Food + Drink Summer 2023

Get ready for a summer of gourmet grub with a hot new smoke shack, fresh produce at farmers’ markets, Field to Fork events, and Caledon Ribfest

June 16, 2023 | | Food + Drink

Spotlight: The Wood Smoke Shack

The Wood Smoke Shack is tucked away in the quiet north Mulmur village of Honeywood, but their secret is out. Head barbecue master Scot Robinson and his wife, Meghan Harrington, who creates delectable sides that stand up to the meat, soft launched their weekends-only food truck last fall to positive reviews. They opened again in May.

Scot Robinson tends to brisket, pork belly and chicken in an enormous smoker at the Wood Smoke Shack in Honeywood. Photo by Elaine Li, Crave and Capture.

Enjoy a gourmet picnic of slow-smoked brisket with a side of bacon corn or dive into Scot’s personal favourite, pork belly burnt ends, which are essentially smoked cubes of bacon. Don’t eat red meat? The low-and-slow smoked chicken is for you. “Just about everything we cook has been made by trial and error – we aren’t afraid to try new things,” says Scot, adding that the idea evolved from barbecue competitions among their friends.

While the food truck is stationary, the Wood Smoke Shack does cater locally. Scot says they opened in Honeywood because of a lack of nearby food options. Towns farther away have wholeheartedly embraced them, too. “The whole community comes by. We see folks from Dundalk to Alliston, Collingwood to Orangeville – not to mention those passing through the area,” says Scot. “The local communities of Mulmur and Melancthon have been so wonderful in helping me get this started and continuing their support.”

Food for Father

If grilling at home is on the agenda for Father’s Day, consider the mouthwatering Father’s Day gift package from Grand Valley’s Landman Gardens and Bakery. Tucked into an insulated grocery bag is apple bourbon BBQ sauce (500 ml), Heritage Lane Herbs’ smoked applewood-seasoned salt, two Landman boneless chicken breasts, two Landman pork centre-cut chops and four Harris Farms beef burgers. Maybe he’ll share?

Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce from Landman Gardens and Bakery

Produce Watch: Tomatoes

Get ready for tomato season and its easy caprese salads, simple pastas, and juicy BLTs. Shelburne Fresh Variety owners Brent and Colette Gray will offer a steady stream of ripe tomatoes this season, leaning on the greenhouse output of nearby Besley Country Market and Maple Grove Farm Market for a range of in-season and heritage varieties.

Country dinners en plein air

Lennox Farm in Melancthon opens to guests on June 24, August 19 and September 9 for evenings of local food, entertainment and good company. These summer Field to Fork events (there’s also a dinner on October 1) include a guided farm tour and hands-on harvesting experience.

Lennox Farm hosts the Field to Fork dinner series outside on their property in Melancthon.

A hearty four-course meal will be created by a different guest chef or chefs each night – Paul Bray of Fanhams Hall in England in June, Nick Fingarson of Tholos Restaurant in The Blue Mountains Village and Guelph-based personal chef Pi Reyes in August, and John Forcier of the Hamilton-based Equal Parts Hospitality group in September. Rachel Chartrand, the owner of two Toronto spots, Hamptons and Montauk Bar, helms on October 1. Local singer-songwriter Sohayla Smith performs each night. Proceeds go to NDACT (North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce).

Small Bite

RustiK Local Bistro chef Adam Lusk is excited about the flood of local fresh ingredients that marks the summer season at the Orangeville spot. “It’s always a pleasure to see what the farmers and our local producers are eager to bring to the table – I love seeing what they are passionate about sharing,” he says.

A colourful side salad at RustiK Local Bistro.

A prime produce-packed example is the veggie baguette with roasted red peppers, grilled eggplant and zucchini, house hummus, spinach and soft goat cheese served with a salad of mixed greens, shaved vegetables, toasted almonds and mustard vinaigrette.

Doors Open

The Globe Restaurant reopened in February after a hiatus to establish a new kitchen team – newcomers Andrew Robertson and Kevin Barber with longtime Rosemont General Store kitchen pro Alyson Acheson – and to renovate and refresh the interior. The Mono stalwart now offers dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with of-the-minute offerings such as trendy “butter boards” and pickle-brined fried chicken. In the private family dining room, restaurant goers can pre-order family-style chicken dinner, Beef Wellington and rotisserie pork.

“It’s amazing to be back; I moved to Rosemont to run the business for my family in January of 2020, so I never really got to be part of The Globe before we shut down,” says owner Sarah O’Born. “Welcoming people back and embracing the next generation of Globe customers is so amazing.”

The new Melanie’s Diner, just north of Orangeville on Highway 10 (formerly Barb’s Country Kitchen) serves burgers and fries – and all-day breakfast. Flame’N Bricks Pizzeria, the beloved Lake Huron area mini-chain, moves east to Erin with brick oven pizza, pasta and subs.

Pet treats from Paws Off Pet Cookie Co.

And one for the pooches: Anna Pigden, owner of new Creemore biz Paws Off Pet Cookie Co. crafts dog treats made with simple, human-grade ingredients such as wholewheat flour, fresh fruit and eggs – and ground flaxseed in every batch.

Mark Your Culinary Calendar

Local dynamos Terry Doel and Vanessa Kreuzer of Le Finis and Lavender Blue Catering in Orangeville have relaunched their lively on-site soup-making events – now called Stir the Pot. On the last Monday evening of every month, participants chop, prep and stir litres upon litres of soup to be distributed to local food banks and shelters. Guests also get to tuck in and enjoy a glass of wine in the process. It makes for a perfect feel-good evening out with, as Vanessa puts it, a group of friends “ladling out the love.”

Caledon Ribfest returns July 7 to 9 at the Canadian Tire parking lot in Bolton. The 20,000 expected guests will enjoy food, drinks, games, market vendors and entertainment for the whole family.

The new Grand Valley Farmers’ Market takes place June 21, July 26 and August 23. And haven’t you always wanted to sup in a lavender field? Here’s your chance: East Garafraxa’s Hereward Farms hosts Nibbles + Sips in the Lavender Field July 15 and August 26. Purple Hill Lavender Farm offers the enchanting Evening Picnic Series, with 10 dates to choose from, at their idyllic Creemore property.

About the Author More by Janice Quirt

Janice Quirt is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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