Tag Archives: zurich

Coffee roasting 101: All you need is a skillet or a popcorn maker

23 Jan

By Diva Heather Boa

ZURICH – A friend who is a psychologist once told me that addiction to coffee isn’t measured by how many cups one drinks but, rather, by the depth of emotion that one feels for coffee.

Well, I love coffee. Hot, rich, smooth, black coffee. In large quantities.

So when the invitation came to attend Coffee Roasting 101 at The Coastal Roastery in Zurich today, I was excited.

Many people are familiar with Coastal Coffee Company, with its green logo of a stylized pop-up top Volkswagen van, a regular at many farmers markets in Huron County. Perhaps not so many people are familiar with its coffee shop in downtown Zurich, where there’s always a pot or two of coffee and some baked goods available, along with everything you need to prepare a good pot of coffee. At the back, beyond the retail shop, burlap sacks of green beans – which are really the seed of a coffee cherry – grown by micro producers in Nicaragua, Columbia, Rwanda, Peru or some other exotic country sit ready for the gleaming Toper brand roaster in the centre of the room.

Today, the four of us in this class are not going near the commercial roaster.

Instead, we’re learning to roast micro batches of coffee using a few methods that adapt to our own kitchens or campfires. The class ratio is a phenomenal 1:1, with staff sharing their considerable knowledge and skills.

Jason Wiebe kicks off the demonstration with a cautionary note that a butane burner should not be used indoors and a popcorn maker should not be modified in any way.

coffeeroasting5Then he fills a dry cast iron skillet with 250g – that’s one cup, for those of you still on Imperial measurements – and we watch as he flips the beans like a chef making an omelette, chaff floating into the air. In time, the beans turn from green to yellow to deep brown. And there is a cluster of cracking sounds, like sluggish popcorn, at two intervals in the process. We’re told the green beans smell like wet grass in the first few minutes, then like hay, then like fresh bread as the sugar in the beans start to caramelize. When they’re done, Jason flips them onto a baking pan to cool.

coffeeroasting8To watch a short video of coffee beans in the skillet, check out their Facebook video post on Jan. 23.

coffeeroasting9Ben Gingerich takes an even smaller portion of beans, just 80g, and pours them into an old, sturdy popcorn maker that’s been modified with the addition of a steel can missing both top and bottom fitted like a miniature smoke stack. The hot air tosses around the beans and every now and again he gives the popcorn maker a shake. We shine a penlight onto the beans, checking their colour because we can’t hear the beans crack above the noise of the machine. In a shorter time than it took to skillet roast the beans, this batch is done.

2016-01-23 14.46.03There is a third process for roasting coffee at home, but it seems to be the least favourable choice: using a relatively pricey electric drum roller with presets.

At the end of the two-hour class, we grab homemade cookies and yet another cup of coffee, we are given green beans to roast at home, and we get a sample of the beans we roasted.

Even if my sample of green beans never hits a skillet or popcorn maker, I have a much deeper appreciation for coffee, which is a big part of my day.


What: Coffee Roasting 101

When: Saturday, Feb. 27, starting at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Coastal Roastery, 17 Goshen St. N., Zurich

Cost: $40

RSVP: Space is limited. Email: info@coastalcoffeecompany.ca






Huron County readies for summer tourism season

21 Apr
Keynote speakers Rebecca Wise and Victor Barry of Cottage Life’s INNvasion’s reality TV show, talked about the growing trend for nostalgia and urged participants to think of all the senses - smell, sounds, touch, and tastes.

Keynote speakers Rebecca Wise & Victor Barry of Cottage Life’s INNvasion’s reality TV show, talked about the growing trend for nostalgia & urged participants to think of all senses – smell, sounds, touch, and tastes. Photos by Jenna Ujiye.

By Diva Karen Stewart

BLUEWATER – Tourism is the world’s largest industry with revenues of over $500 billion including travel, tourism and hospitality businesses. In Huron County, tourism is a major economic driver as we welcome over one million visitors to our region each year.

Recently, the Huron Tourism Association held its annual industry event. Over 100 tourism business operators gathered at the Community Centre in Zurich to listen, learn, and interact with their peers. By bringing together tourism operators to network and to sharpen skills, to learn about the County’s tourism assets and to talk about emerging travel trends we work to provide the best possible experience for our visitors.

This year’s theme was “Hospitable Huron – Weve got it, Lets flaunt it!” Our keynote speakers, Rebecca Wise and Victor Barry of Cottage Life’s Dining INNvasion reality TV show, talked about the growing trend for nostalgia and urged participants to think of all the senses – smell, sounds, touch, and tastes – whether in the kitchen or through decorating their public spaces. On the same note, Rebecca noted that her visit to Huron County exceeded her expectations, saying “You don’t know hospitality until you’ve stepped out into the rural countryside.”

Boxes and bundles of  new brochures are distributed to tourism operators throughout the county in time for the tourism summer season.

Boxes and bundles of new brochures are distributed to tourism operators throughout the county in time for the tourism summer season.

Heritage sites and stories, food, events and opportunities for outdoor adventures were all highlighted during three familiarization trips in the host municipality of Bluewater. Tourism operators gained a deeper awareness of just how rich in tourism assets that region of the county is.

One of the main activities during this annual event is the Brochure Swap. Participants are encouraged to gather related business brochures so they can promote each other to the world all season long. In

Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol Curator Patricia Hamilton (centre) receives the Tourism Champion Award from past recipient Jim Lee of Cinnamon Jim's and Huron County Tourism Co-ordinator Cindy Fisher.

Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol Curator Patricia Hamilton (centre) receives the Tourism Champion Award from past recipient Jim Lee of Cinnamon Jim’s and Huron County Tourism Co-ordinator Cindy Fisher.

addition, the newly re-designed 2015 Ontario’s West Coast Travel Guide was available as were the County’s specialty brochures including Fishing, Hiking and Cycling guides – each one a valuable tool that drives business in the County each season of the year.

And, finally, more proof of the good work folks are doing in the county was shared when two awards were presented. Huron County Museum and Gaol Curator Patricia Hamilton was honoured with the Tourism Champion Award, presented for demonstrating stellar hospitality, creative marketing savvy, inclusive partnerships and forward-thinking leadership and promotion of Ontario’s West Coast. And, the Maitland Trail Association, which

Roger Goddard and Suzanna Reid, of the Maitland Trail Association, accept the Tourism Development Award from John McHenry, an HTA board member.

Roger Goddard and Susanna Reid, of the Maitland Trail Association, accept the Tourism Development Award from John McHenry, an HTA board member.

celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, was awarded the Tourism Development Award for demonstrating leadership, creative invention, partnership initiatives, community impact and excellence in the tourism industry.

In Huron County, we’re open and ready for business. We look forward to welcoming you to Ontario’s West Coast for adventure, theatre, festivals, events, and food.   You’ll find heritage and culture sites that share stories of our deep rural roots and you’ll find new friends offering you a warm rural hospitality.

Visit ontarioswestcoast.ca today to plan your visit today.

Christmas Magic by Candlelight

26 Nov

IMG_4487By Diva Trista Russell

One of my favourite greenhouses in Huron County offers a unique way of purchasing a Christmas poinsettia—by shopping in candlelight!

In addition to this past weekend, Huron Ridge Acres is offering a second weekend for their annual Poinsettia Festival and Candlelight Event. Starting again this Thursday to Saturday, you can see thousands of mini lights and candles illuminating many varieties and colours of poinsettias.

While I had heard about this event before, this was my first time attending. I think this event is really neat, and I felt a sense of relaxation when I arrived and strolled through the aisles. It felt less like a shopping errand and more like a relaxing way to end a busy week. It also helped that there was gingersnap cookies, hot apple cider, and live music to enjoy! Here’s a short video showing the ambiance of the Poinsettia Festival and Candlelight Event. If you listen closely, you can hear the music in the background. 

IMG_4507I was amazed at all the poinsettia varieties and colours available. I fell in love with one unique variety called “Northern Lights”. It’s a white poinsettia with sparkly blue and pink – which looks just like the colours of the Northern Lights. A 6 inch pot was $8.99, and it has found a special spot by my fireplace. As a bonus, I learned that for certain varieties of poinsettia sold (including the variety I purchased), Huron Ridge will donate $1 to help those devastated by Typhoon Hayian in the Philippines.

When you purchase a poinsettia, Huron Ridge will wrap your plants to protect it from the cold (poinsettias are tropical plants, and there is nothing tropical about our weather lately!), and you can choose the colour of your pot wrap, and they will even add some sparkle spray to the leaves if you choose.

In addition to the poinsettias, there are fresh cut trees, fresh evergreen planters, garland, evergreen bunches, wreaths and festive decorating accessories to purchase. There are lots of decorative displays set up in the middle and perimeter of the greenhouse, and a moving train set for the kids to watch too.

IMG_4499When I arrived last Friday, there was a bus from a local nursing home unloading passengers, and when I left at 8pm there were still lots of people there. Many customers in the checkout line were commenting on how beautiful the greenhouse looked. The staff must have put a lot of time into making the greenhouse look so magical!

The event will be held again November 28th to 30th from 9am to 8pm. I highly recommend going in the evening for an extra special experience.

Christmas shopping tip: Huron Ridge Acres also has gift cards available to purchase in any denomination. A great gift for any gardener, and it helps support a local business.

IMG_4493Huron Ridge Acres is located at 74101 Bronson Line, north of Zurich
Web: www.huronridge.ca – they are also on Facebook
Phone: 519-565-2122
Email: info@huronridge.ca


My $6 dollar hot lunch

18 Mar

By Diva Trista Russell

Hello Travel Diva blog readers! This is my first post as a new Diva, and I’m excited to share my travels with you!

On Friday I stopped in the little village of Zurich for lunch at Jerry Rader’s Homestyle Market. On Fridays, hot lunches (take-out style) are only $6.00…including tax! They had an awesome array of home-cooked food to choose from, and I decided to try the swedish meatballs, scalloped potatoes and baked beans.  To top it off, since the weather was so warm Friday afternoon, I was able to sit outside!

After my tasty lunch, I browsed the rest of the market. I was even greeted by Sam, the market’s resident cat, who was wandering around. Jerry Rader’s is famous for their delicious meat pies, but I discovered that they also have a variety of fresh salads and meats in the deli, frozen entrees, baked goods, and unique giftware and home decor.

The giftware is definitely worth checking out…they have everything from scarves, purses, and jewellery, to wall art, flameless candles, and wine accessories. I will definitely go back to pick up some gift items. I also hear that you can get a free slice of pie and coffee on Saturday mornings!

Jerry Rader’s Homestyle Market is open year-round, and is located at 38110 Zurich-Hensall Road. Check out their Facebook page for updates on new products and Friday’s hot lunch menus.

I’m headin’ for breakfast!

11 Aug

By: Diva Jenna Ujiye

August 13, 2011 marks the annual “Breakfast in the Park” in St. Josephs. I have never been to this event and plan to head for some good food and a bit of “Garage Sailing”, as my mom would call it! Not only is it the St.Josephs breakfast, but it is also the Zurich Town Yard Sale and Firemans breakfast. My plan is as follows:

  1. Head to St.Josephs, be there for 7am
  2. Take in the heritage of the tiny village
  3. Eat breakfast (#1)
  4. Head to Zurich, shop and explore (find some treasure)
  5. Eat breakfast (#2)

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so I don’t mind eating two of the at all! I think this adventure will be quite interesting, the people of the town seem to have quite the sense of humour! When I was looking up information on the the Zurich event, both the town website and the Fire Department had funny jokes on them. Here is the one from the fire department page:


Don’t let this happen to you!

Be sure to park AWAY from the fire hydrants!  Remember, it’s the law…