As I sit here –eating cinnamon apple overnight oats, sipping rich, nutty coffee, and feeling a crisp breeze float through my window –I could not be more in love with fall. This is the time when temperatures turn cold, but colours and flavours turn warm. It’s a time for hearty vegetables, creamy soups, spicy dishes, crunchy apples, and rich casseroles.
It’s also, for many, a time to give thanks; to come together as families, friends, and communities and appreciate what we have. This fall, check out one of the festivals below to applaud the hearty flavours of fall, celebrate those who work tirelessly to produce our food, and indulge in rich local offerings from across Ontario’s Highlands. No matter the temperature outside, the flavours at these events are sure to warm you from the inside, out.
Location: Stirling, ON
September 16, 2017
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Just thinking about this festival makes my mouth water. Soft mozzarella di bufala, ricotta, and tender meats, along with local wines and beers –yes, please! There’s also the chance to pet or ride a live water buffalo, and to snap a pic with an adorable baby buffalo calf.
Location: North Lanark Regional Museum, Almonte
September 17, 2017
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
If I’m being honest, I’m not much of a car expert. I don’t know much about engines, makes, or models, but it doesn’t take an expert to see the beauty and pride behind a shined up classic car. With an underlying friendliness woven through the event, there’s also the possibility for non-experts like myself to learn a little by striking up a conversation. And if that’s not enough, there is of course apple pie –flaky, gooey, and sweet, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. There is no fruit that epitomizes fall quite the way the apple does and this is one chance to celebrate it.
Location: Various Locations Across the Ottawa Valley
September 16, 30 & October 14, 2017
With jams, jellies, baked goods, fresh produce, furniture, art, and more, it’s a real wonder how many products can be found locally in the Ottawa Valley! The Taste of the Valley events move around the Ottawa Valley and go beyond a typical food festival, celebrating not only food, but all types of products produced by local residents. Check out an event this fall in Renfrew, Deep River, or Cobden.
Location: Irondale’s Heritage Church, Irondale
September 23, 2017
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
There’s a special kind of excitement that fills me when I visit my local farm stand – excitement at the possibilities that can be found in the fresh food and the meals that can be created around seasonal products. This festival captures that excitement, celebrates the spirit of the community, and is the chance to discover the local flavours and rich history of the region, with informative displays, historical tours, and opportunities to meet and engage with local vendors and producers. With children’s games and crafts, and activities taking place throughout the day, there truly is something for the whole family.
Location: Hoch Farm, Killaloe
September 30, 2017 & October 7, 2017
10:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m.
Every Saturday from mid-June to Thanksgiving, the Killaloe Farmers’ Market brings together local products and local flavours –essentially offering a food festival each weekend! You can also discover a piece of history at the Farmhouse Museum onsite and have the chance to uncover hidden gems at the Hoch Barn Flea Market. This fall, they’re amping up two weekends with special events that have my mouth watering just at the thought: the 112th Anniversary of Hoch Farm on September 30 and Hochtoberfest on October 7. Indulge in anniversary cake, or celebrate the Eastern European culture with snacks like baklava, spinach and cheese roulades, cabbage rolls, and sausage or fish on a bun while you dance along to live German music. In addition to local food prepared and offered each weekend, there are also incredible hand-made products –like blankets, rugs, blown glass, wood and leather crafts –and locally produced food you can bring home to enjoy later –think maple syrup, jams and jellies, frozen meat, kambucha, garlic, and more.
Storyteller: Jennifer Gilmer. Hometown: Port Hope, ON
Jennifer is a lover of cats, small towns, and everything chocolate. When she isn’t looking for opportunities to try out new recipes or dishes, or reading countless books, she’s busy planning her next road trip and encouraging others to search out hidden gems. Some of her happiest moments include basking in the sun at the end of a dock, laughing the day away at a backyard barbecue, or letting her creativity flow during an evening of sketching with a glass of wine at her side.