Travel back in time with Dufferin County’s newest local food celebration. The first-ever Savour Fair and Harvest Festival was held at Landman Gardens, a beautiful family farm just north of Grand Valley and east of Luther Marsh. Next to the classic red brick farm house and beneath the shade of a towering weeping willow, over a dozen tented vendors displayed their wares and offered delicious samples of homegrown goods. Colourful local art, hard drinks, heirloom produce, and expertly prepared food was enjoyed with a backdrop of open fields, chickens, and magical dry stone huts.
Southwestern Ontario is blessed with some of the most naturally productive farmland in the world. However, many Ontarians don’t have much interaction with farms and local food purveyors beyond picking up some produce at the local grocery store or perusing a list of local suppliers on a restaurant menu. Fortunately the Savour Fair at Landman Farms recently offered guests a chance to meet farmers, caterers, chefs, and brewers as well as tour a picturesque farm.
The guests at the August 24 event ranged from families with small children eager for the face painting booth and chance to pet one of a few hundred goats to groups of young adults sipping hard cider to senior couples relaxing on a straw bale listening to live music. To attend the Hills of Headwaters supported event, each visitor paid an entry fee ($25 for adults and $60 for a family of four) which was donated to a scholarship fund for local students attending post-secondary education in the agriculture field. In return, guests could wander at their leisure through the rows of vendors, each happily offering up complementary samples, offering produce for sale, and showcasing their artwork.
A few highlights included
- Heirloom lemon cucumber (a round yellow cucumber perfect for adding an unexpected splash of colour to a salad) from Levendale Farms
- Blueberry and rhubarb flavoured pecans from Fergus’ Jewels under the Kilt, one of the area’s only nut growers
- Woolwich Dairy cheese made from Landman Farm goats milk
- A hearty rice and quinoa salad from Lavender Blue Catering and Café in Orangeville
- Fruity sangria from Caledon’s Downey’s Estate Winery
For local farmers, food producers, and chefs, this is an opportunity to share their passion for local food and update their customers on new menu items, initiatives, and events. For example, Chef Pam Fanjoy, owner of The Friendly Chef was able to discuss her upcoming world tour classes (six fall cooking classes each focusing on a particular area of the world), recently obtained liquor license for her café, and guided culinary tour through Prince Edward Island.
Visitors could also meet Brian Moreau, Oenologist (wine maker) for the past 12 years at Downey’s Estate Winery. Brian is able to walk them through the process of making their award-winning wine which starts from fruit picked right from Downey’s Farm orchards and ends with bottles displayed in Downey’s own farm store.
After perusing the vendors, visitors were welcome to stroll through the farm on their own to visit the adorable piglets, walk among the two acres of organic produce, or take a tour of the goat barn with one of the teenage sons of Landman Farms. One of the highlights of Landman is its dry stone structures. These hand-built, oval structures are topped with natural vegetated roofs. The farm hosts private parties and special events – Blackhouse dinners featuring Landman’s own bounty – in these special spots.
The Landman Farms in Hills of Headwaters Savour Fair is set to be an annual event so keep an eye out for this event next August or head out to Central Counties to visit the many farms, food producers, and chefs found here.
Caitlin Carpenter is founder of Days Out Ontario, a trip planning website and travel blog.