Good local Hastings County food, fresh from the farm

A terrific sign of the times in Hastings County: this is the sign at Strattons Farm, one of a number of local producers treating the earth sustainably and well and offering great food to those of us lucky enough to live (even if, in our case, it’s only part-time) in the area.

I took a day away from work today to try to cross a few things off my endless (and growing) to-do list in my “civilian” life. One of the more urgent things on that list was to order a turkey for not-far-away Canadian Thanksgiving, when the extended Sedgwick family (and friends) gather at the family homestead in Haliburton County for the annual feast.

This year, for the first time since I was growing up at the Manse back in the 1960s and ’70s, I’ll be heading to the family gathering from Queensborough, where Raymond and I will be based through the long weekend. So I decided I’d try to order a fresh turkey from one of the farms in the area that sell that products directly to the public.

Long story short, we have a nice 30-pound turkey on hold for us from the farm of Tim Hunt just south of Tweed. But long story long(er): I had a most pleasant couple of hours conversing by phone and email with farmers in central and southern Hastings County as I carried out my search. I found out: one, I should have ordered a turkey months ago – these are small farms with limited production, and their coveted products go quickly; and two, there’s a great community of people committed to raising healthy, frequently organic, food in Hastings County.

It was thanks to the Harvest Hastings website that I was able to find those farmers. Here’s what Harvest Hastings has to say (in part) about its ethos:

“Hastings County … with its forests, farmland, lakes, rivers and small and large communities, is well situated to lead in the field of alternative energy development, conservation of natural resources,  sustainable forestry and agriculture, and artisan food production. Harvest Hastings is about living lightly on the land and buying what you can locally.”

In the course of my search I discovered lots of farms in our area and learned about what they produce. The farmers I’ve actually spoken to (via phone or email):

Kara Enright of the Enright Cattle Company near Tweed, whose beef can be found at some very nice restaurants in Kingston and Toronto but that can also be bought “at the farm gate,” as they say – or ordered online and shipped. “All animals on the farm,” the Enrights’ excellent website notes, “are raised on a natural, all-vegetable diet without the use of artificial hormones.”

Linda Squibb of Misty Ayr Farm in the Stirling area, where they raise “Berkshire pigs, Katahdin sheep, Bronze turkeys, meat chickens and Peking ducks in a natural environment.” Linda tells me the Bronze turkeys have a darker meat than traditional white turkeys. I am anxious to try one, but of course was too late for this Thanksgiving.

Sally and Michael Knight of Strattons Farm, also in the Stirling area, a delightful young couple of British origin (if I judged their accents correctly) who have heritage pork, poultry, dairy goats, honey, eggs and vegetables – and an excellent blog full of information about their operation here. And something that I find very cool is that their farm is “powered by a team of Suffolk Punch draft horses.”

And of course Tim and his mum Dorothy Hunt of Countryman Road outside Tweed, the providers of our Thanksgiving turkey, raised in the heart of Hastings: a place where good local food is grown, raised – and appreciated.

4 thoughts on “Good local Hastings County food, fresh from the farm

  1. Old Faithful back again: For a “treat instead of a treatment”, try Mrs. “Sideroad Sam”Miller’s fine baking on Hollowview Road, Turn right if coming south on #62, about one Km, on your right, only open on Fri. and Sat. but you can order stuff ahead. Sorry, no have telephone!. They sell chickens too I think. Her baking is better than that of Mrs. “Highway Sam” Miller along #62. The home made bread is my favorite. These folk are part of the Amish Community that has added much to our rural mosaic. Warning: the donuts make Tim Horton’s look like amateur stuff. They are good for you, made with lard, but dangerously addictive…..GnG

  2. Do come to Harvest Hastings’s Celebrate the Harvest Supper at the heritage Tweed Dance Pavilion on the shores of Stoco Lake in Tweed on Sunday September 30, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. The menus is all from Harvest Hastings producers and a number of the farmers and artisans will be there. For the Celebrate the Harvest Supper, Matt Riga is cooking a butternut soup, salad with mixed greens, beets, feta and local apples, beef stew with local carrots, onions and garlic, home made ice cream, Grills Orchards home made bread with CIPM Farms Red Fife Wheat Flour, Stirling Creamery Butter, fresh apple cider, Porcupine Creek herbal teas, and Keep It Simple Coffee roasted in Stirling-Rawdon. Tickets info@harvesthastings.ca

    • Louise, I have to tell you my mouth was watering as I read your comment. That dinner sounds wonderful. Complete with bread made with Red Fife Wheat flour, wow! I remember learning about David Fife of Peterborough County developing Red Fife Wheat in Mrs. Carman’s Grade 4 class at Madoc Township Public School. Unfortunately I think Raymond and I will have to be on the road back home just as the dinner is taking place, but I do hope some readers might see this and take advantage of it. And next year (I am assuming and hoping that this is an annual event) we will make a point of planning ahead so that we can be there. Thank you for letting us know about it!

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