Food + Drink Spring 2019

What to sip, sample and savour this spring.

March 19, 2019 | | Food + Drink

Forest foraging / Edible Wild

If you go into the woods today… you might just come home with dinner. Edible Wild Food’s master naturalist Karen Stephenson has foraged in local forests for ten years and has taught the pursuit to other people for five. She’s leading a forest hunt for edible and medicinal plants on June 8 starting at 10am for the Dufferin Simcoe Land Stewardship Network. The walk takes place in the Tottenham Tract of the Simcoe County Forest.

Plants such as broadleaf plantain, dandelion, chickweed, stinging nettle, violets and yellow dock top Karen’s spring and early summer wish list. “Not only are these easy to add to existing recipes, the nutritional levels are very high,” she says. “I love being a chemist in my kitchen, coming up with new flavoured vinegars, herbal salts and oils to use in a variety of ways.”

She’s as keen on educating others as she is on botany. “Many people are simply stunned by the concept of free, nutritionally potent food found in the forest. People are realizing the ‘food-like substances’ in stores are the root cause of many illnesses and they are seeking nutritious foods they can trust. Foraging is one way to ensure what you’re eating is healthy.”

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  • Karen’s foraged finds also make their way into her medicine cabinet. Skin salves made with plantain and chickweed can relieve itchy skin and irritation due to stings and bites, for instance. Come for the combination hike/grocery shop en plein air and stay for the freshly steeped wild plant beverage at the end (bring your own mug). Registration required at

    For more on Karen, visit

    Blue eggs from Twisted Cedars Farms in Mono. Photo by Mandy Resendes.

    Blue eggs from Twisted Cedars Farms in Mono. Photo by Mandy Resendes.

    Our pick / Heritage eggs

    They look like Easter eggs, but that’s not dye on these pastel shells – the colour is natural pigment produced by rare-breed chickens. Not only would these heritage eggs make a delightful (and tasty) Easter centrepiece, buying them helps farmers protect the genetic diversity of their flocks.

    Mandy Resendes and Geoffrey Lawrence have been raising the Araucana and Ameraucana breeds, known for their blue eggs, and other mixes of hens for three and a half years at Twisted Cedars Farms in Mono. “Our hens are local and loved,” Mandy says. Email them for availability and directions at [email protected].

    Also in Mono, the Curry family sells their rainbow beauties (as well as regular eggs) from a cooler at the end of their Providence Meadows driveway on Mono Centre Road. Call ahead at 519-942-9505 to check availability.

    Both farms sell their colourful eggs for $5 a dozen.

    Take note / More meal delivery

    Dialling up a homemade meal just keeps getting easier in our hills. Hockley’s Rachel MacKay offers personal chef and delivery services through Hearts & Beets. She whips up dairy- and gluten-free meals with both vegan and omnivore options. For rich comfort food made from scratch, such as pasta or shepherd’s pie, Orangeville-based Nana’s Kitchen delivers frozen individual and family-sized meals made by owner Alicia Kielburger. and

    The Classic from Caramel Café in Bolton. Photo by Pete Paterson.

    The Classic from Caramel Café in Bolton. Photo by Pete Paterson.

    Just a bite / Caramel Café

    Caramel Café is Bolton’s newest dessert and coffee house, located on Parr Boulevard. Consider dropping in for the most popular item on the menu, the Classic. Owner Ali Abdolrazzak calls the enormous confection “the best of everything,” with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, chocolate pearls, whipped cream and Belgian chocolate sauce piled high on either a crêpe ($13.50) or waffle ($14.50) made from scratch. The dessert is meant to induce “a craving to come back for more,” says Ali. We think he’s succeeded.

    Shelly Witzke’s Inside Your Cupboards workshops in Palgrave. Photo by Rebeccah Newcombe.

    Shelly Witzke’s Inside Your Cupboards workshops in Palgrave. Photo by Rebeccah Newcombe.

    Sign up / Meet the Cupboard Whisperer

    In a rut with meal planning? Shelly Witzke’s Inside Your Cupboards workshops in Palgrave can save you from the dinner blahs. On the evening of Friday April 12, learn three weeknight dinner ideas that take 30 minutes or less to make at home, along with efficient prep habits and chef skills. The next morning (Saturday), check out her recurring bread baking series with the Artisan Bread, Cheeseburger Pizza and Caramel Sticky Buns workshop. At a time when carbs can seem taboo, Shelly calmly puts the coffee on and shares her love of the scent and texture of fresh, homemade dough. “We make friends and influence people when we serve these breads, and our families remember them forever,” she says.

    You can also fill the void on Easter Monday with Pancakes + Waffles + Kids = Fun, a kid-friendly session on making waffles and pancakes in various shapes and textures including waffle sticks, rounded bubble waffles and pancakes – the last served with an egg on top.


    Oh so yummy butter chicken. Shutterstock 489193066.

    Oh so yummy butter chicken. Shutterstock 489193066.

    Menu minute / Bring on the butter chicken

    Creamy, zingy butter chicken – we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to this cozy Indian staple. In Orangeville, head to the venerable Coriander Kitchen or Foal Village Pub on Broadway, or to the newly opened Curry Mantra in the west end of town. To the south, Indian Sizzler on Kennedy Road in Caledon has you covered. And to the north, butter chicken is standard fare in the pub at Mono Cliffs Inn. Or plan ahead for the times when you’re in homebody mode and stock up on Rosemont General Store’s mouth-watering frozen version.


    Take a taste bud trip

    The second annual Shelburne Multicultural Day is happening at Centre Dufferin District High School on May 4 from noon to 4pm. In addition to eye-opening activities such as First Nations drumming and Caribbean folk poetry, there will be a wide range of nibbles. Last year visitors sampled jerk chicken, fried plantain, samosas, candied bacon and a deep-fried Guyanese snack called pholourie.

    Contact organizer Althea Casamento at [email protected] to contribute and visit Shelburne Multicultural Day on Facebook for updates.

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  • Drink up / Country Brew

    Caledon-made Country Brew is a new brand comprising two kinds of effervescent fermented drinks: kombucha, brewed with black tea and sugar, and jun (rhymes with fun), made from green tea and honey. Hits of added flavour come from berries, lemon or chai seasoning.

    “Through exposure to chemicals, pollutants and antibiotics, our bodies become depleted of necessary good bacteria and yeast,” says co-owner Shawna McFadyen. “Our products replenish these substances and taste great too.”

    They’re available at local outlets including the Rosemont General Store.

    With files from Kira Wronska Dorward

    About the Author More by Janice Quirt

    Janice Quirt is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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