By Ewa Chwojko-Srawley

Since 2018, locals and visitors have embraced their inner agrarian spirit, embarking on the annual self-guided tour of local farms.

This year, nine farms swung open their gates to shower us with goodies, from flowers to honey, from dairy to meats. All things fresh, natural, and farm-tastically fantastic!

At Elmgrove Farm, veggies are celebrities. Zandra Zalucky, a grower, says, “I’ve been participating in the Field to Table Tour from the beginning. Every year, it gets better, but this year exceeded my expectations.”

About 20 varieties of veggies were disappearing from the stand as if by magic. Zandra, who traded Toronto for Georgina ten years ago, clearly has a green thumb.

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“Before moving here, I didn’t know I would have a passion for farming. I just fell in love with the place and farm work,” she says.

“I grow a variety of vegetables because Mother Nature is all about diversity, and I just follow her lead. I don’t use chemicals or tilling. Instead, I follow my intuition: disturb the soil as little as possible, grow different crops together, use hand tools, and let Nature do its work,” she adds.

Zalucky and fellow growers lease plots at Elmgrove Farm, owned by Hans and Loes Pape since 2001. Hessel Pape, Hans’ brother, reminisces, “It was founded in 1949 as a chemical-free haven, though ‘organic’ wasn’t the buzzword back then.”

Hessel & Zalucky at Elmgrove Farm
Barbershop Choir at Elmgrove Farm

Surrounded by curious youngsters, Hessel explains the nearly forgotten arts of spinning and weaving, transporting us back to a bygone era. Thanks to people like him, this tour isn’t just about purchasing farm-fresh delights; it is also a lively history lesson.

To round out the farm experience, Zandra invited a local Barbershop choir led by Dr. Ray Danley. It was a treat to enjoy harmonious melodies amidst the fields while savouring dishes crafted by Chef Doris Fin, using ingredients sourced directly from the farm.

Aiden and his lamb Delilah
Max Pollard at Pollard Farm

The Hutchings farm had young helpers on hand. 14-year-old Aiden welcomed visitors with a one-month-old lamb named Delilah cradled in his arms.

Surrounded by kids and adults, he shared insights about life on the farm, the intricacies of raising sheep, and the various possibilities with wool. “I might end up a farmer one day,” he said with a smile. “It’s tough work, but it’s a blast.”

Cloverhill Farm also has a team of young helpers who assist mom Amanda and grandma Debbie Gordon in running their family-operated flower farm.

Amanda and her husband renovated a more than 100-year-old farmhouse and launched a sustainably grown flower business in 2016.

It was the most photographed spot on the entire tour. No visitor could resist taking a stroll amidst some 50 varieties of flowers!

Debbie Gordon at Cloverhill Farm
Beekeeper Christopher Campbell at Cloverhill Farm
Bethany and Andrew at ClearWater Farm
Alex Smith and Georgia Spence at ClearWater Farm

It was also in 2016 that the 180-year-old Reed Farm was transformed into ClearWater Farm. It is famous for its warm welcome to kids, teaching them about the environment through fun activities. There was a load of cool stuff to keep them super entertained! Meanwhile, the grown-ups had a blast checking out the amazing variety of homegrown tomatoes and other goodies.

If you missed the tour, the farms are still welcoming visitors. Here is a list of places you can explore: www.georgina.ca/field-table

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