The Joys of Summer
When sidewalks turn to puddles of black asphalt and you can fry an egg on a car hood, it’s time to head out of the heat. And what better reason than to track down the quintessential summer treat? If you fancy something fresh from the farm, something icy and cool, or a little al fresco dining, follow our lead. We’ll take you on a little road trip.
Whether you like your summer treats luxuriously creamy or fresh and zingy, these two producers of homemade icy confections are worth a visit for their innovative flavours that dance on the tongue and make you ask, “Now, what’s this?”
Slickers Ice Cream, Prince Edward County
271 Main St., Bloomfield, Prince Edward County
You might be coming to the County for the wine, but don’t miss the ice cream.
Slickers offers small-batch, homemade, full-cream ice cream with flavours such as Campfire (tastes like burnt marshmallows) and Apple Pie (complete with pieces of pie crust and lumps of apple), as well as the classics.
Owners Peter Petric and his wife Anne Kitzler make the ice cream on-site, with 18 per cent cream from cows in the Pembroke area. “We make all the ingredients ourselves,” explains Petric, “from homemade pie crust for the apple pie flavour to squeezing the fresh ginger for the rhubarb-ginger. We use local berries as much as we can (in season) and a particular favourite are the black caps: black wild raspberries that grow on a friend’s farm.” On any summer day, the long line that snakes out the door tells you that there’s something great inside.
Karumba!'s Icicools: All-Natural Ice Pops
Wakefield and the Ottawa Farmers’ Markets
These ice pops are as fresh as ice can get. Popsicle expert, chief cook, saleswoman and business owner Karen Henry works full-steam five days a week in her Wakefield kitchen to keep up with demand for her weekend sales at the Wakefield and Ottawa Farmers’ Markets.
Henry started out making simple, fresh popsicles for her three children, but found herself becoming increasingly adventurous with flavours. Now, she creates jewel-coloured icy treats that rely upon seasonal, local ingredients. “They’re simple and all natural,” she explains. “I love watching all that fresh fruit go in while I’m making them and when I, my family and my customers are eating them, I know and can picture why they enjoy them.”
As a vendor at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market and member of Savour Ottawa, she’s obliged to buy a percentage of her produce from other vendors, so strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, rhubarb, mint, basil, pears, corn and pumpkins, among others, all come from close to home. Customer favourites include raspberry-lemonade and strawberry-basil, but she also offers a changing menu of more 40 seasonal flavours. From the early fruit flavours of strawberry rhubarb to the bountiful late summer months when fruit is at its best, you’ll see flavours such as apple-rosemary, pear-ginger, plum, sweet corn and even pumpkin pie.
Remember those days when you bounced around in the back seat of your parents’ car, strawberries and raspberries getting squashed down the seat cracks? If you fancy putting a little sweat equity into your food, get your hands dirty in the fields and pick some.
Rideau Pines Farm
5714 Fourth Line Rd., North Gower
Rideau Pines Farm near North Gower is a short hop from Ottawa. Just 40 minutes from downtown, it could be a world away. The farm is far from the humming highways and busy city roads. It’s a haven of peace and produces plenty of good things to eat on 25 acres of land.
Rideau Pines supplies many of Ottawa’s top restaurants. If it’s berries you’re after, you can pick strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries and haskaps. What the heck is a haskap, you ask? It looks like an elongated blueberry, “but tastes much better,” says farm owner John Vandenberg. “It packs far more flavour punch than a blueberry and has three times the antioxidants. It’s hardy to minus 60 degrees and flowers early, but the only drawback is that the birds love them. It’s like cocaine for cedar waxwings.”
You can also pick your own tomatoes, peppers, peas, pickling cucumbers, “and people can dig their own potatoes if they really insist,” says Vandenberg.
Tincap Berry Farm
4035 County Rd. #29, Brockville
Tincap Berry Farm is just five minutes by car from Brockville. It’s worth the detour from the highway, as it will whisk you toward the St. Lawrence.
Set on a gently rolling 80 acres, Tincap offers a beautiful traditional red Dutch barn built in 1956, stocked to the timbers with farmmade jams, jellies, relishes and pickles. It’s an old-fashioned farm shop that will make your mouth water with baskets of tempting produce.
In season, owners Robert and Iris Dentz, who have owned the farm since 1987, sell asparagus, beans, beets, zucchini, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, potatoes, fresh cut flowers, pumpkins, apples and all sorts of berries directly from the farm. And if you’d like to put in the sweat equity, you can pick your own raspberries strawberries, sugar snap peas and tomatoes. Simply call for perfect picking times.
ROAD TRIP PICNIC
There’s nothing that symbolizes summer more than eating al fresco. While a restaurant patio is a good thing, getting down to earth to eat a seasonal, locally sourced picnic on a blanket spread on the grass is real soul food.
The Grange of Prince Edward County
990 Closson Rd., Hillier, Prince Edward County
First, this was a 600-acre family farm. Now, it’s a thriving market garden and wine property with 60 acres under vines. These vines are producing three lines of estate-grown wines that range from classic Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, through Gamay and Chardonnay, to a sparkling Riesling that’s ideal for summer picnics. And guess what? You can even buy your perfect picnic right here, on site.
“If you’re doing the wine-hopping tour, you’re going to need to settle somewhere for lunch,” says Kelly Schnurr, event manager at The Grange, “and we hope it’s here on our amazing property.” Picnics come packed in a traditional wicker basket with real cutlery, real linens and local, seasonal food. “Menus are not set in stone,” says Schnurr, “because it depends what’s available locally and in season.” Picnics usually include charcuterie, fresh local bread, buns or flatbread, locally made Black River cheese, a mason jar of salad leaves grown on the farm, cucumbers, pickles and relish made inhouse and some form of dessert. “Early in the season that may be a rhubarb crumble, or at other times, a deconstructed cheesecake, both served in a mason jar.”
Picnics cost $35 for two people and can include a glass bottle of water with cork stopper. You can buy your estate-grown wine on the side.
Basket in hand, head out onto the farm and settle down for an afternoon among the vines. The whole property is licensed, from babbling brook to flagstone terrace, so you can enjoy your sparkling Riesling and soul-food picnic anywhere you like.
Spread Delivers, Ottawa
It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to order a picnic lunch from Ottawa start-up Spread Delivers. But then if you do order your picnic from Spread Delivers, it will automatically become a celebration.
This young company — just 18 months old — offers a simple menu of eight gourmet sandwiches made daily with Nat’s bread, Seed to Sausage cold cuts and meats, mouth-watering side salads and a dessert, all packaged in a little picnic box with jaunty red-and-white checked wrapping. You can also order chips and dips and drinks on the side. “I chose Nat’s bread because it reminded me of the bread I used to bake in Toronto 20 years ago,” says Jules Harrison, founder and owner of Spread, who is a keen supporter of other start-up businesses. “Her breads are really amazing and she delivers to me early every morning.”
You can order Spread to your office, to your boardroom, or better yet, to your picnic spot. “Just tell us where you’re sitting and we’ll bring it to you,” says Harrison.
Spread has recently teamed up with 2 Wheels Ahead Courier, a company run by local Ottawa bike couriers. “I just realized that there are so many great places in Ottawa that you can’t access by car,” explains Harrison.
Recently, she had an order from a family coming in from Toronto. They called to say they’d like to have a picnic in a park somewhere at about 1 p.m. Harrison helped them pick the lunch spot, then delivered their food. It’s service like this that has her telephone ringing off the hook to deliver up to 120 fresh, gourmet sandwiches daily.