Food + Drink Summer 2020

Summer’s new normal: Shopping shifts, beer pie – and the rise of the takeout menu.

June 25, 2020 | | Food + Drink

Staples saviours

Here in the hills, we’re spoiled with top-notch local food shops, many of which quickly added online ordering and touchless pickup this spring. One twist we didn’t see coming: Everyone from artisanal shops to restaurants and food services jumped in to hack their own supply chains and add meat boxes and other staples to their virtual shelves. Bravo.

Here’s a sampling of our finds:

Rosemont General Store in Mulmur shut down table service, but added basics like flour and produce to their solid takeout lineup of frozen dinners, fresh baked goods and hot meals – including pizza. Just as the heatwaves hit, they opened a soft-serve ice cream takeout window for socially distanced cones. Don’t want to linger? Take a tub to go. (We consider that a staple. Don’t judge.)

New Horning’s Mills spot Market in the Mills hit its stride providing the four Ps – pickles, pizza, patties and pork – and more. Look for steaks and chicken fresh from Collingwood’s 4M farms.

Philadelphia Kitchen in Orangeville connected customers to hefty quantities of hard-to-find yeast and flour. Nearby restaurant Deja Vu Diner jumped on Facebook to offer frozen meat boxes, clever DIY pizza and cookie kits, and farm-to-table goodies from Hockley’s Peaceful Valley Farm, including eggs, fresh cinnamon buns and apple fritters. Orangeville’s Lavender Blue Catering added basic groceries (Texas toast anyone?) to their prepared food menus. Nifty Nook Restaurant in Mono added meat boxes big enough to feed families all summer. Even Caledon’s healthy delivery service, Temple Nutrition, added grocery boxes to their lineup.

Waste not

Many of us have become vegetable gardeners now. Which means there’s a good chance there will be bumper crops in our backyards. Enter Orangeville’s Urban Harvest Program, run by the town’s Sustainable Orangeville committee. They’re asking professional and amateur growers – of fruit and vegetables – to consider donating some of their excess bounty to food banks and other local agencies. They need it more than ever.

Last year Sustainable Orangeville’s Martina Rowley worked with Caledon’s Spirit Tree Estate Cidery to turn 450 pounds of donated apples into cider for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Orangeville Food Bank. To register, email [email protected]

Newsflash: Food is Love

One thing this pandemic has taught us is that good deeds grow like weeds in these hills. But they taste way better (sorry, dandelions). We’ve heard about too many free meals and groceries to mention. One standout hero – Indian food stalwart Curry Mantra in Orangeville offered weekly “courtesy meals” free to those experiencing illness, isolation or food scarcity. Mono’s 10 and 10 Garden Centre gave away seed potatoes if you pledged to grow them for food banks. Orangeville’s Philadelphia Kitchen, Fromage and others donated meals to Choices Youth Shelter. Shelburne’s Dufferin Public House made and delivered meals for staff at the hard hit Shelburne Residence and Dufferin Oaks Long-Term Care Home.

Headwaters Health Care Centre was the ultimate locus of the local food-is-love movement, with hardworking staff regularly enjoying free meals – sponsored by companies, individuals or customer donations. A huge roster of providers included Orangeville’s food truck Paco’s Tacos, 241 Pizza, Wicked Shortbread, Lavender Blue, Starbucks and Pita Pit. ClubLink, owner of Caledon Woods Golf Club in Bolton, sent meals, as did Mono’s Absolute Catering.

On the farm

Watch for new ideas sprouting from local farmers like so many summer vegetables. Both Zócalo Organics in Hillsburgh and Mount Wolfe Farm in Caledon have launched online stores and were selling seedlings. Hillsburgh’s 4th Line Cattle Co. introduced heritage pork and free-range eggs to their lineup and nearby Everdale added cider and beer sales, harvest share delivery and a wholesale food-buying program. They also offered their grounds for secluded nature walks. (For our complete farm and farmers’ market listings, see Headwaters Farm Fresh guide)

Zucchini time

Lennox Farm north of Shelburne is known for their spring rhubarb and peas and their fall Brussels sprouts, both as a commercial grower and at their farm stand. But as summer gets rolling, we’re looking to them for fresh zucchini to grill (and spiralize!).

What a dish: Rustik’s beer pie

A special hurrah to Rustik Local Bistro in Orangeville for treating customers to a pared-down-yet-gourmet takeaway menu including their juicy cheeseburgers. But their breakaway hit turned out to be dessert – beer pie. The rich chocolate and beer (from Caledon’s GoodLot Farmstead Brewing Co.) pudding pie is topped with marshmallow meringue and sits on a pretzel and graham cracker crust. “I think it’s the salty-sweet combo that makes it so appealing to people,” says owner Brett Jaggard of the indulgence.

Living in takeout times

Many of us found solace in cooking at home during the first weeks of the pandemic, becoming adept at meal planning and shopping once every two weeks. But as some of our favourite restaurants, cafés and food shops perfected their delivery and inventive takeout, we were happy to take a break while supporting local business.

Here are a few we’ve been leaning on:

Fresh daily specials from Gourmandissimo Catering & Fine Foods Shop in Caledon East, especially a recurring (and we hope lasting) taco trio with chicken, pork, and fish fillings, have us hooked. Thanks to new rules, they’re also offering Windrush Estate Winery wines, Pommies ciders and beer from Caledon Hills Brewing Company for a one-stop shop. “We try to keep it different from what you would normally get at home, and our menu has slowly expanded,” says Adriana Roche, who co-owns the business with her husband, Gilles. “Mostly people just want a break from cooking and are really enjoying the variety.”

Also in Caledon, Spirit Tree Estate Cidery tweaked its takeaway to keep the pizza, burgers and frites flowing. Pia’s on Broadway in Orangeville made lunch lovely again with curbside pickup of signature sandwiches including veggie and Cobb, and new treats like cinnamon buns and sourdough on weekends. Neighbour Mochaberry kept our video conferences caffeinated with porch and mailbox drop-off of their in-house roasted coffee. Farther west, The Edge came up with a clever way to keep date night alive with a three-course meal with wine for two to go. We’re relieved Orangeville’s Forage opened for takeout in early June – and can report the duck salad travels well.

In Shelburne, Beyond the Gate offered to-go crepes, fresh salads and desserts (chocolate mousse, we’re looking at you). Judy’s Restaurant in Erin switched to takeout, pleasing customers by adding all-day breakfast to the comfort food mix. Erin’s Tin Roof Café kept us in take-home cookie dough. Kitchen at Mono Mills’ driveway pickup meant Thursdays became gnocchi night.

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Sources

About the Author More by Janice Quirt

Janice Quirt is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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