Tuesday, 15 April 2008

A Visit to "A Taste of Woolwich" - An Evening of Local Food in St. Jacobs

On Monday we headed out to "A Taste of Woolwich", an evening dedicated to foods produced in Woolwich County. It was held in the Woolwich Community Centre, in St. Jacobs.

Tastes of WoolwichThe agenda for the evening, posted on the door.

Tastes of WoolwichWoolwich County is Mennonite country - if we hadn't known that already, the cloakroom would have made it clear.

Tastes of WoolwichWe went with a friend, who had been there last year. She said there were a lot more people there than last year - perhaps twice as many. We quickly gave up on trying to hear the speakers - there was just too much noise and bustle in the rest of the room, and all the seats had been taken early, so we couldn't get close enough to the stage to really follow the speakers. Pity, as the snatches we did hear sounded interesting.

Tastes of WoolwichAn uncharacteristic open space gives a good view of a table full of maple syrup. The little pastries by the vendor are mini ice-cream cones filled with maple taffy. I had one; wow! Rich and sweet. It was delicious, but one was more than enough. Pure maple taffy right to the bottom.

Tastes of WoolwichMartin's is a very large local producer and processor of apples. You don't have to be local to find their apples, but they also have an outlet on their main farm, just outside of St. Jacobs.

Tastes of WoolwichSheep cheese - it's the next big thing, or rather has been for a couple of years and is just getting bigger. This table is from Monforte Dairy; their flyer indicated that they make pecorino fresco, halloumi, Bauman's smoked (a version of oscypek), ricotta fresh and smoked, "sheep dip", plain and flavoured chevre as well as yogurt and cottage cheese. I tried a firm cheese flavoured with chive blossoms, which I don't see on their list but which was delicious. I'll be back for more!

Tastes of WoolwichWoolwich County is full of market gardeners, Bowman's Organic Produce being one of them.

Tastes of WoolwichThere was a table for the Elmira Produce Auction. This is a very important conduit for local produce. Farmers who don't want to or can't get to farmers markets can sell their produce here; conversely, many sellers at local farmers market buy their wares here. Farmers who sell their own produce also often use it to expand the range of products they are able to offer at the farmers market.

Tastes of WoolwichThe OK Egg farm was represented here. They are important locally because they not only produce eggs, but grade them. Ungraded eggs cannot legally be sold anywhere but at the farm gate, so they process eggs for many small local egg producers.

Tastes of WoolwichAnd finally, a few more eggs. These are from Stone Meadow Farm in Maryhill, where they raise a selection of standard and heritage breeds of chickens and ducks for both meat and eggs. Their petting zoo showed how the eggs vary in size and colouring.


edtessier said...

Wonder if we were there at the same time? Definitely was busier than next year but still fun. And you didn't even mention the downstairs where you could cuddle a baby chick (somewhere in the 8-day phase where they're cute and cuddly before turning into big ugly chickens)

Ferdzy said...


I didn't GO downstairs... They said it was for "Kool Kids" and that sure ain't me!

Wish we'd known you were going!

Bellini Valli said...

Years ago I visited the Woolwich Dairy. You used to be able to purchase goats cheese from there and I even purchased it in Alberta when we lived there. Here in BC our goats cheese comes from local farms.

Ferdzy said...

Valli, the Woolwich dairy was started by friends of ours (members of our Meeting) and we used to go there to do allotment gardening! Now they are owned by some larger cheese company. They had a table there as well, but I didn't get a picture of them, and their range of products, although more widely available, is not as large as Monforte's.

DANIELLE said...

I am incredibly envious of your experience. Looks like it was a great time!

aj kinik said...

love that cloakroom picture!