Reclaiming the Land of the Kawarthas by a New Generation of Canadians
What defines the physical and cultural landscape of this part of south-central Ontario are the Kawartha Lakes and other waterways that crisscross the region. So beautiful is the area that the Ojibwa gave it the name kawartha meaning ‘land of shining waters’.
There has been a large influx of the sons and daughters of Peterborough’s original inhabitants who have returned to the city and to the Kawarthas to make the area bloom. Their love of the land and what it can produce has drawn them back to the farm.
Traynor Farms was our next destination. The owner, Greg, gave us a tour of his operation which is known for its beef production. It was a bit sad to learn that, after only three years of life, the beautiful organic-fed calves will then be sent off to slaughter. Such is the cycle of life, I thought, as Greg pointed out to us the next animal to be sent to be butchered. After a short tour of the premises - a beautiful well-kept farm - we then were invited for lunch in the barn. The meal was what I would call ‘rustic farmer’s fare’ and it was good. However, watching the calves as they stared at us took some of the enjoyment away from the beef on our plates.
We traveled from cattle to goats as we next arrived at Cross Wind Farm, a storybook-like scene of tranquil rural life except for the bleating of its 500 young goats. This family-run organic farm owned by Cindy and Kevin, produces full-fat goat milk, yogurt, and artisan cheeses, all produced on the farm. The goat milk is so fresh that after the 4:30 a.m. milking, it is pasteurized in the farm’s production room, then bottled and ready for sale by 3 p.m. the same afternoon. The farm’s creamy and fluffy textured cheese is available in 12 flavours, from savoury to slightly sweet. They have a creamy Feta available in aged cheddar-style and a bloomy rind crottini-style cheese. Goat yogurt, made of 100% goat milk, is one of their best-sellers.
Goat meat is also for sale in a variety of cuts. A unique tender sausage made with 100% goat meat is one of their specialties. Their new product, a luxurious Goat Milk Body Butter, promises to make the skin feel silky and smooth. Gratified that these animals could provide so much for the well-being of the human body, we moved on to our lodgings.
Next morning after breakfast, we entered the Kawartha County Winery and behold, before us, were dozens of shelved types of wines from red to white, dry and sweet, premium fruit wines as well as cider and even their new wild rice wine. Cooking wines such as pumpkin and others flavoured with garlic and onion and much more were also available. Imagine, right after breakfast, a wine-tasting jamboree!
As we were about to purchase some of this winery’s alcoholic drinks, we walked past shelves of the winery’s own wine jellies, fruit vinegars and preserves. In the heart of Ontario’s cottage country it was nice to find a general store containing the best of Ontario’s home-produced wine products all available at once from the Winery’s 22 acres of farmland that produces apples, pears, raspberries, rhubarb, grapes, and maple trees.
A bit tipsy, we boarded our van until the next stop, McLean Berry Farm. Erin greeted us at the entrance to her farm, welcoming us with enthusiasm and warmth. Her parents had started the farm in 1991 after having lived as hippies, building sailboats, picking oysters and traveling around the world. When they returned to Peterborough, Erin’s father, then in his 40s, began to cultivate the 99 acres of his newly purchased farmland. Specializing in raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, the family is now hoping to expand into “new berries.” The farm’s future will also include vegetables as their new greenhouse is the beginning of this forthcoming enterprise. In addition, the family has opened a nearby location called Buckhorn Berry Farm.
As we sat in our van feeling blessed by what we had witnessed in the revitalization of the region by young people, we drove through a tree-filled green countryside dotted with farms until we reached Peterborough. It was a beautiful landscape filled with people who are working hard to enhance the natural wonders of Peterborough and the Kawarthas.
If You Go
Peterborough and the Kawarthas Tourism: 1400 Crawford Drive, Peterborough, Ontario K9J 6X6; Tel: 1-800-461-6424; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://thekawarthas.ca/
Circle Organic: 338 Country Road 10, Millbrook, Ontario L0A 1G0; Tel: 705-932-9888; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.circleorganic.ca/
Traynor Farms: 2193 County Road, #2, Otonabee, Ontario K9J 6X7; Tel: 705-931-0696; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.traynorbeeffarms.ca/
Cross Wind Farm: 1616 Villiers Line, Keene, Ontario K0L 2G0; Tel: 705-295-6049; Fax: 705-295-5105; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.crosswindfarm.ca/
Kawartha Country Wines: 2452 County Road 36, Buckhorn, Ontario K0L 1J0; Tel: 705-657-9916; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://kawarthacountrywines.ca/
McLean Berry Farm: 2191 16th Line of Smith, Lakefield, Ontario K0L 2H0; Tel: 705-657-2134; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.mcleanberryfarm.com/
Hard Winter Bread Company: P.O. Box 77, Lakefield, Ontario K0L 2H0; Tel: 705-931-4922; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.hardwinterbreadco.com/
About the author:
Canadin author Habeeb Salloum grew up in Saskatchewan, joined the RCAF during the Second World War, and then worked for the Canadian Department of National Revenue for 36 years. For the last 30 years he has been a full-time freelance writer and author specializing in food, history and travel. Besides 7 books and 20 chapters in books, he has written hundreds of articles about culture, food, travel, history and homesteading in western Canada for numerous Canadian and international publications such as the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. Habeeb was awarded the 2013 Saskatchewan Tourism Travel Media Award by Saskatchewan Tourism (Provincial Government of Saskatchewan) for his literary work on travel, tourism and the culinary arts of that province. firstname.lastname@example.org