From Farm to You: Dairy in our Community

From Farm to You: Dairy in our Community showcases some of the many farms and processors working hard to ensure that we have fresh, healthy and local milk and milk products available in our region!

This film and accompanying From Farm to You: Beef in our Community were made by Brian Mitolo, produced with support by Farms at Work and made possible with financial support from, Sunderland Co-op, Peterborough County Federation of AgricultureTrent UniversityPeterborough Cattlemen, and the Province of Ontario.


Dairy farmers work hard! Many told us that they milk twice a day, every 12 hours, generally 6:30am & 6:30 pm everyday

In 2016, there were about 3000 dairy cows on 46 family dairy farms in Peterborough County.  Along with beef cattle, they represented more than a third of the farm cash receipts in the County – more than $25 million

Read more below to get to know a few of our local dairy farmers, and the other important businesses that help get local milk from farm to you in our region!

Roaming Valley
Certified Organic Dairy Farm, Trent Hills ON

Laura Easter, along with father David Glover, and brother James, the trio is the sixth generation to farm in Northumberland, producing organic dairy, beef, pork and chicken on 900 acres in Warkworth.
 To learn more find them on facebook or check out this article from Ontario Culinary featuring Laura Easter & the farm

Crovalley Holsteins
Hastings ON

John & Cynthia, Christina, Justin, Ryan & Vanessa Crowley run this family dairy farm, together they milk 120 cows everyday.

For more information, find them on facebook

Dalock Farms
Havelock ON

Dalock Farms is a fourth generation family owned and operated dairy farm milking Holsteins and Jerseys. They milk 56 cows daily. Every other day milk is picked-up and delivered to local dairies including Kawartha Dairy, Empire Cheese, FairLife.

In 2014 they were honoured as one of Ontario’s top farm families and received the BMO Ontario Farm Family Title.

To learn more about them, check out their facebook page

Dairy Farmers of Ontario

Dairy farming is the largest sector of Ontario agriculture, and Dairy Farmers of Ontario is the marketing group that represents them. It’s made up of the same farmers who run the farms, and who produce the milk and dairy that you put on your table.

‘Dairy Farmers of Ontario is run by Ontario dairy farmers and farm families. We’re dedicated to excellence in the production of Canadian dairy milk – of course! But we’re also committed to education and awareness about the nutritional benefits of Ontario dairy.’ (From DFO website)

DFO picks up milk directly from local farms (the ones mentioned above & many more!) From there milk is inspected and sampled before it’s pumped into insulated, stainless steel tanker trucks and shipped to a dairy processing plant, such as Kawartha Dairy. Read all about how milk is safely processed and used to make delicious products on DFO’s website.

Kawartha Dairy

2017 marked the proud 80th anniversary of the Kawartha Dairy Company, a 100% Canadian, 100% family owned company.

Like virtually all Ontario-based companies producing dairy products, Kawartha Dairy get all their fresh milk and cream through the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, a cooperative owned by Ontario’s dairy farmers. The milk that arrives at their location in Bobcaygeon typically comes from the same area farms, many of whom have been supplying us for decades. Almost 90% of the milk we use comes from farms located less than 100kms from our Bobcaygeon location.

Local milk is utilized to make milk, ice cream, sour cream, and even butter though Kawartha Dairy.

Empire Cheese

Local milk is used to make a diversity of other local products including cheese!

The Empire Cheese Co-op is the only cheese manufacturing plant operating in Northumberland County and the first one east of Toronto! Empire Cheese is owned by local dairy farmers who hold an election each year to vote in a Board of Directors to run the factory.

The majority of Empire Cheese is sold through our factory store and various outlets in the Peterborough region and beyond.

Farm Supplies:

Sunderland Co-operative Inc. is a Member based Co-operative that provides crop inputs, feed, petroleum, consumer goods as well as related products and grain marketing of selected grains within the East Central Ontario region. They have locations in Peterborough and Lindsay the head office is in Sunderland.

Buy Local Products!

Where to buy local dairy products? The following stores, are a few options to buy local products, let us know about others!

Jo Anne’s Place – Health food & more!

Peterborough Food Shop

Main ingredient

From Farm to You Video Series

To learn more, check out our From Farm to You: Beef in Our Community video, and other local food videos showcasing farmers and other members of our local food supply chain!

From the Farm to You:      Beef in our Community

From the Farm to You: Beef in our Community

From Farm to You: Beef in our Community showcases some of the many farms and processors working hard to ensure that we have fresh, healthy and local beef & beef products available in our region!

This film and accompanying From Farm to You: Dairy in our Community were made by Brian Mitolo, produced with support by Farms at Work and made possible with financial support from, Sunderland Co-op, Peterborough County Federation of AgricultureTrent UniversityPeterborough Cattlemen, and the Province of Ontario.


In 2016, there were 247 Family Beef Farms in Peterborough County. Along with dairy cattle, they represented more than a third of the farm cash receipts in the County – more than $25 million.
The following short-film showcases just a few of these hard-working farm families, along with processors, restaurants & other members of the local meat supply chain.

Read more below to learn more about them, and explore local Farmers’ Markets and , to buy their great products and support them!

Leahy Stock Farm

6 generations farming in the area, their current farm, Leahy Stock Farm was started in 1997 in Douro-Dummer Township just south of Lakefield.

Leahy Stock Farms are at the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market year round, and Lakefield Farmers’ Market seasonally. Learn more about them and how to purchase their products on their facebook page

Miway Farms

The Telford family has been farming in Peterborough County, just north of the city on Chemong Road, for five generations. The family farm purchased in 1908, is operated by Wayne Telford and his son Mike and is aptly titled ‘MiWay Farms’. Mike Telford also has 3 boys, 2 who are actively learning the trade Learn more about them on their facebook page

Shealand Farms
Kawartha Lakes

Shealand Farms is composed of Marie and Adam who have farmed together since married in 2012, and 4 daughters Madeline(7) Bridget(5) Amelia(3) Abigail(1) who are growing up learning the ropes of the farm, and take an active role everyday. Amongst other enterprises, they run 60 cows/ 4 bulls in their beef production.

We are very proud to have a direct connection to our customers and provide nutritious food to many families. In the end, that is our role as farmers. We enjoy connecting with the people who consume what we produce and strive to make it the tastiest, and safest food possible. The story of where our food comes from and how it arrives at your plate is important to us, and it is something that we hope you will want to share in with us.” Marie Shea

Shealand Farms can be found at the PRFM throughout the year and at the Peterborough Downtown Farmers’ Market & Lakefield Farmers’ Market in the summer season. Learn more about where to find their products on their website and facebook page

Local Abattoirs: Hilts Butcher Shop

Hilts Butcher Shop Ltd. is an OMAFRA inspected meat plant located in Norwood ON, a fourth-generation, owned and operated family business that has been serving the Peterborough, area and beyond for over 37 years.  They: ‘continually strives to provide a safe and wholesome product fresh from the farm to your family.  We offer high quality, uncompromised meat products that are sure to satisfy your specific needs.

Other local Abbattoirs include Otonabee Meat Packers,  locally owned and operated family abbattoir since 1957, supplies both wholesale and retail customers with beef, pork and chicken
Len & Patti’s Butcher Block, a popular butcher located in Kawartha Lakes ON.
Kawartha Meats, is a new local processor of premium quality meats such as lamb, veal, beef, goat and pork.

Supplies: Sunderland Co-op

Sunderland Co-operative Inc. is a Member based Co-operative that provides crop inputs, feed, petroleum, consumer goods as well as related products and grain marketing of selected grains within the East Central Ontario region. They have locations in Peterborough and Lindsay the head office is in Sunderland.

Other farm supply stores in the region include Starfra Feeds

Restaurants & Stores:

This video features Sam’s Place Deli, a fabulous local restaurant that works with Otonabee Meats to showcase and offer lots of local meat to their customers!

Also featured is JoAnne’s Place, a great source for local products including meats, cheeses and produce in our community!

There are lots of shops like these in our community who support local farmers, be sure to visit them and support everyone in the supply chain!

From Farm to You Video Series

To learn more, check out our From Farm to You: Dairy in Our Community video, and other local food videos showcasing farmers and other members of our local food supply chain!

Shop Local For the Holidays

Looking for great gifts for your loved ones this holiday?
Want to support local farmers & producers?

There are lots of ways to buy amazing gifts & show love for your community at the same time!

Do you have someone on your gift list who loves to cook? Or perhaps someone who could use a freshly made meal or treats dropped off at their place?

The best way to cook great food is to use great ingredients! There are many places to pick-up fresh ingredients for all your seasonal cooking & baking needs. This is far from an exhaustive list, if you have additional stores to include or use social media and tag us at @localfoodptbo and #localfoodptbo and we will share on our accounts!

  1. Farmers’ Markets!
    Although many seasonal farmers’ markets are closed for the season, there are still two great Farmers’ Markets, the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market and the Peterborough Farmers’ Market, both open on Saturday mornings. Both are full of fresh locally grown vegetables, eggs, meats & cheeses, maple syrup, honey, as well as baked goods, crafts and more!
    The Lakefield Farmers’ Market is also hosting a special holiday market this Saturday December 6th from 10-2 next to the Lakefield Inn
  2. On Farm Shopping:
    There are many farms that are open for business. Stop by to pick up directly from the farmers at Garden Hill Farmers’ Market, Johnston’s Farm, Kawartha Country Wines, Harley Farms and be sure to tag @localfoodptbo on social media to share others!
  3. Butchers, stores & more!
    There are many locations that are open regularly where you can pick up amazing local products. Some great places to shop local include: Hilts Butcher Shop, Peterborough Food Shop, Kawartha Dairy, Chasing the Cheese, Sunderland Co-Op, Millbrook Mercantile, and more! Be sure to tag @localfoodptbo on social media to share others!
  4. Let someone else do the cooking!
    There are many local restaurants and bakeries that would be happy to do some of the cooking & baking for you! Some great local places that use local ingredients for their creations include Hard Winter Bakery, BE Catering, Kit Coffee and many more!
Photo via Kawartha Country Wines
Photo via Hard Winter Bread
Local Food Ptbo in the Media

Local Food Ptbo in the Media

Thanks to our local media for some amazing coverage of #localfoodptbo

Please get in touch if you would like to learn more or feature this work in a story, we would be happy to chat more about the work!

Peterborough Examiner: : Farms at Work directs shoppers to local food in Peterborough County. March 25th 2020  

Link to CBC Ontario Morning radio interview: at 8 minutes 17 seconds –   

Peterborough Examiner. Farms at Work Launches Local Food Portal. April 16th 2020  

Electric City Magazine. New Website Helps Put Local Food on the Table. April 16 2020

Chex morning show. Invite Local Producers to Thanksgiving. Friday October 9th

Peterborough Currents. Local Farmers Reflect on a Growing Season Like No Other. November 9th, 2020:



Many people associate the local food movement with food grown on farms, but in reality plenty of food is foraged, sourced and harvested from waterways locally in Nogojiwanong and across the world.

One such food with particular cultural, historical and culinary significance in our region is Manoomin, an Anishinaabeg word meaning the “good berry”, known to some as wild rice. For countless generations, manoomin has been integral to the health and well-being of Michi Saagiig Nishinaabeg. Manoomin harvesting is a timeless, seasonal tradition that transfers cultural intergenerational knowledge. Learn about the spiritual and reciprocal relationships between manoomin and the Michi Saagiig Nishinaabeg (Pine Tree Talks)

Photo from Nourish’s Together We Harvest Workshop

There is a great upcoming Pine Tree Talk series, called Manoomin: The Good Seed, hosted by Trent University. This three-part webinar series aims to provide foundational information about Anishinaabe Manoomin (wild rice) and its importance in the territories of the Michi Saagiig Nishinaabeg. Even though manoomin has been growing in the Kawarthas for at least 4,000 years, many people know little about this nutritious seed and its current revitalization in local waterways.

Click here to learn more & register

Check out this great video by local film-maker Brian Mitolo featuring James Whetung of Black Duck Rice to learn more about the process of growing and harvesting manoomin

Anishinaabe Manoomin (Northern Wild Rice) is an ecologically vital freshwater plant species, a key element of Anishinaabeg traditions, health and economy, and a culturally sacred, sustainable food source. The health and protection of Anishinaabe Manoomin is critical to the Kawartha Lakes ecosystem and the broader Great Lakes watershed. The Indigenous Peoples of this territory, the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa Anishinaabeg, have inherent responsibilities and rights to protect, restore, and revitalize their relationships with Manoomin. These include their own ecological, cultural, and economic food systems, which predate colonial settlement in all townships where Manoomin beds exist today or have existed (including in the County of Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes, and Northumberland County). To learn more about the importance of Manoomin & to sign on to help protect, it check out this Declaration for the Protection of Manoomin

Huge thanks to Migrant Farmers!

Huge thanks to Migrant Farmers!

Image from Toronto Star

Every year, migrant farm workers come from across Mexico and the Caribbean to support the physically-demanding work of agriculture in Canada through the federal Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. The workers are essential in ensuring the success and stability of our national food infrastructure; pre-pandemic, over 20,000 migrant workers worked on farms and in greenhouses in Ontario alone. (New Canadians Centre Peterborough) Learn more about the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) from the federal government.

Although much of this work is critical to, and often associated with large scale fruit picking and greenhouse production, there are several farms in our region who rely on the hard-work, skills and dedication of migrant workers as part of their team in order to produce food for our region.

When thanking our farmers for all that they do, it is important to remember the diversity of farmers that exist in our region and just how essential all of them, including many migrant farmers that come to local farms every season, are to putting fresh food on our tables across the region.

This season, Lunar Rhythm Gardens did a series of #MeetTheFarmers posts that gave customers and eaters across the region the chance to get to know some of these migrant farmers working on their farm. Check out their facebook page to learn more. One such profile introduced us to Jaime, he is from Chiapas, a mountainous region in Southern Mexico. There he works in the Coffee Fields. His wife’s name is Marcelina and they have three children. Two boys and a girl. His favourite sport is soccer and he roots for the Cruz Azul team. His favourite food is Tamales. Jaime has been working in Canada for five seasons, mostly in St. Jerome. Quebec. This is his first year working at Lunar Rhythm Gardens.

This spring the Peterborough Examiner posted a piece about the critical contributions of migrant labourers to our local agricultural systems. In the article Erin MClean of McLeans Berry Farm: “points out that without migrant workers the farm couldn’t survive, and the skilled jobs it provides to local workers would disappear … She is also full of praise for her Mexican crew, loyal, reliable workers who return year after year and become “our extended summer family.” McLean Berry Farm has a total of 15 migrant workers, some of which have been working there for nearly 20 years.

In a second Examiner article, Pick Your Own Berries a Go with Arrival of Migrant Workers, local farmers talk about the importance of migrant workers to their farm and our regions food security.

Without the help of their annual staff, McLean said they wouldn’t be able to harvest their crops. “They’re here, they’re reliable, they know what they’re doing, and they’re invaluable. They’re just a great group of guys,” McLean said.

“We’ve got cousins, brothers, siblings and all sorts of different guys that come together that are actually family, and then they just become our extended summer family,” she said. “We use lots of local labour, but they’re our core harvesting team.”

Farmers work getting the strawberry crop ready for another season at McLeans Berry Farm

According to the Lindsay Advocate , the on-set of the covid pandemic created greater strain on this system. This spring, the Advocate learned that the largest field vegetable operation in Kawartha Lakes won’t have a crop without their workers. The farm – which declined to be identified – grows more than 500 acres of vegetables, and has on-farm storage for over 1,500 tonnes of vegetables which are marketed to grocery stores throughout the winter, spring and into early summer, says Maloney.

In Kawartha Lakes there are five farms participating in the program with a total of 43 workers involved. The farms vary in number of workers in the program from a single worker to the large vegetable farm that employs the group of 30. At least one farm said if they can’t get their workers this year, they won’t be able to plant a crop.

This season, we saw like many other things, challenges faced by migrant farmers enhanced by the covid-19 pandemic, and many of these essential workers faced great risk of contracting the virus. Although many local farmers were able to provide safe conditions for migrant farmers, this was unfortunately not the case across the country. To learn more about campaigns around Justice For Migrant Workers check out Food Secure Canada, Harvesting Freedom, & Justice for Migrant Workers

Let’s send a huge thank-you to ALL of our regions farmers for making sure there is food to eat!

Cards sent from community members to local migrant farmers through a New Canadian Centre campaign

Planting Garlic

Planting Garlic

Image from Old World Garden Farms

Growing your own garlic is fun & easy! Garlic fresh from the garden is a taste that is hard to beat, it’s fragrant, flavourful & very good for you. Now, before the snow starts flying, is the perfect time to plant garlic.

One of the greatest things about growing garlic, is, all you need is garlic! Local garlic is best, as it is adapted to growing in our region & at times, garlic shipped from afar can be sprayed so it will not sprout, and in order to grow, it needs to sprout!
So head on down to a local farmers’ market, or visit some great local farms such as Selwyn Garlic to pick up some bulbs and plant your own!

Here are some great tips on growing garlic from Peterborough Master Gardeners and some how to tips from our friends at Nourish, and a how-to video!

Eat Seasonally Year Round!

Eat Seasonally Year Round!

Kale planted for winter harvesting at Cedar Grove Organic Farm

When many people think about eating locally, they picture summer & fall market stands full of abundant local produce and all the amazing fresh fruits and vegetables available in warmer months, but, did you know that you can eat locally year round?

The following are some great ways to eat locally throughout the year:

  1. Learn what is in season and when. Eating seasonally means you are getting fresh, nutritious foods, and they are usually more affordable at peak season! Be sure to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables when they are most abundant, enjoy, and consider canning, freezing or otherwise preserving the bounty when it is available. Below is a great chart, and you can also find lots of links & accompanying recipes from FoodLand Ontario
  2. Eat seasonally: Even the depth of winter can offer an abundance of mushrooms, root crops, squashes and greenhouse grown greens so that you can enjoy fresh produce year round! Visit year-round Farmers’ Markets including Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market and Peterborough Farmers’ Market on Saturdays to stock up on these and other local year round products.
  3. Get to know your meat & dairy producers for year round local food! Check out our newly developed & ever growing list of local farmers at Peterborough Farm Fresh to learn about purchasing local food year round!
  4. Sweeten up: You can purchase honey and maple syrup year round to sweeten up delicious recipes!

Have a Local Thanksgiving!

Here in the Peterborough region, we are lucky to have a huge diversity of farmers, producers and distributors working hard to fill the tables of community members with the freshest most delicious food available!

This Thanksgiving, why not celebrate with a local meal? This thanksgiving may look different than many in the past, perhaps you are skipping the extra large family meal, celebrating with your bubble or hoping for beautiful weather to eat outside. No matter how you celebrate, you can fill your table with fresh local food!

There are many local Farmers’ Markets that will be open on Saturday October 10th, and the week leading up to the long weekend, be sure to stop by to stock up on all kinds of local meats, vegetables, dairy, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, treats and decorations for your tables!

If you would rather order ahead, or skip the market, you can check out Peterborough Farm Fresh for a growing listing of local farmers and look for those taking pre-orders or offering farm pick-ups!

Did you know that if each person spent just $5 per week on Local Food, it would inject $55 million into our local economy annually? Farmers work hard year round to ensure that we have access to fresh delicious foods, this year more than ever they need your support, so why not serve the best food possible, support our local economy and show them some love at the same time?  Buy Local, Buy Fresh!