Monday, September 28, 2009

Wellington Rural Romp

It seems like weeks since my boyfriend and I have been able to spend any time together, just the two of us. So, what could be better than jumping in the Jeep and driving all over Wellington County for the third annual Rural Romp.
The romping started bright and early this morning with a trip to the Guelph Farmer's Market. Since I go to the market every Saturday morning, this was just a quick trip to grab the weekly necessities. Many food stuffs are at the end of their season and I was lucky enough to get a couple of large baskets of roma tomatoes. They make a delicious homemade tomato sauce. We visited our new friends at Backyard Bounty, grabbed enough greens for the week, and headed out on the open road. First stop, Mapleton's Organic.
Mapleton's Organic was the furthest away so we thought we'd start there. I love driving in the country in the autumn. The colours are spectacular.

There wasn't much going on at Mapleton's so Alex and I walked around and looked at the animals. We spent some time hanging out with the cows, goats, alpacas and the pig. I really wanted to pick up some yogurt but we had a long day ahead of us, and it was a little early for ice ceam. Unfortunately, we didn't get to talk to the owner of Mapleton's. A reported from Cogeco News was setting up to interview him. I hope to return another day, when time permits a conversation. Mapleton's Fat Free Plain Yogurt is, afterall, my yogurt of choice.

From Mapleton's we headed to Shepherd's Watch 100 Mile Market, where we met Carol. Alex and I had very recently talked about how cool it would be if there was a local market that sold entirely local food stuffs. Here it was, in the heart of Arthur, Ontario.

Shepherd's Watch carries local produce, meats, pastas, grains and artisan cheese and yogurt. They also sell wool products, country photography and hand knitted crafts.
Their market doubles as a cafe where they serve homemade meals made from real farm food. What a great idea!! Carol urged us to visit Lynda at their farm. We purchased two coffees (Fair Trade coffee from Birds and Beans in Toronto), as well as some Bison, Wild Boar and Blueberry sausages. We'll be having them for dinner tonight. We said our goodbyes to Carol and made our way out to Shepherds Watch Farm to meet Lynda.

When we arrived at the farm another couple was just finishing a tour with Lynda so we wandered around and checked out the sheep. They seemed to know no boundaries, wandering freely all over the property. bawling at one another when left alone. Lynda took us on a fantastic tour, introducing us to the fascinating world of sheep farming. I was especially interested in the cheese making process. I will save the details for a blog which will be entirely devoted to Shepherd's Watch. For now, I'll say that we thoroughly enjoyed Lynda's company. She was knowledgeable and friendly and I look forward to writing the blog about their operation soon.

From Shepherd's Watch farm, Alex and I headed down Hwy. 6 toward Cox Creek Cellars. What romp is complete without a little wine tasting? I had never tried Cox Creek wines, let alone visited their cellars. For obvious reasons, a winery is a popular stop on a rural tour. We weren't surprised to see that it was busy when we got there.
After looking over the list of available wines, Alex and I selected a few that we wanted to try. First on the list was Russet Fantasy, an apple wine. It was light and crisp and delicious. In the whites, we also tried Cox Creek White and Peach Symphony. Since we had just bought a large basket of peaches at the Farmers Market earlier that morning, we chose the Peach Symphony to accompany a near future dessert that I had yet to plan.
For the reds, we selected three wines; Oak Barrel Aged Blackberry Wine, Cox Creek Red (made from the Baco Noir Grape) and the Pinot Noir, a Chestnut barrel aged grape wine. Personally, I found the blackberry wine far too sweet for my tastebuds. We chose the Pinot Noir. It was light but flavourful and would make a wonderful accompiament to some future 100 Mile meal. The young lady who served our wine was informativew and sweet. We opted to skip the tour since there were a lot of people there and I prefer a more one-on-one meeting where I can ask a lot of questions without an audience. Alex and I decided that we would return to Cox Creek another day. There will be an entire blog devoted to Cox Creek in the near future.
From Cox Creek we headed to Magda Farm, but on the way the Jeep decided it had had enough of the Romp. Somewhere on Fourth Line, between County Road 22 and 20, it overheated. We found ourselves stuck in the middle of nowhere, cold and hungry, in the pouring rain. Luckily, Magda Farm was literally a 2 minute drive away. We opted to stop there and tour around while the Jeep's engine cooled.
I had very recently sworn off grocery store meat for good. I don't like the idea that I don't know if hormones or antibiotics were used on the animal. I don't know what the animal has been eating and I don't know how it was treated. All of these factors play an important role in the decision making process when it comes to purchasing meat. When we stumbled upon Magda Farm we found everything we were looking for. Vegetarianism, while an easy choice for some, proved to be difficult for Alex and I. We are not afraid to admit that we eat and love eating meat... but not just any meat.

Since we were the last to grace her farm, we had Vera all to ourselves. She took us on a tour of the farm to show us the animals. While we walked she explained their farming methods, some fixed, some experimental. What was clear was her passion. She obviously loves what she does and really cares about the animals well-being. Magda Farm offers eggs from free-range hens, pasture-fed beef, free-run pork, as well as some roasters. The animals are hormone and antibiotic free and their feed is 100% non-GMO. Look for a future spotlight on Magda Farm. Alex and I had a really nice time chatting with Vera, but since the Romp was technically at its end, we purchased some eggs and meat and hit the road.

I'd like to tell you that this story ended happily, but it didn't. Somewhere just past Magda Farm, the Jeep decided that it had had enough of our day of romping and stopped. We had to be towed along the back roads to a mechanic. All in all, it was a wonderful day though. Alex and I met some wonderful people and learned a lot. Yay! for Rural Romp 2009!


  1. Hello I stumbled accross your blog from Eat Local London. I have enjoyed everything I have read so far. I visit with my sister who lives in Cambridge several times a year. We were in the area this past weekend, I have looked long and hard to find organic apples the last year. I found some very close to you at It is an Organic Orchard and bed and breakfast in Goldstone about 30 minutes from Waterloo a very nice drive. I purchased two bushels of apples this weekend, I have made a couple large batches of applesauce and am putting away a few pies. They are Heirloom apples not the prettiest ones I have seem but very very good. Just thought you might be interested if you don't already know about them

  2. Thank you, anonymous locavore :)
    I have not heard of them.... hopefully, I can get some this weekend. Thanks for the tip!

  3. They will be pressing cider as well, wish I had room in my freezer for some. Might have to look into an additional small one.