Thoughts of Fall often evoke images of pumpkin patches and apple orchards, Thanksgiving family get-togethers, and the changing colours of the leaves. What if we told you that you could get all your fixings for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner straight from the farm? Not only will you get to pick up farm-fresh ingredients, but you’ll also have fun exploring new surroundings and experiences while you’re at it.
The Farm to Fork Tour in East Gwillimbury, located just 45 minutes north of Toronto, was created to do just that. This family-friendly, self-guided, tour encompassing a 50km drive through East Gwillimbury’s rich agricultural community, features 8 unique stops, along the way, where you can purchase all you need for that traditional Thanksgiving feast.
This one-day, ticketed, event takes place on Saturday, October 5, 2019 so plan ahead, book your tickets, then map out your route! Pack a cooler bag, for any meats you might pick up, then make your first stop one of the locations where your admission wristbands will be waiting.
If you follow the suggested route, you will be starting this tour at the Sharon Temple National Historic Site and Museum. Here you can take part in a beginner’s herb drying workshop and tour their beautiful gardens. Next, head to Holburne Mushroom Farm, the largest grower of shiitake mushrooms in Canada, where you will tour their facility and learn first-hand how shitake mushrooms are grown. The third stop is the Queensville Country Store, a good ole fashioned country store, where you can pick up King Cole Country Ducks as a turkey alternative. Store the duck in the cooler bag, then make your way to the next farm, Sharon Orchards. Here you can pick your own apples, or purchase them ready-picked, for a delicious apple pie to top off the meal. Fresh apple cider is also available on site.
Potatoes, the perfect Thanksgiving side dish, whether mashed or roasted, is what you’re picking up next at Thompson Potato Farm, a family run farm growing white, yellow and Russet potatoes since 1943. Other vegetables, fresh from the Ontario Food Terminal, can also be purchased here for your extra sides. AE Natural Meats, raising grass-fed lambs, cows and chickens, is your next stop, followed by Niemi Family Farm, where baked goods, vegetables, flowers and fall planters will be available. A fall planter demo is also scheduled at this farm to help you create your own décor for the season. Last stop is the Rose Family Farm, and it’s the perfect place for a bite to eat at their popular Chip Truck, serving up fresh cut fries, and yummy poutine, from potatoes grown right on the farm. A pick your own pumpkin patch and play barn for the kids can also be found here, if you want to let the kids burn off some energy after lunch. Free admission to the play barn is included with your Farm to Fork ticket.
But wait, where’s the turkey, you might be thinking? Sadly, East Gwillimbury’s turkey farm shut its doors, but Vince’s Market in Sharon, has got you covered
Now, if you cannot make it out to the Farm to Fork Tour, there’s nothing stopping you from visiting these farms, on your own, another time. After all, farm-fresh goodness doesn’t have to be just for a Thanksgiving feast! But be sure to check their schedules in advance as they do vary by location. Weekends through the end of October are a safe bet to find most of these stops open*. Bring cash as some sites do not accept debit or credit.
*Holburne Mushroom Farm is not open to the public outside of Farm to roseFork.