Sweet Hot Coriander Salmon with Strawberry Tomato Salad

A simple rub for this Sweet Hot Coriander Salmon and Strawberry Tomato Salad and it’s ready for the grill. The salad is a simple as chopping and tossing. some fruits and veggies.

Now the ingredients are a little quirky but when I saw a recipe online for coriander roasted strawberries I knew this would work with my favorite fish as well. I’m here to testify that they are a fantastic combination and I loved it!  You have to know by know that I’m usually going to throw some kind of twist to the recipe, right?  The kitchen is meant to be fun!

You can grill this or pan fry and toss it in the oven. I’ve included both instruction and it will give you melt-in-your mouth deliciousness. You’ll want to use a good pan, preferably cast-iron. I have regular cast iron as well as  enamel-coated cast iron pans that I use for almost everything.  You’re going to sear it briefly on high heat then pop it into the oven for a few minutes and presto – dinner is served!

Follow us on Facebook for more delicious farm-fresh recipes, and updates on our growing seasons!

Recipe courtesy of Simply Fresh Dinners,  A partner with Barrie Hill Farms in bringing fresh recipes to your table.

What are you doing with your strawberries?  We’d love to see what you’re up to in your kitchen.  Tag us at @barriehillfarms or #barriehillfarms so we can share your creativity!

Sweet Hot Coriander Salmon with Strawberry Tomato Salad

A simple rub for this Sweet Hot Coriander Salmon and Strawberry Tomato Salad and it's ready for the grill. The salad is a simple as chopping and tossing. some fruits and veggies.
 


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: grilled salmon
Servings: 4
Calories: 104kcal

Ingredients

  • SALMON
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 5 ounce pieces of wild salmon
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander
  • 1.5 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • pinch of sea salt
  • STRAWBERRY SALAD
  • 1,5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped in half
  • 1/2 pound assorted small heirloom, cherry and grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon loosely packed lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • SALMON
  • Preheat oven to 400F
    Combine coriander, brown sugar, chili powder, Sriracha sauce in a small bowl. Season with salt. Pat salmon dry and rub mixture into both sides of fish, including skin. Let sit for 15 minutes. In the meantime make the salad.

  • OVEN METHOD
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large non-stick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Sear salmon fillets skin-side up 2 minutes. Flip, then transfer skillet to oven and cook 7-10 minutes more or until salmon is just cooked through. (depending on thickness) Be careful not to overcook. Mine took 7 minutes and my oven tends to run hot.

  • GRILLING METHOD
  • Place the salmon, skin-side-down, on the grill and cover. Cook, undisturbed, until the salmon just starts to release its fat (opaque mayonnaise-like stuff) and/or the flesh flakes easily, 10 to 15 minutes for most 1 inch thick fillets. Allow another 10 minutes for each extra inch of thickness.

  • Good salmon is expensive so if unsure, use a thermometer. It makes life so much easier!

  • SALAD
  • Combine all ingredients and serve in bowl or arrange on platter leaving room in center for salmon. Make this first because the salmon is going to require your attention.

Nutrition

Serving: 141g | Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 820IU | Vitamin C: 41.8mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Strawberry Recipes from Barrie Hill Farms

Fresh Strawberry Cake

Sugar Free Strawberry Topping

Fresh Strawberry Lemonade with Rhubarb

A calendar showing when crops are available at Barrie Hills Farm.

Beef Stir Fry with Asparagus, Snap Peas & Fiddleheads

This quick and easy Beef Stir Fry with Asparagus, Snap Peas & Fiddleheads is our celebration of spring.  Quick, easy and very versatile, this dish packs a flavor punch!

Why We Love Stir Fry Dishes

  • It’s quick, easy and a great way to add more vegetables to your children’s meals
  • It’s versatile – include your favorite veggies and use the opportunity to clean out the fridge!
  • Double the recipe for leftovers the next night
  • Add some rice and this recipe is perfect for meal prep
  • It’s a great way to stretch your food dollars

We had some exciting news this weekend!  Farmer Morris announced that you can now Pick Your Own Asparagus at the farm.  Barrie Hill Farms is the first farm in Ontario to do this and we are very excited to send hungry customers out on the wagons to the asparagus fields!

Tips for Cooking Stir Fry Recipes:

  • If you’re adding a lot of beef, cook it in batches.   Lay the strips down and let cook for 2 minutes undisturbed on high heat.  Turn over once golden brown and cook for 1 more minute.
  • If you want your dish super saucy because it’s going over rice, double the cornstarch/water mixture
  • I wanted to feature asparagus and fiddleheads so my dish is all green but this is a great recipe to include lots of colors.  Kids respond to bright colors on their plates and different textures as well.
  • Serve on wild rice rather than minute rice.  Wild rice is an excellent plant based protein and has a unique flavor.  Many gourmet blends are available and some can be cooked in just 20 minutes.
  • NOTE:  Fiddleheads cannot be eaten raw.  To learn more about these fun ferns, click HERE.

 

Follow us on Facebook for more delicious farm-fresh recipes, and updates on our growing seasons!

Recipe courtesy of Simply Fresh Dinners,  A partner with Barrie Hill Farms in bringing fresh recipes to your table.

 

More Asparagus Recipes from Barrie Hill Farms

Lemon Butter Asparagus 

Asparagus Salsa

Shaved Asparagus Salad

A calendar showing when crops are available at Barrie Hills Farm.

Stir Fry Beef with Asparagus, Snap Peas & Fiddleheads

This quick and easy Beef Stir Fry with Asparagus, Snap Peas & Fiddleheads is our celebration of spring. Quick, easy and very versatile, this dish packs a flavor punch!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: stir fried asparagus
Servings: 4
Calories: 439kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 12-16 ounces Strip loin steak (or your favorite cut)
  • salt and pepper - for steak
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces snap peas, washed and trimmed
  • 4 ounces fiddleheads, washed and trimmed
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water. (optional to add at the end. If you don't want a super saucy dish, skip this final step)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook rice according to package directions.  Fluff with a fork when done.  Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on high heat. Season beef generously with salt and pepper.  Add beef strips.  Cook on one side undisturbed for 2 minutes, turn off and cook for 1 more minutes.  Cook in batches if required.  Set aside on a plate.
  • Heat additional oil if required.  Add ginger and garlic and heat to medium high. Add asparagus, peas and fiddleheads with beef stock, sherry, tamari or soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper as required. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Return beef to wok and heat until warmed through. 
    Optional, add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.
  • Spoon over cooked rice and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 505mg | Potassium: 1069mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2490IU | Vitamin C: 48.6mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 6.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apple

This simple and easy recipe contains the deliciousness of sprouts, apple and thyme tossed with olive oil and fresh apple cider!

  I topped it with a few pomegranate arils as well to add more colour.  Did you know they contain Vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants?

Barrie Hill Farms Brussels Sprouts Salad

Leave those stray leaves on your baking tray.  They cook up quickly and you may have to remove them when you toss them halfway through but they add a great crunch to the dish.

Barrie Hill Farms – Brussels sprouts and apples

I also added peeled garlic cloves to this but it seems I took this picture before I included them.  This is totally optional but it’s a wonderful addition for garlic addicts like myself.

This dish used the apples from the very first crop of apples from  Barrie Hill Farms.  They pressed their own apple cider right at the farm.  Can’t get any fresher than that!

Barrie Hill Farms, fresh apple cider

I need one of these machines.   Hmmm, I guess I better get myself an apple orchard first.   You can see why I get so crazy excited about working with the farm!

Barrie Hill Farms – Making Apple Cider

These Gala and Honey Crisp apples were the best I’ve tasted.

The Many Health Benefits to Apples!

  • Improves neurological health
  • Helps in preventing dementia
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Lowering levels of bad cholestrol
  • Reduces your risk of diabetes
Barrie Hill Farms – Making Apple Cider

The result?  A healthy, vegan dish that is super tasty, colorful and the perfect side dish any day of the week.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Apples

This simple and easy recipe contains the deliciousness of sprouts, apple and thyme tossed with olive oil and fresh apple cider!
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: brussels sprouts and apples
Servings: 4
Calories: 154kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 apple, diced. I used Gala apples. Leave skin on if organic.
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, halved
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • small handful of sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 cup apple cider (Zieglars Apple Cider is gluten free, as are many others)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate arils

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Place apples, sprouts and garlic in medium sized bowl.
  • Combine cider, olive oil and pepper in a small bowl, mixing well. Pour mixture over apple combo and stir gently until well coated.
  • Spread mixture on baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes and toss. Remove any stray leaves that are getting crunchy. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes or until sprouts are slightly browned. Remove.
  • Place in serving bowl and top with pomegranate arils if desired and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 540mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 880IU | Vitamin C: 100.7mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Follow us on Facebook for more delicious farm-fresh recipes, and updates on our growing seasons!

Recipe courtesy of Simply Fresh Dinners,  A partner with Barrie Hill Farms in bringing fresh recipes to your table.

 

More Apple Recipes from Barrie Hill Farms

Goat Cheese Bruschetta with Honey Crisp Apple

Oven Roast Chicken Breast with Apples and Grapes

A calendar showing when crops are available at Barrie Hills Farm.

Making the Most of Your Fresh Ontario Produce: Use Your Clean Kitchen Scraps

Kitchen produce scraps

Are you trying to make the most of your local Ontario produce, to reduce your food waste, or to save a few dollars? There are many reasons to try and cut down on kitchen waste, but whatever your reason there are many ways to get the job done. From repurposing kitchen scraps into meals, regrowing vegetables or even using those scraps as compost materials – it’s not difficult to find a method that you can easily work into your lifestyle.

Recipes using Kitchen Scraps

It’s easy to throw out those little scraps of food that don’t seem to have much value like potato peels, parmesan rinds, and old berries. We even throw away vegetable pieces like broccoli stems, onion peels or cauliflower leaves that we don’t usually eat because most people don’t know all the different ways you can use them. Once you start reusing those little kitchen scraps, you’ll be amazed at how much you were throwing away before.

Some of the easier ways to use up those kitchen scraps include: flavoured salts (use leftover lemon peels, or herb stems), stock (can use up almost any scraps), pasta sauce (can use scraps, or even the pulp from juicing), and bone broth (you can use frozen or fresh bones).

There are many parts of vegetables that we usually discard that we can make use in some unexpected ways. Cauliflower leaves or the outer leaves of brussel sprouts can be crisp roasted and salted for a nutty healthy snack. Broccoli stems can be spiralized into noodles, potato peels make crispy thin fries, apple peels can be dried for snacks, and swiss chard stems can be pickled.

If you want to put a little more effort in, you can make jams from too-soft berries, or bread from old zucchini, squash or bananas. You can even make some tasty limoncello using leftover lemon peels, or a fruit shrub to be sipped in the hot summer months.

Grow Your Own Local Food

There are quite a few fruits and vegetables that you can use the ends of to replant and grow yourself, either indoors during the winter months or outside in your garden. This helps reduce your kitchen waste, continues the local food cycle, reduces your grocery cost and helps keep them on hand when you need them.

Depending on your garden set-up you may only be able to regrow window herbs, but even this small step can be rewarding. Another unexpected food you can grow indoors are mushrooms, they love dark, cool and moist environments like your basement or under your sink. If you have a larger outdoor space you’re able to set your sights higher and get a little more ambitious. Vegetables with a base are usually the easiest to try and regrow such as lettuce, celery, and onions. Simply leave a good base on it and stick it into water, after some time you’ll notice tiny white roots starting to grow and you can carefully transfer it into a pot or the ground.

Another way to continue the local food cycle at home is to collect seeds from vegetables like pumpkins, peppers, bean sprouts, apples, peaches, lemons or chestnuts. Germinating them is the first step, then plant them in your outdoor space!

Compost your Local Food Scraps

If you have kitchen scraps that you can’t repurpose, a great alternative to throwing them away is to create a home composter. Placing your composter in a sunny location with good drainage that is easily accessible year round.

Compostable Items

  • All vegetable and fruit wastes
  • Coffee grounds and paper filters, tea bags
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Grains
  • Corn cobs and outer husks
  • Anything made from flour (bread, noodles, pizza crusts etc)

Non-Compostable Items

(These items will attract rodents and maggots, will cause your compost to smell, and will create an imbalance in the breakdown process.)

  • Any kind of meat or bones etc
  • Any part of a fish
  • All dairy products (cheese, butter, yogurt etc)
  • Grease or oils

Thinking Local is Good for the Environment

According to a report from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, every Canadian on average throws away 170 kilograms of food a year. That makes Canada one of the biggest food wasters on the planet, higher than both United States and Mexico. Buying local at farmers markets, picking your own and repurposing food scraps are all ways to reduce food waste, while at the same time helping yourself and your family. We hope to see you back here at the farm soon to enjoy more delicious local Ontario produce.

5 Ways to Preserve your Local Ontario Produce

Preserving fresh fruits

Many of us are doing our best to eat local Ontario produce, but one of the major difficulties in the Canadian climate is how to continue this throughout the year. Whether you’re buying your fruits and vegetables from farmers markets in Ontario or you’re growing your own, preserving the nutrient-rich produce is a concern. Try your hand at food preserving this year, and read on to find out our top five ways to preserve your food.

Fresh Food Storage

The easiest way to store you local produce is by fresh storage. All that this straightforward option requires is a cool, dark space such as a root cellar, basement or garage. Produce such as onions, garlic, root vegetables and apples last a long time in conditions like this.

Fridge Food Storage

Using your fridge is a similar storage option to fresh storage, but the temperature and moisture levels are lowered. Food items like carrots and beets do very well in this manner of storage. You can place them into large freezer bags and eat them as you need.

Freezer Food Storage

Freezing your local produce is a great option that will preserve the closest flavour and texture to fresh. If you are planning on using this option often, it is recommended that you use a chest freezer because it doesn’t have the usual defrost cycle of a kitchen freezer.

Some vegetables will require you to blanched or steamed first to stop the enzyme action (which will cause loss of flavour, colour and nutrients), but others can be stored raw. Foods such as peppers and kale store great in freezer bags or containers.

Pickling or Fermentation Storage

This is a little more of an involved storage option, but one that can help foods last for over a year in fridge storage. Fermented foods retain a lot of their nutrients in storage, more than canned foods, and has the added benefit of bacteria that is excellent for your gut health. Pickling options that work the best are cabbage, onions, carrots, eggs, and cucumbers.  

Canning Storage

The final, but most complex storage option is canning. Using a large stockpot with a lid you’ll cover your jars with water to sterilize them. You can use this method to preserve your fermented foods longer, as well as jams and jellies, or tomatoes. You can use a pressure canner for lower acid foods such as carrots, beans, sauces, broths and soups but you will need to purchase one specifically for this.

Local Produce is the Best Reward

Keeping your fresh foods as delicious as the day you brought them doesn’t have to be a difficult as you might think. Choosing which storage option appeals to you most can make this process easier and thus more likely for you to continue. Being able to eat your home grown foods in the depths of winter will be a satisfying reward for your hard work. We’re looking forward to seeing you back on the farm in the spring.

Best Spots to Eat Local in Barrie

Best Places to Eat Local Food in Barrie

With our abundance of farmers markets in the Barrie area, eating local in the summer is an easy and delicious task. Once winter arrives it can get a little harder and your creativity will have to come out. There are still plenty of options however, and with a little planning ahead you can provide yourself with canned, jarred or pickled fresh local foods to feast upon once the snows come.

Winter Farmers Markets

Winter meals have traditionally been focused on roasted vegetables, slow cooked stews, colourful veggies and fruit thawed out of the freezer, or preserved items. But where to find these items if you haven’t had time in the summer months to squirrel away your own supply? In our area there are two main farmers markets that stay open year round and simple move their goods indoors: the Barrie Farmers Market, and the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers Market. At either of these places you’re able to find plenty of options to fill your winter pantry, as well as crisp fresh foods that are grown indoors that will help keep you healthy during the darker months.

At the Barrie Farmers Market, located in the City Hall rotunda on Saturdays 8am-12pm, you’ll be able to browse from over 42 different vendors including local farms, chefs, bakers and specialized artisans. What better way to celebrate the holidays and supporting your community than by giving locally made foods and gifts. The Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers Market is located near the entrance of the Agricultural Society on Saturdays from 8am-1pm. They have over 37 different vendors that provide a variety of local goods including vegetables, maple syrup, preserved goods, baked items and specialty made products such as soaps and woodworking.

What Local Foods Can I Buy In the Winter?

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are so many delicious local food options in the winter months, but taking a look at Foodland Ontario monthly availability guide will help you to plan before you head out to the farmers market. Many of these options come from indoor greenhouses, and by adding in these fresh items you’ll help to keep your immune system healthy and your taste buds from getting bored with stews and soups. Take a look through some of our recipes to find ways to incorporate local foods into your meals.

Even unexpected items like rhubarb are available fresh in Ontario from January to June. Called ‘forced winter rhubarb’, it used to be so common that at one point there were over 60 winter-rhubarb farmers in Ontario alone. Since the 1960’s the general public has forgotten about this tangy and crisp treat but it’s beginning to make a comeback. Grown indoors in darkened areas, the lack of sunlight means that it doesn’t develop it’s usual bitter taste, and stays red all the way through. A perfect mid-winter treat to bring out and amaze your family and friends.

Non-seasonal local foods like eggs, oils, honey, jams, maple syrup, fresh and cured meats, wine, cider and beers, cheeses, and fermented, canned or jarred foods are always available from Ontario farmers markets.

Farm-to-Table Restaurants

In the Simcoe and Barrie area there are several restaurants that serve dishes made using locally sourced ingredients. Why not spend your night out at an establishment that supports the community, the environment and your health.

Era67 is an Orillia based restaurant whose menu focuses on food that is in season and locally sourced whenever possible. They make all their dishes daily, do not use pre-packaged foods, and source their ingredients from local farmers markets and vendors.

Craving’s Fine Food & Market is a Barrie space that provides to-order foods and catering options. Their carefully curated menu uses local foods and in-season ingredients to create dishes that will satisfy everyone.

Ripe Juicery has two locations in Barrie, and one in Muskoka. They create cold pressed organic juices that strive to improve their customer’s health, and supports their local community by using local farm sourced ingredients.

Mad Craving’s is a modern bbq and bakery that creates mouth-watering foods from scratch using hormone and antibiotic free meats, and local produce from farms in the area.

The Globe Restaurant  is based out of Alliston and stays connected to its local farms and neighbours by using a farm-to-table menu inspired by seasonal food availability and sustainability.

Eat Local Year Round

Eating fresh and local year round doesn’t have to be impossible – even in our cold Canadian climate. From preserving your own local fruits and vegetables, to trips to the local farmers market, or a night out at a farm-to-table restaurant, you’ll be surprised at how easy eating local in the winter can be. We look forward to seeing you again at Barrie Hill Farms in the spring when our our farm market opens.

Top Recipes Featuring Locally Grown Ontario Foods

top-local-food- recipes-holiday-dinner

With the holidays and first day of winter coming up soon, there’s no better time to plan out a lovely dinner of local food recipes that will bring together your family and friends. From appetizers to dessert, we have all your local food bases covered in a delicious grouping of Ontario asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, and apples.

Ontario Strawberry and Blueberry Savoury Appetizers

It’s chilly outside, but your house is warm from the oven and filled with the mouth-watering scent of home cooked foods. Your family and friends arrive, cheeks red from the snow and ravenous from the drive – but don’t worry, you’re ready and waiting with two amazing appetizer options. The first is a Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa that pairs perfectly with your favourite cracker or some corn tortillas. It’s sweet and spicy flavours combine in a unique and tongue tingling way, and best of all you only need strawberries, Jalapeno, red onion, cilantro and lime.

If you think that your guests are amazed at your culinary prowess now, just wait until they see your Balsamic Blueberry Steak Crostinis. These delightful bite sized snacks are a perfect combination of sweet and savoury, and are completely customizable. This crostini recipe includes steak that’s as spiced as you want, your favourite soft cheese, a tangy green such as spinach or arugula, and an Ontario blueberry balsamic dressing. Not only does this dish make an impressive presentation and taste delicious, but the blueberries provide some amazing health benefits as well.

Ontario Apple and Asparagus Main Courses

Everyone has settled in by now, the wine and conversations are flowing and you’re ready to unveil the next dish – a winter chill-defying Asparagus, Spinach & Garlic Soup. This simple dish is made using only a few ingredients, but never fails to impress with it’s elegant presentation. You can add in milk or Ontario potatoes if you want to make it creamier or thicker, and the garlic in the recipe lends an extra savoury note to this humble but warming dish.

It’s time for the main event, and in a fresh twist on a classic dish you’ve prepared Oven Roasted Chicken with Apples & Grapes. The combination of meat and fruit will surprise not only your guests, but their taste buds as well. The addition of sweet Ontario apples and tart grapes brings out the natural flavours in your chicken and adds additional juiciness to the entire dish. This healthy and deceptively simple main course shows amazingly on your table and will definitely spark a conversation.

Nestled beside your chicken is the fantastically colourful Autumn Kale, Apple & Quinoa Salad that combines some of our favourite tasty superfoods. This salad looks complex but will only take you a couple minutes to prepare, and can be customized in a couple of ways to suit your taste. Barrie Hill Farms grows a variety of Ontario apples, all of which can be picked yourself from our fields. The Zestar! apple was chosen for this recipe because of its sweet-tart taste that can be compared to a Honey Crisp. It’s firm crisp flesh holds up very nicely if you want to make it ahead of time for dinner.

Local Strawberries for Holiday Desserts

Dinner is over and everyone is sated, smiling and nestled down by the fire to chat and laugh, but you’re not done yet! You have one last showstopper of a dish to finish out an amazing and delicious night: a Sugar-Free Strawberry topping. This super simple, three-ingredient dish is sugar free and can be eaten on its own or on top of any number of desserts. Pairs perfectly with a drink and some entertaining stories from the past.

Locally Grown Foods All Year Long

This is the time of year when we gather to celebrate the past 12 months, and what better way to do it than with local foods gathered from the fields in your neighbourhood. Here at Barrie Hill Farms we’re eagerly looking forward to spring, but until then are making use of our winter stores of fresh produce to create some delicious recipes for family and friends.

What is Farm Fresh Produce, and Why Does it Matter?

Farm Fresh Produce & Why it Matters

What comes to mind when you think of farm fresh produce? Does it bring to mind the simple pleasure of choosing a pint of local strawberries to take home, of deciding which pumpkin most clearly says ‘pick me!’ Or is it the knowledge that you’re choosing something deliciously good for your health, your hometown and your neighbours?

Local food is commonly defined as produce sold within 50 kilometers of where it was grown, but for some it also means food grown by people they know and can talk to at the farm market; food that supports small-scale values and a community-based focus.

The emphasis on what is in our foods, on where it is grown, how it is grown, and how that impacts the environment has become more mainstream in recent years. This is a change for the better, because our food has the power to improve our health and well-being as well as the our environment.

Health Benefits of Eating Farm Fresh Produce

It’s called farm fresh produce for a reason! Locally grown foods have a leg up on the competition when it comes to both nutritional value and taste. Once picked, fruits and vegetables begin to lose that nutritional value and so the longer they wait in storage the less rich in vitamin C, E, A and B they will become – so while that produce sits inside trucks and warehouses it’s losing that magic green power.

Local farms are able to allow produce to ripen much longer than imported, which adds to the nutrition value immediately. Also, how produce is handled after being picked also plays a part in its nutritional value; rough handling, mechanical harvesters or long transport can combine to reduce the quality, taste and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables.

Environmental Positives of Local Farming

Of the pick-your-own farms in Ontario, Barrie Hill Farms is a leader in sustainable farming practices which help protect our environment. It is one of the first to have earned the designation of LFP Certified. This certification from The Land Food People Foundation signifies that we follow these guidelines in our focus to create sustainable agriculture for the future:

  1. To reduce or eliminate synthetic pesticides and fertilizers
  2. Avoid the use of hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering
  3. Conserve soil and water
  4. Ensure safe and fair working conditions
  5. Provide healthy and humane care for livestock
  6. Protect and enhance wildlife habitat and biodiversity
  7. Reduce on-farm energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

Water usage is a major environmental topic that many Canadian farms focus on. The use of drip irrigation allows us to deposit water directly to the plant’s root, thus minimizing the amount of water required. In addition, keeping the plants dry aboveground reduces leaf disease and fruit mold which helps us in our quest to reduce pesticides.

Choosing food grown from farms in Barrie also helps to reduce your carbon footprint in two main ways. The fewer kilometers your food has to travel from the field to your plate, the fewer transportation emissions are in our air! Local farming also helps to promote the preservation of our green spaces by encouraging youth to continue farming traditions, or even start their own local farming operation.

 

Local farming is just as important today as it was hundreds of years ago and though many of the reasons are different, many of them remain the same: our health, a connection to one another and our land. There’s no better feeling than biting into a strawberry pie made with fruit you picked from the soil yourself, or buying a pumpkin from someone who you know grew it locally.

There’s a lot of disconnection from our food sources in this day and age, and choosing farm fresh produce means making healthier choice for our bodies and the environment. Make Barrie Hill Farms a regular part of your meal planning for your own health and the health of our community.

 

 

Pumpkin Picking Tips for Kids of All Ages

A pick your own pumpkin patch in the sunshine

Picking your own pumpkins is the perfect way to celebrate the spooky season, and that’s why kids of all ages love it. Getting outside and finding the perfectly round or ‘perfectly imperfect’ pumpkin is an excellent way to enjoy the fall sunshine.  

In Ontario, we are fortunate to be close to the pumpkin farm.  This means you don’t have to settle for a store bought version.  Here are our tips for the best pumpkin picking outing – ever!

Dress Appropriately for the Pumpkin Patch

Don’t be afraid to dress spookily, but warmly. Make the occasion fun by letting the kids try out their costumes while they explore the pumpkin patch. Rubber boots, a warm hat, and gloves are always recommended for a chilly October day. For parents, we recommend a pair of work gloves and clothes that are easily washed, because sometimes the pumpkins in the field can be a little dirty.

Gather a Little Inspiration

Visit Pinterest for some great pumpkin carving ideas.  If you don’t like getting your hands gooey, try a fun craft, such as pumpkin painting. Think outside the box for decorating. Faces are fun, but for a more sophisticated front porch, you can use a power drill to make little holes in the shape of an interesting pattern. Once you have an idea in mind, you can start your pumpkin search.

What to Bring to the Pumpkin Patch

We recommend you bring paper towels and some old newspaper or a garbage bag to wrap your pumpkin to keep your car clean. You may want to bring some garden shears to cut the vine if it is still attached. Check with your farm to see if you can bring a child’s wagon to load your pumpkin haul back to the car. Bring a camera too. You won’t want to miss the perfect pumpkin Instagram opportunity. #pumpkinpatch

Pick A Pumpkin with Character

Natural lumps and bumps make great scary faces. Stems make creative pumpkin noses. Don’t be afraid to pick a pumpkin with character. The best pumpkins are the ones that are unique.  Your pumpkin patch may also have a selection of pumpkin ‘babies’. These are actually called ‘gourds’ and make excellent fall decorations.

Handling Pumpkins

Pumpkins that are ripe and ready for picking have an even orange colour, sound hollow when they are tapped and have a dried out stem. Clip the pumpkin from the vine, leaving 3-5 inches of stem. Pick up your pumpkin from the bottom, not from the stem, because it may break. Once you arrive home, it’s best to leave your pumpkin outside in the sunshine. Bringing it inside may cause it to rot before the big day.

Barrie Hill Farms has pumpkins available for picking in good supply from late September until the end of October.  For more information, visit our pumpkin picking page.

8 Reasons to Visit the Pumpkin Farm and Apple Orchard this Fall

Pumpkin Farm Barrie Hill Farms

Every fall should celebrate the changing of the seasons. But in the midst of back-to-school from summer vacation, homework, and a return to being busy, families often forget. But fall shouldn’t be all about work! Take a day off and enjoy the fall season: the crisp fall air, the colours of the leaves, and of course, a trip to the farm.

There are many, many reasons to plan a visit to the pumpkin farm. Here, we’ve listed a few of our favourites, and some you may not have thought of before:

The Pumpkin Farm and Apple Orchard is Close to Home.

Pumpkin Farms and Apple Orchards are always close by in Ontario. We have a proud agricultural tradition, as one of Canada’s best farming regions. It’s especially important to plan a trip to the country, even if you’re in the city. Let the kids discover first-hand where their food comes from.

Picking Pumpkins is So Much Fun.

Even big kids enjoy carving Jack-o-Lanterns. Some people look for the biggest, bumpiest pumpkin to make the scariest Jack-o-Lantern. Others look for symmetry. The perfect pumpkin is sitting in the field, waiting for you.

Pumpkins are Good For You.

Pumpkins are tasty when roasted, and so are their seeds. Pumpkins are loaded with vitamins A, C, and potassium, and high in fibre. They are high in iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and contain 3 different carotenoids. Try roasting pumpkin by cutting it up and seasoning lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Put the ‘Thanks’ into Thanksgiving.

Whether it’s roasted pumpkin, pumpkin pie, or other delicious fall treats from the farm, such as apples, you’ll feel grateful for the harvest. Feel connected to your food source and appreciate the freshness of farm-to-table eating.

Spend the Day Outside.

Don’t spend the fall indoors. When the winter comes, you have many indoor days ahead. Get your dose of fresh air and vitamin D. The added bonus is how well you’ll sleep at night.

Stock-up on Other Festive Fall Decor.

Your Pumpkin Farm or Apple Orchard often sells perfect items to decorate your home for fall. Look for multicolour corn, hay bales, corn stalks, mums and other items to make your front porch more welcoming.

Sweets to Take Home.

Fresh apple cider, sparkling cider, and baked goods are typical finds at your local farm. Set a pot of cider on the stove and let it simmer with cinnamon sticks and cloves to add a wonderful, warm scent to your home. While you’re at it, bring home some pie and other seasonal baked goods, as well as other locally-sourced goodies such as maple syrup or honey.

Postpone the Holidays. Just a Little!

Everyone loves the Holidays so much, it’s easy to see why the Fall is overlooked in preparations for December. But may we suggest leaving it until November? Savour the wonder of fall, the joy of the harvest, and make Fall last a little longer! Eating farm-to-table and discovering the ‘roots’ of our food, makes us slow down just a little bit – and that’s a good thing.

If you’re convinced, plan to make a fall visit to the pumpkin farm and the apple orchard at Barrie Hill Farms to fully appreciate the changing seasons and the delicious taste of fresh-picked apples and get your pumpkin for Halloween.