Maple Syrup was on tap in Elgin County this past weekend, and many families took the opportunity to visit a local sugar bush. Both Springwater Conservation Area and Palmer’s Maple Syrup serve up syrup-making education along with pancakes and the sweet taste of spring Saturdays and Sundays in March. Springwater is also open all week during the March Break.
In February, welcome Chinese New Year – the Year of the Snake -- with Asian Pork and Vegetables. Lean Ontario pork tenderloin gets a burst of exotic flavour from chili garlic sauce and ginger. The earth may be frozen, but there’s still plenty of locally-grown cabbage and carrots around to stir-fry with the pork, along with year-round mushrooms and bean sprouts.
Monika & Leo Rastapkevicius of R-Gro Farms
The Arts & Cookery Bank ended their Twelve Days of Christmas events this year with a “Sweet Endings Long Lunch” celebrating of the sweet potato. It was a salute to locally grown food and the versatility of the sweet potato, with tasty treats consisting of sweet potato soup, fries, twice baked potato, and pie.
Local growers, Monika and Leo Rastapkevicius supplied the sweet potatoes from their R-Grow farm near West Lorne and stopped in to sample the sweet creations. They also grow sweet corn, muskmelons, seeded and seedless watermelons, ornamental pumpkins and gourds and cash crops.
Photo: Mark Girdauskas
With Hoptoberfest in the fermenter, a busy summer past and busier ones on the horizon, Railway City Brewing Company has just announced an upcoming facility expansion. It will enable them to keep up with ever-increasing demand for their popular brews, and grow into the future. If they have their way, there will be “a few more Dead Elephants coming out of St. Thomas, Ontario.”
In less than five years Railway City Brewery has established a reputation for good beer and good fun. It has made its mark with award-winning craft brews, special seasonal offerings, tastings and tours at its St. Thomas production and retail outlet. Funky brew names and branding have played on the Jumbo the elephant and Railway City themes, making it “our beer” for St. Thomas and Elgin County residents, and making it identifiable to craft beer-lovers across Ontario.
Aunt Lena’s Country Market opened earlier in 2012 offering a variety of specialty food items and preserves, ice-cream, and an interesting and diverse selection of gift- and décor-ware. Most importantly, though, they sell Aunt Lena's very popular and delicious homemade pies – it’s worth a stop just for the pie.
With 700 pre-sold tickets and a record for at-the-gate ticket sales for Motown Memories, the Quai du Vin music series continues to groove through summer. Saturday afternoon(July 29th) included performances from the Chris Murphy Motown Revue, Tribute to the Supremes, Ben Shane, Robin Banks and more.
Quai du Vin musical event newbies are usually heard to exclaim, “Wow, this is amazing…so many people…out here…having so much fun!” To Summer Sounds Delicious veterans, it’s not a surprise anymore…but still….so much fun!
(Story by RE, Photos by Mark Girdauskas). It was Railway City Brewing Company’s fourth anniversary and their first off-site tasting night on Thursday (April 19) at Kenny Iguana’s on Talbot Street. “The restaurant regularly features the RCB beer on tap,” says Ken Kokko, “even the stranger-sounding seasonals – many patrons love to try something new”. Ken welcomed the brewery and tasters for the evening.
As well as their fourth anniversary, Railway City has been celebrating another win at Queen’s Park. Breweries from across Ontario compete in six categories for the right to be served in the Legislature Dining room and at Queen’s Park events. Dead Elephant Ale was in the winner’s circle again this spring with the best bold flavoured ale, stout or porter. You can also find the Dead Elephant (in the funkily labelled can version) in this year’s Craft Beer Discovery 6-Pak at the LCBO.
The Arts & Cookery Bank’s 7-Day Hang It Up, Bake It Up, Light It Up Celebration aims to bring community members to the bank to savour the season with a special event planned on each of seven days between November 23rd and December 1st.
Saturday November 26th was devoted to baking cookies. In keeping with the Bank’s aim to be an ever-extraordinary place, several people gathered in the morning determined, not just to bake cookies, but to break a Guinness World Record. That would mean mixing, rolling, cutting, baking and delivering to the judge’s table more than one thousand cookies in an hour.
The Horton Farmers’ Market wrapped up on Saturday October 29th with the last regular market day of the season.
Lynn Ogryzlo, Ontario food champion and author of The Ontario Table was on hand to sign copies of her book and to collect more signatures in support of local food on her travelling table cloth. Full of stunning photos, delicious recipes and the stories behind the food, her book found favour in St. Thomas with record sales at a farmer’s market (64 copies)!
The 2011 market Saturdays have brought attendees the tasty parade of food through the seasons, along with a selection of food products, craftspeople and artisans, all presented within a spirit of supporting local and community.
Though the number of vendors gradually decreases towards the last few weeks, there was still lots to see right up to the last day - a treat for the last couple Saturdays was the novelty of fresh chestnuts brought to market by Sally Martyn.
The Horton Market will return for one last appearance of the year on November 19th when vendors will bring you the foods and ware of the first ever Christmas Market.