Posted : August 1, 2017
Our blog is chock full of great ideas for fun things to see and do in York Durham and Headwaters. We are always adding new content and updating old posts, but sometimes you might stumble upon something from our vault. If this article has inspired you to hit the road, be sure to double-check that the featured stops in this post are still welcoming visitors.
Set in the idyllic hills of Headwaters, northwest of Toronto, Landman Gardens and Bakery is a family owned and operated farm with dairy goats, pigs, poultry, an onsite bakery and butcher shop, organic produce, and the very unique Blackhouse. The farm is run by Rebecca Landman, one of six children in the Landman family. From a very young age, the time-honoured traditions of growing produce organically, nourishing the land and respecting its earthworm inhabitants were passed down by her grandfather, Sjoerd. For the Landman family, it all goes back to respecting the land and utilizing the most holistic means to deliver healthy ingredients with minimal impositions. At Landman Gardens and Bakery, you know you’re surrounded by history and heritage.
One of the largest features on the property is the Blackhouse, a traditional, Scottish-style stone house built without the use of mortar. This particular method is most commonly found in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. To see a whimsical structure like this with moss and vegetation surrounding and growing over the house is something you think you’ll have to travel far to see. Or even, transport to Middle Earth as it looks like a house of a Hobbit. But no, this Scottish-style stone house is right here in Ontario!
The interior houses a long harvest table, adorned with streams of fairy lights, for dinners on the farm. Running from April to November, the farm hosts dinners for individuals and private groups, using ingredients mainly grown and raised right on the farm. Other ingredients are sourced locally from suppliers who have a close relationship with the farm.
Diners will get a taste (pun intended) of how a real farm operates, visit dairy goats, poultry and pigs, and learn about the Blackhouse history and construction. At the dinner table, diners will experience a true farm to table meal. The farm takes 10 to 16 people per dinner and individual tickets are sold on their website for $65 plus HST per person. Private bookings are also available for brunch, lunch and dinner. Each meal includes five courses, coffee, tea, cider and a tour of the farm.
With an acre of farming land to grow organic product and 300 milking goats, you’ll be in for a treat when you visit the farm. Pet a goat or two, and experience what it takes to raise pigs, chickens and turkeys. All animals are pasture raised, which means that they are fed with fresh grass, and their meats are for sale in the butcher shop on the premises. The working farm practices holistic animal raising and allows their animals to roam freely acting on their natural instincts for sustainability.
Rebecca Landman explains:
“[S]heep and goats are extremely good at eating pasture. Therefore, we pasture them in the summer months. Pigs are extremely good at tilling up the soil, so we use them to till up crops that are finished in the vegetable garden. Chicken and turkeys are very good for parasite control. They move through the pastures after the sheep and goats. Eating any bugs that have been hatched. Our animals are shipped less than an hour to a local abattoir.”
Every animal is an active participant in the cycle, living with dignity, and without a part that is wasted. Recently, the farm introduced a new line of soaps using all natural ingredients, including pork lard from their very own pasture raised pigs.
The bakery and pantry shop is well-stocked if you want to take home their delicious pies, pastries, homemade preserves, dry soup mixes, granola, to name a few. All items are either made onsite with ingredients taken straight from the farm or are sourced locally from nearby businesses.
For the more hands-on and adventurous guests, the farm hosts workshops and classes during the summer. There will be a Jam 101 workshop running on Wednesday, July 26th for $50 plus HST. Guests will learn how to make delicious jams and discuss the importance of using fresh and local ingredients. Samples are provided during the workshop so ‘sticky fingers’ (pun intended) will be encouraged, and you’ll be able to take home three different jam samples.
Seeing that it is summer, the farm is also running a Summer Salads workshop to make delicious and healthy salads with, you guessed it: fresh and local ingredients. Guests will get to take home three kinds of salads and instructions on how to make these salads at home. Each ticket is $45 plus HST.
To book your reservation, visit the website here. Hurry, space is limited and workshops have a tendency to sell out!
If you’re into organic produce and fresh foods that were literally pulled from the ground and cooked in front of your eyes, planning your next dinner at the Blackhouse may be your best bet. When you visit Landman Gardens and Bakery, you know you’ll be tasting homegrown foods cultivated with love.