Once a year, for a period of time in June, those sweet, juicy, locally-grown strawberries start popping up in farmer’s markets and restaurants around Ontario. The window for strawberry season is short, so it’s best to get your fill of the little gems while you can. For some, that may mean popping them into your mouth by the handful, for others it’s muddling them into a cocktail or spreading preserves on toast. Keep reading to discover where you can sample strawberries in their many delightful forms around Ontario’s Highlands.
With their flavour amplified at the height of freshness, the widespread use of strawberries in sweet treats is an obvious choice. See if you can get your hands on a strawberry cruffin – that’s a croissant/muffin hybrid – from Fieldhouse in Perth, where flavours are rotated on a daily basis. If berry-filled desserts are your jam (no pun intended), Memories Bakery & Tea Room in Maynooth frequently features strawberries in their cakes, pies, scones, and other daily specials. Or take your strawberries with cream in the form of Tracey’s Ice Cream, served in their Renfrew store front and ice cream shops across the Ottawa Valley.
Something about berries in a cocktail just hits the spot when you’re soaking up the summer sun. Stop into Perth to see how Top Shelf Distillers makes their strawberry flavoured Reunion Moonshine during a distillery tour, and follow it up with a sampling or bring some home to create your own new cocktail. Stay overnight in town and enjoy a strawberry margarita on the incredible patio at Mex & Co. You’re likely to find mixologists all around the region incorporating strawberries into their drinks this month, like the Maple Pimms Cup with sliced berries we spotted recently at the Almonte Lobby Bar.
One spot you’re guaranteed to find Ontario strawberries is at our various farmers’ markets. Make it easy on yourself by picking up a basket or two from a friendly farmer at spots like Haliburton Farmer’s Market and Pembroke Farmer’s Market – two great options where you’re sure to spot the little red jewels – just try not to eat them all before you get home. Tasha’s Table takes her home-grown berries and makes them into preserves with elevated flavours like strawberry lavender, which can be found at the Artisan and Farmer’s Market in Lanark.
Pick Your Own
Have you ever picked up strawberries at the grocery store that looked fine to you, only to be disappointed when you got them home? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hand pick the berries that were calling your name? Dive head first into strawberry season with a visit to one of our pick-your-own farms, like Beckwith Berries or Mississippi Berries, both just an hour or less from Ottawa. Fill your basket with fresh berries to take home and enjoy as is, or in your favourite homemade goodies.