A Taste of Norfolk County

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Norfolk County promotes itself as “Ontario’s Garden,” and if you’ve spent any length of time there, it’s easy to see why. Much of the county benefits from its close relationship with Lake Erie, with a milder climate and sandy soils. In fact, Norfolk County is the fifth largest agricultural region in Ontario, with farmers raising livestock, growing a long list of produce including apples, asparagus, cabbage, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, sweet corn, and much, much more.

 

 

Things haven’t always been smooth, however. 20-odd years ago, Norfolk was known as “Ontario’s Tobacco Belt,” rather than its garden. As pressures from anti-smoking movements rose, farmers who had been growing tobacco for years found themselves in a tight spot. The county began the process of reinventing itself, and as people become increasingly interested in local food, Norfolk has become something of a hot spot for agri-tourism. These passionate people work hard to bring a taste of Norfolk County into the lives of both tourists and locals.

 

 

One organization shining a light on all things local is Norfolk Farms. Run by Norfolk Tourism, Norfolk Farms is a great resource on finding local farm and markets, learning what’s in season, and getting some info on the people doing the growing. Their list of restaurants who serve local food makes it easy to find where your food is coming from. Try Norfolk’s Toast the Coast trail, and check out the wineries and breweries. And speaking of checking out wineries and breweries…

 

 

Norfolk’s own Ride the Bine has got you covered. What’s a bine, you ask? Owners Amanda and Susan say that not only does it combine the best of both worlds, beer and wine, a bine is actually a climbing plant that hops grow on! Having both grown up in Norfolk County, Amanda and Susan decided they would start their own business, helping people check out the corners of Norfolk they know and love- the wineries and breweries. They pick up groups in their stylish ride, and tour them through several locations (complete with taste test, of course). And if you need to work off all that local food and drink…

 

 

Red Apple Rides provides a way to get your touring and your exercise done at the same time. Offering a serious foodie tour, or a leisurely lunch and ride, Red Apple Rides takes you through the delicious local offerings in and around Port Dover. You’ll even learn some local history as you cycle on your guided tour! They’re pretty easy to spot, thanks to “Big Red,” their truck.

 

 

There’s a lot going on in Norfolk County- keep up with the Norfolk Flavours Newsletter, and keep an eye on FreshSpoke as we continue to showcase more producers from beautiful Norfolk.

 

Laura Hiebert is the Regional Ambassador to Southwestern Ontario with FreshSpoke. You can connect with Laura on Linkedin, and keep up with FreshSpoke on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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