This year I attended the 2014 Breakfast on the Farms at Wilmot Orchards in New Castle. The event was hosted in partnership with Farm & Food Care Ontario which is an organization that provides information about food and farming in Ontario.
The event offered complimentary breakfast to the first 2000 guests who registered online in advance. The weather forecast was unfavorable, but luckily the early morning rain stopped by 9 am. Just in time for the start of the event. I arrived with my e-ticket in hand and signed in at the gazebo. At the food tent, cooks prepared pancakes on multiple grills and volunteers served the many guests breakfast.
Guests were offered their choice of sausages with regular pancakes or blueberry pancakes, with apple cider, milk or coffee. This was the first time I have tried pancakes made with fresh blueberries. It was delicious! I don’t think I could ever go back frozen pancakes and their dehydrated blueberry flavored blue bits.
After breakfast, guests had the option to visit the informational tent to learn about the different farming industries(such as dairy, grain, and beef)in Ontario. For those up for the challenge, there was a contest to guess the number of apples in the crate.
After the tents, I took a ride on the orchard bus tour. The orchard bus tour left every 20 minutes. The guide, who was also a local farmer, explained about some of the technology used on the farm.
For example, GPS is used to plant and evenly space the apple trees to maximize farm area. I also learned that the apple trees planted today do not grow taller than 12 feet. Fans are used to minimize frost effects by mixing the colder air with warmer air. Hail cannons are used to minimize the effect of hail. From the bus, you could see that beneath many of the trees, there was a reflective sheet placed on the ground. This sheet was called reflective mulch and is used to reflect light on to the apples to enhance the colour of the apples.
Near the wooden gazebo, guests had the opportunity to see an owl and falcon. The falcon is a predator of the blueberry loving birds, which helps keep the blueberries for the farmers. There was a honey tent where guests could sample local honey with interesting flavours such as buckwheat and a hot spicy honey.
The egg farmers of Canada had their own tent set up about eggs, including live chickens. The event was a great opportunity to visit an Ontario farm and learn more about the farming industry. Thanks to all the volunteers, Wilmot Orchards, and Farm & Food Care Ontario for making the event a success.