I’ve always said that we have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the bounty of the earth. While the rest of Ontario buys their fruit and vegetables from football-field sized grocery stores, in Hamilton we have the privilege of driving up to a farm and making a purchase directly from the grower.
If you’re like me and you can easily lose yourself in farm and country experiences, you won’t want to miss Farm Crawl Hamilton. Organized by the farmers of Hamilton and Halton, Farm Crawl Hamilton offers a glimpse into what life is like on a farm while offering up some pretty tasty food. On August 12, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm, you can pick raspberries and make raspberry jam, or just have a delicious al fresco lunch in a tranquil hosta garden; you can learn all about sheep shearing or environmentally friendly pig farming; or you can discover how to plant vegetables in an organic vegetable garden and taste golden honey from the bee colonies. Check online for the line up of events for the day.
Some farms offer food samples, there are self-guided tours at others, but feel free to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at any of them. A total of 12 farms have participated this year. Previous crawls were held in May and July. August is when harvesting hits its peak and both man and beast (and bee) are enjoying summer’s heat. Remember to wear a hat, sunscreen and bring water.
Simpler Thyme Organic Farm | simplerthymefarm.com
The folks at Simpler Thyme are all about supporting a sustainable food system, grown and provided with integrity. Everything is grown organically and they love sharing their knowledge – and their bounties, of course. Make floral bouquets, shop the on-farm market and purchase smoothies made from fresh berries and maple syrup.
Ballantrae Garlic Farm | ballantraegarlic.com
Who knew there were so many types of garlic? Paula extols her passion for garlic and its history. Growing organic heritage varieties of garlic from around the world is truly their passion and it’s all based on a boutique approach. Some of their garlic varieties were started from a single bulb, then developed over several growing seasons.
The Perfect Christmas Tree | theperfectchristmastree.ca
Before the perfect tree is cut and carted home for the holidays, it grows at the perfect tree farm! Firs and Scotch pines of all kinds have been growing happily here for over 40 years on this family-owned farm.
Lotsa Hostas + Jerry’s Berries | lotsahostas.com | jerrysberries.ca
Jerry and Glenda Bargeman hope you’ll visit their farm and lose yourself in their lush and tranquil hosta gardens. Bring a picnic lunch to eat in the hosta garden, which overlooks the raspberry patch. It’s much like dining in a vineyard but sweeter, more tempting and ultimately more delicious!
Weir’s Lane Lavender + Apiary | weirslanelavender.ca
Step into the most romantic lavender fields. Former city slickers, Kevin Beagle and Abigail Payne invite you into their world for an impressive view on country life. This is a world where bees and plants work together, beauty and peace combine, and where dreams are made possible. Walk the magical lavender fields, sample pure honey, and shop their farm store.
Heart’s Content Organic Farm | heartscontentfarm.nationbuilder.com
This lush 57-acre property is situated on the Trans-Canada rail trail, which runs from Brantford to Dundas. Check out their solar powered electric cultivating tractor! Go on a medicinal and edible plant walk with organic farmer and naturopath Richard Tunstall and see the organic heirloom vegetable crops.
Ridge Road Estate Winery | ridgeroadwinery.ca
Crafting local wine since the mid-1800’s, this Niagara Escarpment area winery overlooks Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline. Small batch wines are made from hand picked grapes. Enjoy your tastings in a setting that feels like a bistro. All visitors with Farm Crawl will receive a complimentary wine tasting with snacks and for young visitors, juice and crackers will be available.
ManoRun Organic Farm | manorun.com
Chris Krucker and Denise Trigatti, along with their four children, welcome you onto their 25-acre organic farm. ManoRun has a large vegetable garden, a chicken coop, and pastureland for their cows, pigs and horses. They make jam and pickles, sell fresh eggs and organic beef, run a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and sell at local farmers’ markets.
Chickabee Farm | chickabee.ca
Picture a permaculture property with over 80 fruit trees, 100 berry bushes, pasture raised hens and nearly 50 hives. All of this is housed on an unimposing footprint: 0.9 acres. Shawn has plans to turn six hives into 40 and further development of the plant propagation nursery.
Alpaca’s from Eighth and Mud | store.alpacasfromeighthandmud.com
Sure, alpacas have crooked teeth, but they are pretty cute and their coat is also a great source of yarn. Visit the cria alpacas. Staff will be doing demonstrations of dying alpaca yarn and offering tours of the mill.
Our Father’s Farm | ourfathersfarm.com
Besides being a beautiful home to organic gardens and orchards, horses, free range chickens, and goats, it’s no wonder the farm has been the location of three movie sets. Their goal is to organically grow every type of produce that can be grown in Canada. Take a tour, meet the animals, and learn more about apricot kernels!
by Lynn Ogryzlo
Lynn Ogryzlo is a food, wine and travel writer, international award winning author and regular contributor to Look Local Magazine. She can be reached for questions or comments at www.lynnogryzlo.com