A Taste of Local: Experience Ontario’s Farms

© Photo by Clay Dolan / Escarpment Magazine

As quarantine restrictions change, it’s shaping up to be another staycation summer. Luckily, our province has no shortage of incredible destinations to enjoy with your family, while staying safe. From authentic farm-to-table meals made with love, to glamping in the summer sun, we’ve rounded up some must-see destinations for a natural vacation!

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Photo © Courtesy of Good Family Farms

Good Family Farms

Educational Tours, Farm Dinners, and Local Shopping

Located on 1000 picturesque acres of farmland in Meaford, Ontario, Good Family Farms is certified organic and is committed to giving back to nature through regenerative and sustainable agriculture.

Run by Terry and Kim Good and their sons Mitchell and Marcus, the family farm focuses on ethical farming practices, and a harmonious ecosystem.

The Good family has a partner garden market called Harvest Moon Farm, organic honey hives, and more located on-site. Jump on one of their farm vehicles for an educational tour, exploring the crops, pasture, ponds, and animals, all working together.

When restrictions lift again, enjoy a delicious farm-to-table meal through a unique, 7-course farm dinner with Sumac+Salt, showcasing the best of Grey County’s local and seasonal products in a blind-tasting menu, curated with love.

The Good family strives to educate their customers to make informed decisions about food, where it comes from, and why it’s important.

“Our relationship with the earth has everything to do with what and how we eat,” shares Mitchell Good.

That’s why Good Family Farms is proud to sell Certified Organic, regeneratively raised beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables at their farm store. Whether you shop online or in-store, enjoy exciting new products, apparel, and local goods from around Grey County.

Experience a taste of local and see how your food is grown! Learn more at goodfamilyfarms.ca

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© Photos by Inge Albert

Fronterra Farm

Luxury Camp and Micro-School

Amid the rolling hills of Prince Edward County, Ontario, lies Fronterra, an inspiring waterfront farm that seeks to connect children and adults to simplicity, self-sufficiency, and sustainability.

Launched as a working farm growing organic hops and barley in 2014 for the long-coming farm brewery, the pandemic re-ordered the farm’s priorities. Now, Fronterra provides a place of healing, learning, and connection for families and friends wanting to escape the city while reconnecting with the simple beauty of nature.

10 heritage-themed luxury prospector tents are generously spaced 30m apart in an old growth forest to ensure your time with nature offers truly transformative experiences to better handle the stresses of today’s world.

Fronterra takes their love of experiencing the natural world a step further, offering a kids version of the camp as a basis for their growing micro-school, focusing on Forest School and Waldorf learning principles. None of this is easy, but it’s worth it to provide such an important need for our community, driving forward the development of both sustainable tourism and nature-based education for all ages.

Plan your trip today at fronterra.ca

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© Berry Homestead Farm
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© Tanya Hammond, Write Time

Berry Homestead Farm

Berry Products, Donkey Therapy, and Historical Tours

Located in the heart of the Thousand Islands in Lyndhurst, Ontario, Berry Homestead Farm is a 100% off-the-grid care farm.

The fully sustainable farm uses nature-based therapy that benefits health, social care, and educational outcomes, with the help of their very friendly co-workers—a flock of 10 donkeys!

Since 2017, Berry Homestead Farm has been working to increase their farm production of elderberries, vegetables, orchards, and medicinal gardens, which they use to create sustainable products like donkey milk soaps (suitable for very sensitive skin), biodynamic herbal teas, and Elderberry products, like syrups, jams, teas, and more.

This summer, take a trip to Berry Homestead Farm to enjoy animal-assisted therapy, educational tours, and even historical nature hikes through the village of Lyndhurst, accompanied by donkeys!

Book your stay at www.berry-h-farm.com

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Photo © Wheelers Maple Farm

Wheelers Maple Farm

Pancake House, Sugar Camp, and Museum

Immerse yourself in Canadian history with a visit to Wheelers Maple Farm!

Since 1972, Vernon and Judy Wheeler have grown their small sugar bush into a family-run farm with three generations of Wheelers. The farm and sugar camp produces organic maple syrup from over 30,000 trees.

Visit the Wheelers Maple Heritage Museum, which houses Vernon’s collection of maple syrup artifacts, for which he was awarded the Guinness World Record for “Largest Collection of Maple Syrup Artifacts.” In 2010, Parks Canada unveiled a plaque at the site, designating the museum as a culturally significant heritage event!

End your trip with a visit to the Wheeler’s Pancake House (check ahead for COVID closure regulations!), where you can pick up a bottle of Wheeler’s Canadian-made syrup through curbside pick up, or through the farm’s online store.

Plan your visit today at wheelersmaple.com

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Photo © Bonnieheath Estate
005 Farms
Photo © Bonnieheath Estate
005 Farms
Photo © Bonnieheath Estate

Bonnieheath Estate

Lavender Farm & Winery

Celebrate the beauty of lavender! Located in bountiful Norfolk County, Bonnieheath Estate is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing, natural environment.
From the 1950s to 2008, Bonnieheath Farm was used to produce tobacco. Current owners Howard Crocker and Corry Curtis purchased the farm in 2020 and are enthusiastically planning and implementing regenerative agricultural practices. The sprawling 129-acre farm is a place for continued learning, growth, and joy.
For one month only (June to July), visit the farm and enjoy the sprawling fields of French and English lavender. In addition to growing lavender, the estate also harvests and distills onsite, producing natural essential oil and lavender water to use in culinary and body care products that are crafted and sold in their retail boutique.
Within the farm lies the ten-acre vineyard, where Bonnieheath Estate produces nine grape varieties, harvested at their peak to produce a wonderful selection of wines and ciders.
Grab your friends and enjoy engaging farm experiences and incredible culinary ventures. When restrictions lift, be sure to book a wine and cider tasting and experience Bonnieheath Estate’s expertly crafted Wines, Ciders, and Lavender products, including their unique lavender-infused dessert wine!
Plan your visit at bonnieheathestate.com
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© Pixabay

Follow the Lavender Road

This summer, stroll through Ontario’s sprawling fields of lavender and take in the beauty of nature.

Run by the Ontario Lavender Association, the Purple Road is a map of lavender farm agri-tourism destinations in Ontario, including local suppliers of lavender.

From farms to artisans and retailers, there are so many ways to experience the beauty of Ontario’s lavender. Make sure to visit the lavender boutiques to shop unique and luxurious products, made locally, and even book a photoshoot in the fields!

The Purple Road is ready to be your guide. Plan your trip at lavenderontario.org

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