As we enter into the first week of Fall, the leaves are changing and so are market and farm stands. Tomatoes are giving way to squash, colourful root crops are providing a rainbow of delicousness to meals.
Chefs and home cooks a like are bringing out their soup pots & roasting pans, canning and freezing the last of summer abundance and enjoying all that our local food system has to offer!
Eating local is a great way to support individual and community health!
Local Food is Fresh!
Eating locally, and in season means that you are consuming freshly picked foods. Produce in larger grocery stores could have been picked many weeks ago & travelled long distances to get to your plate. Local food is often picked shortly before arriving at market, farm stands and even on local grocery shelves. Fresher picked means more nutrients and healthier ingredients!
Watching the seasons unfold with local food can bring a cornucopia of delights to your plate. Spring often brings tender greens, asparagus and the first of the fresh produce. As summer comes along, so does an abundance of summer squashes, the first of the root crops and other delights. As the days get warmer consumers can purchase a huge diversity of fruits and vegetables across our community. Once fall starts to show signs of leaves changing, market stalls are covered with the ends of summer produce as well as diversity of squashes and root crops. Of course, the Peterborough region also has many amazing meat and dairy farmers as well as syrup and honey producers who can provide fresh, local ingredients year round. Eating seasonally provides nutritionally dense and delicious foods!
Not only is eating local and seasonal food great for your health, but it is great for your community too. My shopping local, you are supporting local farmers, and the money stays in your community! Looking to find local producers? Here is a great list of Farmers’ Markets in the region, and Peterborough Farm Fresh is a newly launched tool helps you find great local farmers to support
Fall Fairs have been a tradition in this region, and many others for a very long time. They give local farmers, gardeners and students a chance to showcase their prized livestock, vegetables and crafts, and visitors the chance to learn more about local farms and the diversity of local farmers and farm products available in our region. They are a time for rural and urban dwellers to come together and appreciate the farming culture in their communities.
This year, like so many other things, many of the fall fairs have been cancelled, but organizers are working hard to continue the spirit of the fairs despite all these changes. Find a list of local Agricultural Fairs, and any updates for 2020 here.
2020 would have been the 175th anniversary of the Peterborough Ex, to adjust to the times, the Ex is hosting an on-line fair this fall, entries are open to rural and urban residents alike and include such fun activities as ‘Best Front Yard’, “Longest Dog Tail’ and “Longest Zucchini”. Check out their site http://www.peterboroughex.ca/ and enter today! They will be sharing stories about their history, entries and winners from this season and more on their facebook page, so you can follow along in the fun!
The Norwood Fall Fair , a popular tradition in this area has been running every Thanksgiving weekend since 1868! Sadly, this year, it has been cancelled due to Covid-19, but do check out their website www.norwoodfair.com to see lots of highlights from past years, and start planning your entries for years to come!
The Toronto Garlic Festival, a popular event, where garlic farmers from all over Ontario and beyond get together with garlic lovers to celebrate this potent root, has also gone on-line this season. They will have music, speakers and cooking demos for garlic lovers to follow along with!
If you are a gardener, you may have lots of home grown goodness coming out of your garden, but if you want to purchase some locally, visit local Farmers’ Markets and farm stands to stock up! Follow us on social media @localfoodptbo for constantly updated suggestions on where to source!
There are lots of great ways to preserve the abundance of harvest season. Most do not require much special equipment or extreme skills.
Another simple way to preserve fresh harvests is drying. This works great for herbs, and if you have a dehydrater (or oven on very low heat for 12 hours plus!) you can also dry fruit and vegetables for the winter! Here are some great tips from Earth Easy.
Farmers have always been adaptable and resilient. Facing fluctuating weather, markets and diets, they have always found a way to continue their important work, and keep our communities fed.
This season, has brought new challenges that many would’ve never expected, not only has there been a massive drought, but a global pandemic hit right at the beginning of the season, forcing farmers to adapt on the fly and pivot into new ways of distributing and selling their products. Here in the Kawartha region, we are lucky to have so many amazing farmers (learn more about some of them in these great videos!)
It is no surprise to anyone that knows these farmers that they were able to come up with creative solutions quickly, and continue to provide our region with fresh, healthy, amazing locally grown goods throughout it all.
Although most of our local Farmers’ Markets have been able to re-open safely, at the beginning of the season there were a lot of unknowns including whether many of the places where farmers sold their food would be available. Restaurants were shutting their doors, farmers markets scrambling to figure out ways to safely open, and many other avenues for sales seemingly drying up over night.
Many farms worked hard to come up with great solutions, they opened up or expanded hours of their farm stands and CSA’s (Community Shared Agriculture), they partnered with stores that were doing curb side pick up (e.g Peterborough Food Shop) and like they always do, farmers got creative.
Some amazing local examples include: Three Forks Farms expanded their on-line order & delivery services Riel Acres built a beautiful farm stand and opened up shop Wednesdays and Saturdays McLeans Berry Farm set-up an on-line ordering shop to customers could pre-order to pick up at market & adapted their U-pick protocols often to keep the public safe. These are just a few of many amazing examples!
Now more than ever, it is important to support these farms. Not only are you helping farmers weather this storm, but you are contributing to our local economy and getting incredible fresh, local food in return!
Be sure to explore this website and our social media to find ways to support these farmers locally, learn where to purchase their great food direct, or from those that are helping distribute products.
Tell us about how you accessed local food during Covid-19, what farmers went above and beyond, are you having trouble finding local food? Check us out on social media @localfoodptbo and use #localfoodptbo to showcase your story, farmers & customers, we want to hear from you.
It’s harvest time, now is the time to stock up, preserve and enjoy all the bounty that our region has to offer!
As you may already know, this website along with an accompanying social media campaign aims to showcase and promote the many facets of our local food systems.
The website and social media are getting lots of traction, and now that harvest season is in full swing, we would love your help in spreading the word further, our goal is to reach 2000 followers by October 1st, and help local businesses thrive while communities learn more about accessing local food.
Here’s how you can help: 1) Explore the website www.localfoodptbo.ca for loads of great links and information!
2) Follow us on Facebook, instagram and twitter @localfoodptbo, if you haven’t already and be sure to tag #localfoodptbo in any of your related social media posts (We will share them on your behalf and help everyone reach a wider audience!)
3) Do a specific social media post promoting the website, social and #localfoodptbo
4) Do you have a newsletter that you could include the website and social media promotions in? We are happy to share some copy or write a short blurb to be shared if of interest.
We are happy to hear your ideas on how we can work together to get more people learning about our local food systems and purchasing more locally grown goodness!