November in Canada is RAWF time… that’s The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, which descends on the city of Toronto’s Exhibition Place from November 1st to the 10th. The Royal, as it is known to all who love this time-honoured festival, is a celebration of all things agriculture and local food—not to mention nationally prestigious equestrian competitions.
This year, York Durham Headwaters is doing something special: We’re partnering with select growers and producers in our region to exhibit some of what makes YDH special. It’s a tremendous step forward in showcasing to all of Canada what we have here in our borders, what kind of talent and passion our amazing farmers, growers and producers have. For our first blog post in our Road to the Royal series, we’re exploring Durham Region.
Durham’s Agricultural Landscape
In Durham, there is a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables each year. Our growers provide everything from berries to apples, pumpkins to corn, and even things like wine and Christmas trees. Helping our farmers and growers market to a greater audience for over twenty-five years is the Durham Farm Fresh Marketing Association.
Durham farmers know that it’s important to buy local. Food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious if it can be found locally, rather than spending days, weeks, or even months travelling from great distances. Buying local means that you support your local farms and help ensure they will be a part of your community for generations. And with less travelling to do, food requires less packaging and makes a smaller carbon footprint to reach your table.
According to a study conducted by Durham Farm Fresh, Durham Region consumers want local produce. Nearly fifty percent of consumers here care about where their food is produced, and more than seventy-five percent are likely to purchase items that are labeled as produced locally. This is why small, local family farms thrive in Durham Region.
YDH’s Durham Region Exhibitors
We are thrilled to be partnering with the following Durham producers and growers at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this year.
Rooted in tradition, growing with the times. Forsythe Family Farms invites you to unwind, reflect and reconnect with nature Enjoy time with your loved ones as you pick your own fruits and vegetables, participate in the many family-friendly events and celebrations, and shop their on-farm market. There is even a Giving Garden to help families in need, and Forsythe offers a communitysupported agriculture (CSA) program, where members can subscribe to receive harvest products throughout the growing season.
Also providing a weekly CSA produce box program, Cooper’s is a family-owned market garden farm producing a wide variety of quality vegetables and meats using sustainable and ethical farming practices. Their philosophy is that farming should be done the way nature always intended; this is why Cooper’s has been practicing integrated pest management since 1993. Try Cooper’s homemade food from its Farm Kitchen, and new in 2017 is Cooper’s sugar bush and maple products.
You may have heard of Our Valley View B&B. But did you know that owners Martin and Petra also produce honey and beeswax products since 2014? In that time, 3Beez.buzz has grown to 28 hives in the Enniskillen Valley and produces non pasteurized raw honey, infused honeys: garlic, ginger, and turmeric infused, and nature’s air purifying beeswax candles.
Since 2015, this Little Farm that Could has been interested in agri-tourism, and offers their beekeeping expertise and operations to the public for tours. This year at the Royal, Dare2Dream is excited to showcase its Maple Bee Nectar—a honey vinegar. This wonderful product, which is a recipe that has been around since the days of Hippocrates, is similar to apple cider vinegar and is not filtered or pasteurized to maintain its nutrients and quality.
At Durham College’s W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, Durham’s farmers of the future are learning and living the concept of field-to-fork. Durham College offers programs in culinary, food and farming, horticulture, hospitality, and special events management. It is also home to Bistro ’67, a memorable field-to-fork dining experience which is a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant, and holds a Feast ON™ designation in recognition of its use of local food and beverage.
Another of our CSA farms in Durham Region, Willowtree’s mission is to share its passion for sustainable farming and fresh food. In addition to their ethically raised meats and hand-picked fruits and vegetables, the MacKay family also offers an on-farm market and sources a select number of local produce to showcase. Farming has been a family tradition at Willowtree since 1969, and the MacKays are passionate about sharing its love of farming with the world.
Banjo Cider is a farm-based cidery that is passionate about reviving the lost art of traditional cider-making, which all but disappeared during Canada’s Prohibition years. Their handcrafted cider is made slowly in small batches with 100% Ontario Apples. At The Second Wedge, the focus is on crafting and sharing ales full of flavour and character. Inspired by the world’s finest small breweries, The Second Wedge is known to feature, in its rotating selection of seasonal and special brews, such delights as Uxbridge-grown hops, various local ingredients, and collaboration brews with other local craft brewers.
Story by Katherine Ryalen