Tag Archives: peach

Day Tripping: Peaches, Pizza and Preserving with Farmers Feed Cities

2 Sep

Peaches at Quiet Acres Farm

The most wonderful time of the year is almost over….peach season in Ontario is coming to an end! I’m obsessed with peaches and as soon as the season hits, I’m one of the first in line for delicious Ontario peaches. The peaches from our neighbouring country to the south are fine for baking or in pinch when I’m desperate for one in the middle of winter. Ontario peaches however are a thing of beauty. I didn’t always appreciate them and actually when I was growing up I preferred nectarines, since they didn’t have “furry skin” but that all changed when I met a beautifully ripe Ontario peach a few years ago and I haven’t looked back!

Last summer, I had the opportunity to join a wonderful organization, Farmers Feed Cities, on a farm and vineyard tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake with a group of food bloggers and journalists. Farmers Feed Cities is committed to supporting Ontario’s farmers and helping the public to understand their importance. The goal of this farm and vineyard tour was to give us “city folk” a chance to understand and appreciate the contributions made by Ontario farmers. We only experience the end product at our local grocery store but behind the scenes, there are so many people and processes involved to get product from the farm to the market and finally to our dining tables.

We started our day off visiting the fruit and vegetable growers at Quiet Acres Farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is just over an hour away from Toronto. Our first stop was a visit to their peach orchards and they looked like they went on for miles and miles. Rows and rows of peach trees with beautiful fruit hanging down, just ready to be picked. We sampled fresh peaches and cherries, straight from the trees and maybe it was the setting but they truly were the juiciest and most delicious fruits I had ever had!

We then took a tour of their peach processing facility, where all peaches are sized, sorted, washed and packaged for grocery stores. One thing I really admired was that no peaches go to waste. They are all sorted and graded and if they don’t make the cut because they rotted on the tree, they are put into piles around the orchard that compost down and get returned to the soil.

Next, we paid a visit to their garlic and potato barn. The owner opened the doors to a huge, dark barn and asked us to all look up. There, in an attic-type space were bundles of garlic! Down below, there were baskets of potatoes, covered up so that the light wouldn’t harm them. I had never seen anything like it and as much as I call myself a “vegetarian foodie” I realized just how little I knew about the growth and handling of some of my favourite fruits and veggies.

Garlic barn

Potatoes, potatoes, everywhere...

We ended our tour of Quiet Acres with a visit to their fruit and vegetable stand for a little shopping. Everything they sell is grown on-site, so you can imagine just how beautiful all of the produce is. If you can’t, don’t worry, I’ve included a few pictures : )

Our next stop was a visit to Southbrook Vineyards, a company that is close to my heart as I used to frequent their Richmond Hill location, where they had a pumpkin patch and sold fresh pies throughout the Fall season. Sadly, the Richmond Hill location is closing this year, but fear not, their beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake location is going strong! We had a great tour of the vineyard and ended off with a delicious outdoor luncheon with fresh salads, pizza and wine (of course!).

Wine at Southbrook Vineyards

Beautiful fresh salads at Southbrook Vineyards

Fresh pizzas at Southbrook Vineyards

A glorious lunch at Southbrook Vineyards

We ended the day with a lesson in canning and preserving the beautiful peaches and cherries we had tasted on our tour. Lynn Ogryzlo taught us all about how to can Ontario peaches and cherries so that we could enjoy these beautiful fruits and bring back memories of a sunny, warm day by opening up a jar of home-canned fruit, even in the middle of winter!

Preserving with Lynn Ogryzlo

If you’re reading this, please do support our Ontario farmers, they work so hard and they are a huge part of our economy. Even if you can’t visit a farm in person like I did, the next time you’re at your local farmer’s market, please take a few minutes to speak to the farmers and their staff. They’ll appreciate the effort and this simple act will deepen your connection to the food that you’re putting on your table. P.S. I’ll bet your food will taste even better too!

Frolicking in the vineyard at Southbrook Vineyards

Links:

Farmers Feed Cities – http://farmersfeedcities.com/

Quiet Acres Farm – http://www.qa.on.ca/

Southbrook Vineyards – http://www.southbrook.com/

Lynn Ogryzlo, The Ontario Table – http://www.ontariotable.com/about-lynn-ogryzlo/

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Biting Into Summer with Fruttare + a contest!

24 Jul

Disclaimer: I received a free coupon to try a box of Fruttare Fruit & Milk Bars. I did not receive any compensation from Unilever Canada for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.  

It was a hot, sticky night last Wednesday when two of my favourite performers, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, were in town for their Legends of Summer tour. Between the heat, the crowds of people and the excitement, we left the concert desperately needing something cold and refreshing. All of a sudden, there they were….little Fruttare carts! After hearing so much about Fruttare Bars, I was looking forward to trying the Fruttare Fruit & Milk Bar in Banana & Milk and luckily, the cart I went to had the exact flavour I was looking for. I tore into the wrapper, took a bite and I was instantly happy. The flavour was exactly what I was looking for, in that it tasted like a cross between a ripe banana and banana pudding. It was cold, creamy and rich-tasting, which was perfectly fine because the bar was just the right size for me.

Fruttare_BananaI had a coupon for Fruttare at home that I hadn’t used, so the following day I decided to pick up a box of Fruttare Fruit & Juice Bars in the Mango flavour. Coming from an East Indian household, the word mango automatically equals awesome/must have, so I knew that my family would be interested in trying them. As soon as I bit into the bar, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bar did have a true mango flavour and wasn’t too sweet. How did they do that?! My husband thought it had just the right amount of sweetness as well. Overall, I considered our Fruttare taste test to be a success! I still need to try the Peach & Milk and Coconut & Milk flavours…so many flavours, so little of summer left…le sigh.

According to their Canadian website, Fruttare Bars come in two types:

Fruttare Fruit & Milk Bars

Flavours:

• Strawberry & Milk: Luscious pieces of strawberries blended with milk

• Banana & Milk: Bursting with the flavour of sweet bananas and milk

• Peach & Milk: The delicious taste of real peaches blended with milk

• Coconut & Milk: Transport yourself to the tropics with the taste of coconut and real milk

Fruttare Fruit & Juice Bars

Flavours:

• Strawberry: Made with real strawberries that you can see and taste

• Mango: Bursting with real fruit taste of delicious mango

You can find Fruttare bars in major Canadian grocery stores. Let me know if you have any flavour recommendations for me! If you haven’t tried Fruttare Bars and want to, I have a little contest for you….

CONTEST:

The fine folks at Fruttare want to give one reader of Milk & Eggs a set of four Fruttare coupons, to help keep your freezer stocked with tasty frozen treats!

TO ENTER:

Visit http://www.fruttare.ca/ to learn about all of the delicious flavours of Fruttare Bars. Then, leave a comment on this blog post and tell me which Fruttare flavor you want to try the most. It’s that easy!

P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter handle or Facebook/blog site address so I know how to reach you! You can enter once per day. Contest closes on Wednesday July 31 at 5 pm. Winner will be announced later that evening.

Note: You must be a resident of Canada to win. Coupons will only be mailed to a Canadian address. Good luck!

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This contest is now closed. Congrats to @kateplummer for winning!

 

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