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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Come on a Food Road Trip With Me in Southwestern Ontario

Friday I decided to do a larger produce run to one of my favourite produce hot spots following the Talbot Trail along the shores of Lake Erie. This scenic historical route was completed in 1820 overseen by Colonel Thomas Talbot. It stretches almost 500 km (300 miles) between Amherstberg, Ontario and the Niagra region. You would be hard press not to find good produce in this area rich in orchards, commercial green houses, smaller agriculture and even wineries.

My first stop was a resale shop where I picked up 20 canning jars for 75¢. She said they get one or two boxes of canning jars a week so I told her I would take all she could get so she is setting them aside for me. My husband iss going to stop next week to see what she has. Onto the day long shopping trip. I carried along my digital camera, lots of water and a homemade lunch. It was a hot, humid day so I decided against doing any actual picking although I knew there would be ample opportunity. All the produce purchased was locally grown.

food tripI dropped off my husband then set off stopping at a nursery where they had flats of greenhouse plants on for $10. I bought a flat of impatiens (not shown) then stopped just a couple of block away to pick up pickling cucumbers, beets, radishes and mini zucchini (1). I headed west to a small greenhouse operation but they were closed. By then it was obvious the day was going to heat up a bit more than expected so I decided to take my purchases home so I could change. On the way home I stopped at my favourite raspberry U-pick (2). This U-pick is practically within walking distance of our house so I stop there quite often. I bought 4 pints of ready picked knowing that I would not be able to fit picking into my day's plans. This bit of backtracking cost me a bit in both time and kilometers but in the end it was a good decision.

Bulk BarnOn the way to my destination I stopped at Bulk Barn (4) where I picked up white chocolate chips, white Belgian chocolate, loose leaf tea, xanthum gum, sunflower seeds, organic pastas, 2 small bags of candy (5). Then I headed out into the bliss of a beautiful drive in the country.

Orchard stores are unpretentious and wonderful to shop in. My first orchard stop on the Talbot Trail was Greenview Orchards in Cedar Springs, Ontario (6). This is a lovely orchard that offers the produce they grow ready picked in a great little store at very reasonable prices. They also offer U-pick for some of their produce. I bought 11 qt sweet cherries, 4 qt blueberries, 4 qt new red potatoes, 2 qt green beans and 3 qt yellow plums (7).

Lake Erie, Talbot TrailWith my purchases safely tucked in the car I headed south of the Talbot Trail towards Lake Erie (8) to enjoy a bit of photo opportunities. Lake Erie like all the Great Lakes is just pure eye candy! I drove along into Erie Beach enjoying the peaceful drive then backtracked to Talbot Trail where I stopped at Delhaven Orchards (9) where I picked up 4 qt yellow string beans, 3 beefsteak tomatoes (10).

I just love the scenic drive along the Talbot Trail! On both sides of the highway there are rows and rows of fruit trees (11) with the lake peaking through to the south and an endless expanse of farmland to the north. The highway is well maintained with wide shoulders that makes it quite easy to pull over to enjoy the view and take pictures.

u-pick, mushrooms, cherry pitterLess than about a kilometer I stopped at Pardo's (12) another orchard with U-pick. They were extremely busy with people coming to pick raspberries. I didn't buy anything but took a few pictures. Along the Talbot Trail there are orchards after orchards and farms after farms with many of them offering U-pick (13). The pick your own opportunities are practically endless in this area!

The next stop was at the mushroom farm where I bought 15 lb white mushrooms (14). There are at least 3 large commercial mushroom farms in this area all with excellent prices if you buy directly from them. On the way home I stopped to pick up 2 bags potting soil and the most amazing cherry pitter I've ever seen (15)!

I hope you enjoyed coming on a food road trip with me. I'm tired but content so canning began tonight. The bean have already been canned. So stay tuned the next few days as I do a few things you've already ready about on this blog but also a few new things.

3 food lovers commented:

Farm Girl Wannabe said...

Wow! I wanna live where you live! We don't have any of those fab places in my TX town.

Anonymous said...

really enjoying following your blog and adventures! I'm a fairly newbie canner (only 2 years now) so it's great to read the adventures of a pro. Thanks for sharing.

Dove Soup said...

I wish I knew how to find places like that in Ohio, I know they gotta be around here somewhere.
Great travel log!