Another Dinner in the Orchard is in the books! As a follow up to our first-ever dinner event held last August, Dinner in the Blossoms was one of three intimate gatherings we hope to host on the farm this year. Bringing people together to share a meal and enjoy to beauty of Nature's Bounty is something we have come to thoroughly enjoy and plan to continue with the encouragement of our guests. Those brave enough to attend during an unusually cool spring were rewarded with the nicest weather we've seen so far this season, a gorgeous sunset, and of course an incredible menu brought to life by Chef Rene Brunet and his team.
We tasked Chef Rene with showcasing a range of local ingredients in fun and flavourful ways and he certainly did not disappoint. As our guests arrived, they were greeted with fresh mini pizzas, bison sliders, maple candied walnuts, grilled lamb skewers, fresh fried Ontario perch and more. After sipping on a taste of 5 Paddles "Home Sweet Home", we toured the orchard blossoms which had emerged only hours before, as if on cue. For dinner, Chef Rene kept the fresh flavours coming as his team served up a spring salad with local asparagus and sprouts, bison carpaccio, apple wood smoked lamb stew, jerked chicken, quinoa salad and finished with a slice of chocolate raspberry torte. And to help wash it all down, Ian Mills from 5 Paddles Brewing offered expertly paired craft beer which complemented every course. We capped off the night with a taste of his own bourbon barrel aged barley wine; a rare treat from the cellar.
We owe a huge thank you to Chef Rene and his team for the incredible food and service, to Ian Mills for taking us on a expedition of flavour, to Jan Balser for bringing an elegant touch to the evening with spring decor, and to all of our guests who supported us by attending. We would also like to thank Thunderridge Bison and Willowtree Farm for supplying some of the wonderful local ingredients used for the dinner. We hope everyone had as much fun as we did!
Curious to see what you missed? Check out our gallery from the evening! Don't want to miss out on our next event? Sign up for our email list so you'll be the first to know about future dinners, events and special offers!
It's hard to recall a growing season that has been as slow to get going as this one. Three months ago, an early thaw had us thinking we were in for an early bloom. With above average rainfall and unusually cool temperatures, our apple trees have been producing foliage, but the flowers have been slow to emerge. Finally, nearly 10 days later than last year, our orchard is in full bloom.
Our local pollinators have also been a little slower than usual on account of the weather. Most bees and butterflies like warm sunny days to do their work. Although it's been cool, there's no need to worry! Pollinators are so good at what they do, farmers can have a crop set in as little as one day if the conditions are favourable. Thankfully, we have had at least two good pollination days since bloom began. The long-range forecast still looks cooler than we would like but there are signs that warmer weather lies ahead.
As we wait for things to pick up in the orchard, the timing was right to get our Pumpkin Patch planted this week. What used to be the Corn Maze will be home to over 25 varieties of pumpkins, squash, gourds and sunflowers this year. While our visitors may find it strange that we move our Maze and Pumpkin Patch around, rotating fields with different crops is an import technique used to prevent the build up of pesky pests and damaging diseases. We are looking forward to a few more changes at the farm this year. You'll have to visit this fall to find out what we've got in the works!
Andrea and Isaac sit on top of an old corn planter we use for pumpkins!