Eldest started with a week-long day camp in the summer of 2014, and he loved it so much we signed him up for two more weeks. Then, in the fall, he started attending every Wednesday afternoon. With a ratio of three children to each grown-up, this place has such a great program. The kids have a great amount of autonomy and Eldest has really matured during the time he has been there. Highly recommend.
Pastured MeatsMagda Farm
In the fall of 2013, we got to buy several roasting chickens, a few stewing hens, and a side of pork from Magda Farm. The chickens, which run around in the open air on pasture, are the chickeny-est chickens we've ever had the good fortune to eat. And they're huge -- 8 to 9 pounds each -- so we get a lot of meals out of them. The pork is also delicious in a serious way. Unlike many pasturing farmers, their pigs are not heritage breeds like Tamworths or Berkshire. Rather, they buy weaners from a conventional operation. Vera says she considers the pigs to be rescue pigs.
I discovered Keystone Farm through a butchering workshop I did with Jamie Waldron through Minga Skill Building Hub. We butchered a whole pig that day, and we each got to bring home some of the meat. I made the shoulder roast that day and it was incredible. We bought a Thanksgiving turkey (of the Orlopp Bronze heritage breed) from Keystone and it was the most amazing turkey I've ever had. I used the farmer's method (his name is also Jamie) for roasting the turkey and it worked perfectly. I tried to get another for Christmas but he was sold out, and it sounds like he may not raise turkeys again. The other bonus of Keystone Farm is that their shop is on the dreamiest bit of property just outside Cambridge, ON. When I went there, the porch of a gorgeous old stone house was lined with stacks of firewood all ready for the winter and a bunch of beautiful laying hens came running out to meet me. The farm store is in a gorgeous stone outbuilding. I can't wait to have an excuse to go back.
Organic vegetable CSAWhole Circle Farm
We first met Whole Circle Farm when I was hunting around for a winter CSA last year. I was so frustrated through the previous winter when I couldn't find local winter vegetables in the grocery store. We LOVE their winter CSA, because they use a points system. So we can choose not to fill our fridge with turnips and radishes and instead focus on the winter vegetables we love. They have the added benefit of having free range eggs (although they disappear fast on CSA pick-up days) and freezers with cuts of grass-fed beef and pastured pork from their farm and lamb from a neighbouring farm. The kids love going to pick up the share and seeing the cows and chickens and sometimes even piglets. We're planning to try their summer CSA this summer (2014). They also have a wheat flour CSA, but we're gluten-free for the moment, so I haven't tried it.
Maple syrupHoover's Maple Syrup
I'm embarrassed by our maple syrup consumption. But we make a lot of sourdough pancakes, and we bake with it and use it in homemade granola and mix it with plain yogurt (see below). So I shouldn't be, but when you buy in bulk, there's no ignoring the total quantities you consume. We buy it in 11-litre jugs, and keep the huge jug in the deep freezer between filling up a smaller container. Hoover's maple syrup is organic, which means they use different defoamers and gentler cleaners for their equipment from conventional maple syrup producers. Terry, the owner, also drives a milk truck, so he delivers the syrup to Guelph and we meet him at the milk depot. Convenient AND delicious.
We buy as much of our processed foods from our local health food store as we can because they prioritize local sources AND organic.
DairySaugeen Country Yogurt
This yogurt is my favourite yogurt ever, and we buy it from the Stone Store (see above). It's made from certified organic, unhomogenized milk so sometimes bits of cream float to the top. With homemade granola and maple syrup, it's my favourite snack ever.
Nutri Springs Butter
I keep meaning to visit the Morden Farm store, where this butter comes from down in Freelton, about half an hour south of Guelph. But we haven't so far. Still, we love their butter. It's not from exclusively grass-fed cows but they do eat grass through the growing season, and they get no hormones or antibiotics. Their website says they sell pretty much anything else that comes from a farm, including exotic game meats, and lots of gluten-free stuff. I will get there one day.
I also write occasional posts about local food sources.