As the Harvest season is in full swing, I thought it appropriate to share my recent trip out into the Greenbelt to visit the Pumpkin King Vegetable Patch in Newmarket.
The farm is family run by Doug and Kimberley Van Luyk - and does enlist the help of 13 year- old son, Brad. It seems the regular teenage stereotype just doesn’t exist in a farm family; everyone just does their part.
Located in the Holland Marsh, the Van Luyk’s have ways to extend and enhance their harvest period by using transplants from Leamington for the beginning of the season and by using a state of the art climate controlled storage area to keep their produce fresh, so they are able to supply carrots almost year round. In addition to pumpkins and carrots, they also grow squash, corn, ontions, gourds and parsnips.
With pumpkins and other root /gourd vegetables being the quintessential symbol of Ontario in the Autumn season, there’s a drink we all love to keep us warm on a chilly fall day - apple cider. On the same trip, I ventured out to Spirit tree Cidery, owned by Tom Wilson and Nicole Judge in nearby Caledon where they have 46 acres of rolling hills on a ridge of the picturesque Niagara Escarpment.
Including a 10- acre orchard with 26 varieties of dwarf apple trees, they produce their cider in a straw bale constructed building using geothermal heating and cooling. Making both “soft” and “hard” cider – there’s something delicious for everyone.
-- Kathy Macpherson