Summer is over but is the fun all done?
Everyone is busy getting back into a routine after the summer months. Things may seem a little more dull. That shouldn't be the case though!
August ends, the Labour Day weekend passes and now what do you do? The children and youth have gone back to school. All the exciting concerts and events are over, right? Wrong! September and the fall, in general, are packed with lots of fun, family friendly events and activities for you to check out. Many of our Foodlink partners offer tours, PYO (pick your own) patches and on farm entertainment that is just ramping up!
The month of September kicks off with our own annual fundraising event Taste Local! Taste Fresh! The event is taking place September 10th at the scenic Steckle Heritage Farm. With the purchase of a ticket (there are a few still available) you get to sample 17 different farmer/chef food pairings, enjoy some live music provided by Juneyt and pick out your own keepsake pottery plate hand made by local artists from the Waterloo Potters Guild. Taste Local! Taste Fresh! is a wonderful foodie event featuring the bounty from our region.
Moving on from food, several of our local farmers are just opening their gates for their fall season. Shantz Family Farm and Snyders Family Farm are two of these farms. Kevin and Angela Shantz, operate Shantz family farm, located just outside of Kitchener on Bleams Road. Their farm offers an abundance of pumpkins, squash, gourds, corn and more! Visit the corn maze and see if you can make it through. Their PYO patch is massive. It is definitely something fun for all ages to explore. Can you find your perfect carving pumpkin?
Snyders Family Farm is located just outside of Cambridge off of Cedar Creek Road/#97 Highway. John and Meghan Snyder offer a large assortment of pumpkins, gourds and fall decorations. Along with these products, they also have some very unique attractions to check out on their farm. I was able to chat a bit with Meghan about what they are up to this year.
1) There have been a lot of changes happening at the farm this year. What are some new and exciting things that your customers will be able to enjoy?
We have probably never worked so hard to add things to the farm (and we work hard every year). This year we hired 8 summer staff and have added more activities for our guests to enjoy then ever before. A new jump pad, playground, a goat walk and pedal cart track have been added. Also, we have renovated the barnyard area. On top of all of this, we added 2 new food areas! A poutinery and a fritter house (with ice cream) have been added for our guests to enjoy.
2) I saw something chocolate covered on your social media. It looked super delicious! Can you give some more information about these types of items?
Our full-time farm manager and I went to IAAPA, a conference for theme parks, in November. We learned so many things about food and that people really love chocolate! While we make over 10,000 caramel/candy apples in a year we wanted to add chocolate as an option. After investing in the machine and trying an amazing top quality milk chocolate, we added it to a few other items we make from scratch in our bakery like butter tarts and rice crisps! It has been a hit. We truly are foodies ourselves and try to innovate and bring people great new things all the time. We are bringing in Sheldon Creek Dairy and Kawartha Lakes Ice Cream along with Maple Tap Syrup. We are trying to connect more with our local community.
3) Your farm is packed with lots of fun family friendly activities. Do you also offer something for those who enjoy a thrilling, heart stopping adventure?
Fear Farm! It is our night time events not recommended for anyone under 12. We have been working on it for over 15 years, and it is really an amazing show! The show includes 6 haunts, 3 food areas and NEW this year is a beer garden. It is amazing where people travel from to see it. An hour drive is very common for our visitors.
4) A number of acres on your farm are set aside for your pumpkin patch. Is that PYO?
We have about 10 acres in PYO. About 40 acres are for us. Families love to venture out to the patch and pick their very own pumpkin. This year was a great growing year and the fields look great! Last year we had to spend about 2 weeks irrigating due to the drought so we were thankful for the rain this year. We are really excited to start expanding into our Christmas season as well. With 5,000 trees planted in the ground and growing, we are hoping to start opening for a second season in a few years!
So needless to say, there are lots for the family to enjoy. Many of our Farmer's Markets are still open. The fall bounty is just starting. There is so much that our region has to offer. I encourage you to get out and explore the area. Don't forget, you can check out our website at www.foodlink.ca for an online version of our map to find a place near you!