Posts Tagged ‘road trip’

A Weekend Escape to Niagara Falls, The Good Earth and a Really Nice Hat

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Just catching up after a nice weekend away in Niagara Falls.
Living in Toronto, we’ve been many times and each season has it’s perks. The mist is cool in the summer, the icicles are stunning in the winter, Niagara Parks plants amazing gardens in the Spring.

In Autumn it’s the gorgeous colours in the changing trees and bright bright sunny days. Take that sun combine it with ample mist and you get perfect double rainbows!

Our friend Sarah made Rebecca her hat from a pattern I wore as a child.  The wool is from a wool share (like a wool CSA) from  Stoddart Farms.   It’s the neatest program where you get eco friendly dyed wool from endangered and rare sheep and goats delivered to you every month.  We discovered them at last year’s Royal Winter Fair and it makes an awesome christmas present for the knitters and crocheters in your life.

I love the localness of her little hat and that she looks like a unicorn with the double rainbow.

It was all a little much for little Ms Fancy Hat and her epic nap strike ended in a cloud of mist with a bang. 3 hours! We went for a coffee.

So Niagara Falls is fun but it can be a little over the top.  The gorgeous falls and park are almost lost to the Capital Letters TOURISM!  The separation of the city of Niagara Falls and the surrounding “fruit basket of Ontario” has always been so strange to me. The subdivisions all have names like “Orchard Grove” yet finding a fruit or vegetable on your plate, let alone a local one is next to impossible.  So after a few helpful tweets we escaped to the surrounding wine and orchard country and had a blast. And a proper serving of vegetables.

The Good Earth Food and Wine Company in Beamsville, Ontario was recommended by Eating Niagara as a good place to run around and grab some lunch.  What a perfect suggestion.

We started with some peach orchard cuddles.

Then we had a good run.  She really wanted to pick fruit and couldn’t figure out where it had gone. I guess all that apple picking left an impression.

So she inspected ALL the leaves.

And then did a little dance.

We moved inside for lunch but didn’t get a single photo of our food. It was beautiful but clearly too delicious to photograph.  Ryan and Rebecca shared some duck, I had the best cauliflower soup I’ve ever tasted.  The salad had carrot spirals that went on for miles.  The wine was delicious.  The atmosphere was friendly and charming.  The two year was welcomed with a taste of local honey from neighbours Rosewood Estates and peach preserves.  We couldn’t have asked for anything more lovely.

After lunch we poked around.

There was lots of fun food and fork related art.

Ryan is inspired and determined that some day we’ll have a whole building to cook in.  This has got to be the most perfect set up for group canning projects or pressing cider.

Their kitchen side herb gardens are still going strong and Rebecca got into the grapes.

Rebecca spent about an hour looking cute in her new barrette from paperdollaccessories while admiring and eating grapes off the vine before moving on to the pumpkins.

We picked out some wine, honey and jam to bring home and enjoyed the drive back on the back roads stopping for our groceries from road side farms stands.

Amazing. Rebecca even had another nap.

Kinmount Farmer’s Market

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

As the last stop on our month long road trip, we are cottaging (cottage is a verb in Canada) near Kinmount Ontario.  Normally we bring all our groceries from Toronto but because we’ve been away that just wasn’t possible this year.

What a pleasant surprise to find most of what we need at the the local farmer’s market.  I say surprise because we visit Catherine’s cottage every year and visited this market years ago and honestly it was the worst market Catherine and I had ever seen.  I think there were some pickled eggs and hats from Nepal and that was about it.

Looks like they’ve figured things out though as there was all sorts of gorgeous Ontario produce, a full selection of organic and naturally raised meats, heavenly baked goods, preserves, the works.  We actually don’t need to go to the grocery store at all.

A fantastic selection of greens from Hunter Creek Ranch in neighbouring Minden Ontario.  These greens came with a pleasant conversation about how I’m going to deal with 14 acres next year.  

We got home to the cottage just in time for lunch.  I made this arugula basil oregano pesto yesterday and we’ve been carrying these cheese around since New Brunswick otherwise it’s entirely from the market.

I mean look at this onion from Lazy B Farms in Omemee Ontario.  Its gorgeous, and made the best sandwiches.

Now excuse me, its time to jump in the lake!

project 365: week twenty nine: July 16th, 2011 – July 22nd, 2011

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

July 16th, 2011 Rebecca and I on the porch of my Great Grandmother’s house in Oak Point New Brunswick along the St John River Valley.  The house has certainly seen better days.

July 17th, 2011 Family portrait in front of the Oak Point light house taken by Rebecca’s 11 year old 3rd cousin Alexander.

July 18th, 2011 Grammy Clark’s apple tree.

July 19th, 2011 A visit to our barn and Almerinda’s farm in Conscecon Ontario.

July 20th, 2011 Harvesting fingerling potatoes for dinner at the farm.

July 21st, 2011 Home in Toronto for 24 hours so we harvested a bag of our potatoes. It’s clearly too early but check out those Russian Blues.

July 22nd, 2011 Eating yesterday’s potatoes along with some perfect Ontario mushrooms and shallots at the cottage in Haliburton Ontario.

project 365: week twenty eight: July 9th, 2011 – July 15th, 2011

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

July 9th, 2011 We arrive on Grand Manan, an Island in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy.  Rebecca throws rocks at Stanley Beach with Flagg’s cove and North Head in the back ground.

July 10th, 2011 Abandoned Smoking Sheds in Seal Cove Grand Manan.

July 11th, 2011 Rebecca on the Seal Cove Beach.  Possibly the best beach in the world.  Broken dishes from ship wrecks in the beach glass and perfect sand including some that’s magnetic.

July 12th, 2011 Rebecca at Deep Cove Beach.  Possibly the second best beach in the world.  Fresh water streams meet the ocean on a perfect sand beach.

July 13th, 2011 Rebecca has tea at the Compass Rose.  She was such a good toddler and drank her Rhubarb Punch with a tiny spoon. We also saw seals out the window to which she’s says woof woof.

July 14th, 2011.  We road our bikes and chariot out to Ross Island and Fish Fluke point. Ross Island is accessible by foot (or off-roading your brand new Jeep through salt water) at low tide.  The terrain is muddy and wet  but beautiful with views of the original loyalist settlement and this wonderful light house.  Fish Fluke Light house was decommissioned in the 1960’s and is clearly one of Canada’s most endangered light houses.

July 15th, 2011 The whole family at  the Swallowtail light house.  It sits on a rocky cliff accessible only by foot bridge.  We have a very similar picture from 5 years ago and hope we don’t have to wait 5 years to take another one.

Oh My Dulse! Eating Locally in Grand Manan New Brunswick

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Grand Manan is actually a pretty prosperous place despite its isolation, general rusticness and the collapse of the herring industry in the 1990’s.  The smoking sheds of Seal Cove are in disrepair and the sardine packing plants converted into bed & breakfasts and lobster trap storage and are now a UNESCO world heritage site.  These days lobster and shellfish, aquaculture or fish farming, and delicious nutritious dulse are it’s major exports to mainland.

Although it is an acquired taste, it’s a certainly taste worth acquiring. Rebecca has eaten at least a quarter pound of the stuff since we got here and I can’t be too far behind.  Our hosts at our little Creekside cottage left a bag for us in a great gift basket and she ate it in about 30 minutes and would not willingly share. So we quickly went out and bought a pound of the stuff straight from the source. If you’re ever in Grand Manan looking for dulse, just look for the hand lettered signs and you’ll know where to go.

Here in Grand Manan we always buy it from Roland’s Sea Vegetables as we love their road side stand and to see the drying in full force.  Check out their site for some fabulous dulse facts such as “A man should never eat more dulse than his wife”.  
At home we are able to find it in smaller quantities at the grocery store from Atlantic Mariculture who we just discovered we have family ties to and were happy to talk dulse this evening.

Dulse is a sea vegetable (sea weed if you like) that grows in the intertidal zones. It is hand harvested at low tide every two weeks to ensure it’s not overharvested. The dramatic tides of the Bay of Fundy make Dulse collection ideal and this little island produces most of the world’s supply. It’s the lovely red flat seaweed that look like fingers waving in the tides.

After it’s hand harvested from the frigid waters on the Bay of Fundy, it is carried into Dark Harbour (pictured above) in small boats and then dried on large nets on stone in the sun. It’s really lovely to see the nets of dulse being tended to and there seems to be a real art to it.

After it dries, it is shaken in this contraption to get the sand and shells out and then packaged up. 

It comes soft (chewy) or crispy (delicious).  We eat it like chips and I add it to fish chowder. Its saltiness leads to its use on fish and on salads too, especially caesar. This trip I have just started experimenting with toasting it, my great aunts use to do it on top of the wood stove, I just use a frying pan. 

Rebecca is part dulse as it was a major pregnancy craving of mine.  I think this is because of the high mineral content as it contains calcium potassium, magnesium, iron, iodine, manganese, copper, chromium, zinc, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C and E. Apparently it also is high in protein which explains quite a bit as I seem to be protein starved.

Even though we bought a pound a few days ago, I think we’ll make one final stop for another pound or two before we leave.  Anybody in Toronto need some dulse?