If there is one season that speaks to me more than the others, it's autumn - 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, but it's also a time for fall festivals that centre around celebrating the harvest and the goodness it brings.

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.

Open Farms - Frontenac County

Where: Various small farms 
When: Sept. 10-11, 2022

This event is an agriculturally-focused experience designed to bring visitors into small farms to meet the farmers, ask questions, and savour the flavours of the region. In Frontenac County you can visit Back Forty Artisan Cheese for a farm tour and cheese tasting, or reserve your spot for a six-course, farm-to-table dinner. At Woodland Priestess in Arden, Tawny Stowe will educate visitors on the basics of permaculture and the benefits it brings to small scale agriculture. Tickets for both experiences must be purchased in advance.

Lanark County Harvest Festival  - Lanark County

Where: Beckwith Park, 1319 9th Line, Carleton Place
When: Sept. 11, 2022, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

When it's harvest time in Lanark County you know this is where you want to be. At the Lanark County Harvest Festival you can chat with local farmers, pick up fresh produce, baked goods, canned goods and browse artisan products at the same time. The festival is free and has plenty of activities to keep little ones occupied while you stock up on whatever you need to get through the winter. Watch as local chefs whip up delicious dishes using in-season produce for inspiration on what to do with your own harvest haul.

Taste of Tweed  - Hastings County

Where: Tweed Memorial Park
When: Sept. 11, 2022,  11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Taste the best of Tweed at this culinary event that celebrates local food producers and local chefs. Watch as professional chefs create an innovative dish using in-season farm products. Sample products from local breweries and wineries, stock up on goodies from the farmers' market, and listen to live music during this all day event. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 

Taste of the Valley - Ottawa Valley

Where: Various Locations Across the Ottawa Valley
When: September 21 & October 5, 6 & 19, 2019

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, Arnprior, or Cobden.

Irondale’s Family Harvest Festival - Haliburton Highlands

Where: Irondale’s Heritage Church, Irondale
When: Sept. 24, 2022, 11 a.m. to 4 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.

Fall in Love with Maple - Ontario's Highlands

Where: Various locations across Ontario's Highlands
When: Sept. 24 to Oct. 2, 2022

Maple season doesn't have to be just for spring! If you love maple and want to stock up on this sweet product for winter while learning more about how maple syrup is produced, this is a must do for fall. See the brilliance of a maple forest in fall, with its blazing oranges and yellows, and a carpet of colour to walk on. Participating producers are located at various sugarbushes in Ontario's Highlands. Visit the website to find one near you.

Storyteller:

Jennifer Gilmer

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 the dock, laughing the day away at a backyard barbeque, or letting her creativity flow during an evening of sketching with a glass of wine at her side.