop was Weir’s Lane Lavender. Definitely a new kind of scenery for me but nevertheless exciting.
It was beautiful to see the fields of purple against the green of the grasslands and blue sky—totally Instagram material.
I got some of their Lavender infused Chutney, instead of their lavender oil because I love food more than beauty care products—though I’ve heard only amazing things about their oils.
Maybe next time I’ll get the body oils but I thought my taste buds would be more satisfied with my choice.
Getting out there & exploring where food comes from
Farmers Markets are great, it’s a common place to meet farmers and get some local goodies. However, there is nothing like going and seeing a farm for yourself—that includes picking your own veggies or fruits!
It’s a whole other kind of experience that will broaden your perspective and bring you back to your hunter-gatherer roots.
There really isn’t a better way to know your food and where it comes from.
So even if you missed Farm crawl this weekend, you can visit farms at any time! (Check their farm hours of course).
I highly encourage you to do so—it’s not only something different to do with your family and friends but it can be really fun and rewarding as well.
Happy farm hopping! -Karina