Friday, August 21, 2009
Local Food Feature: Acorn Creek Garden Farm
Hello fellow foodies! Still on my quest to find out more about local food in the Ottawa area, I visited Acorn Creek Garden Farm and had a look-see. The farm is run by husband-wife team Andy and Cindy Terauds and is located in Carp, Ontario, just West of Ottawa. Andy was kind enough to take time out of his day to give me the rundown.
Acorn Creek's number one criteria for growing is taste. "If it doesn't taste good, we don't want to harvest it" said Andy as he was showing me around while getting ready for the Ottawa Farmers' Market the next day.
Turns out they grow 60 different crops, and 750-850 different varieties within those crops! Maybe it's just me, but who knew there were that many varieties!?!
Andy says their focus on variation is to please customers and provide them with the best taste experiences. Another reason for so much variety is the diversity in the Ottawa area -- different ethnic groups can get vegetables that are essential to continuing their culinary lifestyle and keeping their heritage alive.
Many Ottawans might not realize the amazing local produce that's just around the bend, but if they do visit Acorn Creek they will get to experience it for themselves. Perhaps it was because I was a Torontonian for 12 years, but I was amazed at the vastness of the farm and a peaceful feeling set in as I strolled through the gardens on that sunny day.
My trusty Birkenstocks took me along the path where I witnessed row upon row of fabulous local food! Strawberries, melons (of which they grow 129 different varieties), squash (110 varieties), corn, tomatoes, hot peppers, onions, kale, artichokes, the list was endless! Also, for those of you who like your food with a bit of heat, they also grow the hottest pepper in the world: the Bhut Jolokia or the "ghost chile". I hope you have some milk and bread at the ready if you're going to try this one! It measures 1 million SHUs!(Scoville heat units).
These beautiful artichokes are among many things in demand by some of Ottawa's best restaurants including Juniper and 18 to name a few.
Overall, it was a humbling experience going "back to nature" if you will, and I recommend it to anyone. Visit a local farm in your area and see what you can uncover!