Tag Archives: taste of huron

Mushroom Appetizers popular party fare!

18 Dec

PlumStuffedShiitake
Plum-Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms (from epicurious.com)

Here is an Asian twist on stuffed mushrooms. Chinese plum sauce and sesame oil make the satisfying, intensely flavored glaze. Small portobellos can be substituted for the shiitakes, if you like.
  • 40 small shiitake mushrooms (about 1 1/4 pounds), stemmed
  • 12 ounces bulk pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup Chinese plum sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
    1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Place shiitake mushrooms stem side up on large rimmed baking sheet. Mound each with about 1/2 tablespoon pork sausage. Stir plum sauce in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until melted. Whisk in oil. Brush mushrooms with all of plum sauce mixture. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake mushrooms until sausage is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to large platter. Sprinkle with chives.

_ _ _

Susan Weth, Incubating mushrooms

Susan Weth, Incubating mushrooms

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Weth, co-owner of Weth Mushrooms. I was surprised that mushrooms there are not grown in the dark, and they are not grown in horse manure.  These mushrooms are grown in a “Natural” mixture that is wood-based, as these farmers try to replicate the forest floor as a growing condition for their mushroom crops.  At Weth Mushrooms, a new crop is incubated every 10-12 weeks. They’re planted in plastic bags in that special mixture of soil, grain and sawdust that eventually hardens and colourizes (Incubates), at which stage the bags are removed.   Within one week the mushrooms are sprouting in temperature and moisture-controlled sprouting rooms. Once harvested the block-growing material is composted back into the field.

Although there are bio-security issues in certain parts of the plant we were invited inside. There are three brands of mushrooms grown at Weth’s.  Susan’s favourite brand grown here is shiitake,  so much so that she no longer uses the very popular white button mushroom, and uses Shiitake in “everything”.  Shiitake mushrooms are not native to Southwestern Ontario.  The second type, maitake, can sometimes be found in Huron County, growing in the wild.  It has a nutty flavour.  And, the third type, pioppino is a small brown variety that has a bit more texture and remains slightly crunchy even after cooking.  Maitake and Pioppino mushrooms grow faster than the Shiitake, but temperature changes can wipe out a crop quickly.

Maitake Mushrooms available from Weth's

Maitake Mushrooms available from Weth’s

Susan tells me she prefers maitake fried in olive oil and butter until the tips brown.   Shiitake are flavourful in omelettes, stuffed with roasted red pepper and goats cheese or marinated and barbecued.  Pioppino’s are nice in stews or stir fried dishes.  All three have good meaty textures and are an excellent substitute for meats.  Mushrooms are loaded with anti-oxidants.   And, to my surprise, Susan does not eat or serve mushrooms uncooked as they do have some toxins.  In some cultures, mushrooms are used raw for cleanings, but Susan does not recommend using them this way.

pioppino mushrooms

pioppino mushrooms

Mushrooms are shipped from this site every week and many local restaurants buy direct from the farm.  Susan indicated their future would likely include more varieties and increased yield.  As Weth Mushrooms are organically grown, their product is popular, especially with growing consumer demand for organic produce.  For the most part the Weth’s can’t keep up with that demand as mushroom farming is extremely labour intensive.  Picking or harvesting is all done by hand, and although there is no grading system in Ontario Weth’s internally grade and price their product as premium, utility and baby.

Shiitake

Shiitake

Weth Mushrooms is iocated on 89 acres of reforested land in the Township of Central Huron.  They’re open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 until 3:30pm or by appointment.  Tours are sometimes available so call Susan for more information.

WethMushroomSignWeth Mushrooms
35809 Union Side Road
Goderich, ON
N7A 3X8
519-524-4263

or on Facebook “Weth Mushrooms Inc.”

Are Rutabaga’s on the Menu this Holiday season?

16 Dec

RutabagaMy favourite side dish with turkey or beef is rutabaga … and, apparently, it’s a really healthy choice.  Last spring we met with the Hubbard Family in Blyth to learn about their business.

George Hubbard started a family business, G.L. Hubbard Ltd., in 1962 when he purchased the plant located on Dinsley Street East in Blyth from Russ Dougherty.

The rutabaga is a root vegetable with a yellow flesh.  It is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage.  It reported originated in Scandanavia or Russia and was first found in North America in the early 19th century.  They are served a variety of ways in many countries, but in Canada they are most often used as filler in mincemeat and Christmas Cake or served as a side dish.

Rutabaga are planted 6” apart, and only 12 acres had been planted when we visited this producer on May 13, 2014.  2013’s extremely long winter delayed the planting season this spring.  Plans were being made to plant another 12 – 17 acres in the couple weeks following, with planting all finished by the end of June.  The rutabaga is a 90-day crop and harvest begins in October, taking approximately three weeks to complete.

Phil & Karen Hubbard trimming the rutabagas for shipping

Phil & Karen Hubbard trimming the rutabagas for shipping

The rutabagas are pulled in the field by a harvester, trucked into the plant and unloaded via stackers to prevent bruising and cracking.  They are kept at 33 degrees in a humidity-controlled room and  about 50,000 bushels are stored in the two on-site storage sheds.  There are two more sheds off-site.  Each week this plant processes  2,000 – 4,000 bushels, depending on the market – typically less in spring and more in fall and winter months as that’s when the harvest take place and when the consumer demands this tasty root vegetable.

Buckets on a tractor transport the rutabaga from the storage shed to a wash station. Rutabagas are then washed twice.   Hubbard Farm is still using its original washing equipment.  Rutabagas travel, via an auger, into a holding bin where they drop to be trimmed and sized/sorted by hand.  Trimming is done only for esthetics. The next step in the processing is waxing – a process that requires six people.  And, finally, stickers with Foodland Ontario’s bar codes are applied and the rutabaga are boxed in 50lb boxes for shipping.

Hubbard’s ship every day with Friday being their biggest day to accommodate shipping schedules into the United States.  They have enjoyed a long term partnership with Stovel Siemon of Mitchell for shipping their products across Canada and into the U.S.

Yearly inspections are required at Hubbard’s for food safety standards. It is a year-round business with down-time in July for repairs and cleaning.  A recent new shed was erected on the property to meet food safely requirements.  It houses packing cartons and skids.

This operation currently keeps six families in Canada and seven immigrant families employed including two of George’s daughters, his son and one of his grandsons.  Many of the immigrant families have other jobs in their native Jamaica such as driving a taxi, farming, and building furniture. Since 1988, foreign workers have been a part of the Hubbard Farm with nine arriving each spring, rising to 13 each fall.

Rutabagas are high in Vitamin C. I asked Susan Hubbard what the most intriguing recipe she’d heard of and she responded “Cheese Whiz and mashed rutabaga” – I guess I should try it that way too, although I find it most delicious mashed with a little browh sugar, salt and pepper, and slathered in gravy. It can also be served with apples. 

If you haven’t tried Rutabaga put it on your bucket list.  It can be purchased year round at most grocery stores, or direct from the plant at 367 Dinsley Street during business hours.

Hubbard RutabagaG.L. Hubbard Ltd.
367 Dinsley St., PO Box 340
Blyth, Ontario, Canada  N0M 1H0
(519) 523-4554 

_ _ _

Sadly, shortly after our visit at Hubbard Rutabaga plant last spring George Hubbard passed away.  He will be missed by his family and many friends and neighbours in Huron County and beyond.    His family will continue to operate the business and farms.

It’s Turkey Time (at Hayter’s)

14 Dec

Hayters Store SignIt’s that time of year when turkey is on everyone’s mind … and fork, so I thought it would be a great time to share this story about Hayter’s.  Enjoy!

Since 1984 this family-owned turkey farm in Dashwood is the place where the Hayter family has developed its passion for premium quality. Their devotion to taste and tradition in every aspect of turkey farming and turkey products continues through three generations and was evident when we met with Joanne recently.

This family decided to raise turkeys because their land was poor and they found that turkey manure proved to be the best fertilizer. They had farmed beef and cash crops until 1993.

The Hayter’s have 13 barns and this is only turkey farm in Huron County that also has the processing plant. 

Hayters Farm

Hayters Turkey grow poults from one day old until they reach average market size of 35lbs, taking toms up to 16 weeks.  The hens go to market at 13 weeks at about 18 pounds. Hayters raise 160,000 turkeys per year on their farm in South Huron.

Their onsite store was built in 1983 and has been expanded a couple of times since, although the Hayter’s have had a farm outlet for 50 years.  The more recent addition of the LCBO agency store brought increased notice of their products, particularly with the summer market travelling to the lakeshore.

Hayter Store 2

Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving is still the biggest sales opportunities for fresh turkeys.  To expand their market, further processing was needed to meet the needs of a time-challenged consumer.  Thus, turkey sausage, schnitzel, marinated fillets, wings and drumsticks, and burgers were added to their product lists.   Also offered through the store are frozen and fresh turkey products and condiments.  Hayter’s Turkey products are labelled with the Foodland Ontario brand.

Hayters Turkey employs 70,  including 5 extended family members.  Joanne’s brother Tom earned an animal poultry science degree from Guelph.  One son heads the marketing division in Toronto.   Joanne told us that they do ship to western Canada, but currently have no interest in the US market.  And, they attend farmer’s markets seasonally in North Bay, Sudbury and Sault St. Marie.  

A quota system for raising turkeys came into effect in 1970.  However, the Hayters Farm was a significant size at that time so that percentage of their quota doesn’t cost.  In Canada, farmers can’t grow more than 50 birds without a quota.

The processing plant at the Hayter Farm is provincially regulated.  Regular Inspections are deemed “necessary” as this family feels it is vital to promoting the message that their products are safe and healthy options.   Joanne feels they do have a voice but it’s difficult to advocate for change and to keep ahead of the ever-evolving health requirements while operating this size of business.

Joanne’s favourite product is the marinated fillets, and she wants everyone to know how healthy turkey is with just 2% fat in the breast.

HOW TO COOK FULL 15lb. TURKEY
Breast up – 450 degrees for 1/2 hour uncovered; then 2 – 2.5 hours at 350 covered.

Check the website for virtual tours of their farm – coming soon!

Hayters Turkey
37467 Dashwood Rd, R.R. 2, Dashwood
Ontario N0M 1N0
519-237-356
info@hayterturkey.com

Laithwaite Apple Park, a fun family outing

14 Nov applesfrompark_1

by Diva Rachel Lynn
A couple of weekends ago our family visited Laithwaite Apple Park.  The park is located 1km east of Goderich on hwy 8.   It’s not just an apple park.  It’s also a farm that has many sculptures from cement, metal, fieldstone and found materials by George Laithwaite (1873-1956).  Some of the figures were created as satirical or political commentary on world events, while others were based on comic strip characters.  Most of his statues were created as a hobby during slow economic times.

statueapplepark_1

The Apple Park also features a farm store selling seasonal products.  Some products include apples, fruit in season, potatoes, honey, jam, apple butter, apple cider, squash and many more.  It is open year round.

Products available at Apple Park

Products available at Apple Park

On our visit we had pumpkins in mind as well as apples.  There are so many kinds of apples so I asked which one I should use for apple pie.  Pauline (one of the owners) mentioned she likes Courtland.  These apples were huge!  And delicious too.  Thanks to Pauline’s suggestion, I made a mean apple pie.

applesfrompark_1

Bea choosing her pumpkin

Bea choosing her pumpkin

pumpkins found a happy home.

pumpkins found a happy home.

Although our main purpose was pumpkins and apples we also picked up Robinson’s Maple syrup, spaghetti squash and a rutabaga.  I love good food and supporting local.

Laithwaite Apple Park
35563 Huron Rd,
Goderich
519-524-7763.

DUCK Dinner at Samuels enjoyed by this Travel Diva

12 Nov Finish - Fresh Concord Grape Mousse

by Diva Rachel Lynn

I think the name of this dinner should be renamed to “mmmmmmm”.  Seriously.  I recently had the pleasure of attending my first Food for Thought dinner at Samuels Hotel, just north of Goderich.  It was my girlfriend Caroline who suggested that we go.  I made reservations right away because any event I’ve ever attended at Samuels sells out fast! The food prepared had many local suppliers: Bayfield Berry Farm, Weth Mushrooms, Firmly Rooted, Shanahan’s Meats and Everspring Farms. As we waited for our starter, the owner of Everspring Farms, Dale Donaldson, told us a bit about Muscovy duck: they have a distinct flavor (like beef), Males are larger than females, lower in fat. starterddm_1Our started was Duck and Shiitake Dumplings:  fried dumplings with duck, shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts. Salad (sorry no picture, It was too good and ¾ gone by the time I remembered). Baby kale, sweet potato, curried quinoa and cranberries.

Main

Main

Muscovy Duck Breast, white bean puree, brussel sprouts . The duck was seared with black currant cassis sauce, white bean puree, bacon and lemon brussels sprouts.

Finish

Finish

Concord Grape Mousse, fresh off the vine grapes whipped into a light creamy mousse. I thought at many points throughout my meal that I may need to smack hands away from my duck and mousse.  To say it was delicious is a serious understatement.

Kim Burgsma, chef and owner of Samuels Hotel came by our table at the end of our meal to say hello.  I couldn’t say enough good things about the meal and about Kim.

To find out more about Samuels Hotel, please visit www.samuelshotel.ca  This is a must see place in Huron County.

Samuels Hotel Inc.
34031 Saltford Rd
Goderich, ON N7A 4C6
(519) 524-1371
www.samuelshotel.ca

 

Huron County Suppliers: Bayfield Berry Farm, Weth Mushrooms, Firmly RootedShanahan’s Meats  and Everspring Farms.

Eddingtons Winterlicious

1 Mar

By: Diva Jenna Ujiye

The Divas at Eddingtons

The Divas at Eddingtons

This week has been a perfect week to get to a couple more Winterlicious events. On Wednesday five of us divas went for a wonderful meal at Eddingtons in Exeter. Karen, Claire, Christine, Trista and I had a marvelous time!

Trista, Karen and I all decided to go with the Winterlicious menu. Eddingtons had two choices for the starter and main, here is the menu:

Starter – Local atibo white bean and root vegetable chowder. Or Late harvest kale and beet salad. Parmigianino, hardboiled egg, sunflower seeds and sundried cranberry, tossed in a local garlic dressing.

Bean Soup

Bean Soup

Kale and Beet Salad

Kale and Beet Salad

Main – Local Pork shoulder braised in an apple cider vinegar served on a caramelized onion and blue cheese tart accented with a Grand Bend potato and root vegetable medley. Or  Supreme breast of chicken stuffed with fresh herbs, roma tomato and flavorful Italian sausage glazed in a Chianti red wine and shallot reduction. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and market vegetables.

Pork Shoulder

Pork Shoulder

Chicken Supreme

Chicken Supreme

I had the  soup to start and the pork as my main and they were both great. The bean chowder had a nice mild flavor letting the beans and vegetables show their true flavours. The pork was super succulent and tender.

Claire and Christine both decided to get their courses off of the menu. Christine started with the Thai Chicken Salad and Claire had the martini scallops, both starters looked yummy! They both got the gourmet macaroni and cheese, and my the silence at the table you could tell they liked it!

Thai Chicken Salad

Thai Chicken Salad

Martini Scallops

Martini Scallops

To end the meal Karen Trista and  I had Sticky toffee pudding cake with a coastal coffee caramel sauce, Christine had and apple dessert and Claire had the flourless chocolate cake… Wow, it was amazing!

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Sticky Toffee Cake

Sticky Toffee Cake

The Taste of Huron Winterlicious dining program is running until March 9 at various restaurant around Ontario’s West Coast, if you want more information, visit here: www.tasteofhuron.ca

Eddingtons of Exeter:

Address: 527 Main St S, Exeter, ON N0M 1S1

Phone:(519) 235-3030

Website: http://www.eddingtons.ca/

It was the Schnitz!

4 Sep
Food stations offered numerous options for each course.

Food stations offered numerous options for each course.

By Diva Trista Russell

Ontario’s West Coast is home to loads of produce growers and meat suppliers, many of which are located right in our own area. The aim of Taste of Huron’s “Food for Thought” Dinners is to celebrate just that: we truly live in the “bread basket” of Ontario!

Last Monday I was treated to a delicious Taste of Huron dinner called “It’s the Schnitz” at Hessenland Country Inn in St. Joesph. For $50 a person, it included wonderful grazing style dinner with bite size samplings of salads and soup, many different types of schnitzel, side dishes, dessert, and also one drink ticket. Various dining stations were set up outside in Hessenland’s beautiful gardens and in their Garden Room. To top it off, Diva Karen and I, along with our guests, had a lovely table right by the window overlooking the pool and gardens while the sun was setting over Lake Huron. I can definitely see why Hessenland is a popular choice for special events, especially weddings.

Hessenland proudly showed of its German roots (ancestry I distantly share as well) by showcasing a variety of schnitzel including pork, turkey, chicken, fish, and wiener schnitzel. Just to make your mouth water even more, here’s part of the menu:

IMG_3954 IMG_3955Salads/Soups

  • Frank’s Corn Chowder
  • Shredded Carrots and Bell Peppers tossed with a Dijon Maple Dressing
  • Yellow and Green Beans tossed with Garlic Scape Pesto Dressing
  • Sweet Corn Kernels tossed with Chili Dressing
  • Garden Greens tossed with Cantaloupe Balsamic Dressing

IMG_3957 IMG_3958

Desserts were delicious!

Desserts were delicious!

Dessert

  • Fresh Strawberries with Zabaglione
  • Creamy Strawberry Sorbet with Orange Mint
  • Field Melon Salsa
  • Individual Peach Crumble

Most of the ingredients came from local suppliers, including: Metzger Meat Products, Hayter’s Turkey Farm, Masse Farm, Ferguson Apiaries, Poganatz Family Bakery, Purdy’s Fisheries, and The Garlic Box. Chef Frank Ihrig even made a last minute addition to the menu with some beets he got from a neighbour. I think the favourite of the night for me was the peach crumble. As Chef Frank mentioned in his opening speech, peaches are very tender and juicy this year.

IMG_3956If you missed this dinner but would like to attend another one, you’re not too late! The next Food for Thought Dinner called “This Little Piggy Went to Pisa” (featuring heritage pork) will be held on Tuesday, September 17th at Samuel’s Boutique Hotel north of Goderich.

For more info: www.tasteofhuron.ca

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