It was Saturday, September 15, when I saw the dragons breathing fire down Lake Victoria! They were going so fast while the roar of the fans cheered them on! Okay, so there weren't really dragons; but there were dragon boats and the fans were cheering from 8 in the morning till well after 7 at night. It was the annual Rotary Club Dragon Boat Festival in Stratford and oh what excitement was brewing!
The Rotary Club did a FANTASTIC job of organizing such a great event and had such a great logo -- it would make you want to paddle fast to get away from this dragon! There were over 70 teams frantically rowing down the lake from the Waterloo Bridge east to Tom Patterson Island, a total race course length of 1,640.4 ft. There were 4 racing lanes, each lane only 33' wide -- which really isn't very wide when you consider the length of these dragon boats. There were always 8 boats in the water -- 4 getting filled with new rowing teams and paddling up the lake to the starting line, while trying to stay away from the 4 boats racing down to the finish line.
As each of the 4 teams were called to the Island, they started exercising and doing jumping jacks to limber up their muscles for the next race. They would then get in their assigned dragon boat and start paddling up to the starting line.
To get a good overview of the activities, I walked on the north side of the lake to see the rowers getting into their boats and start on their event as well as all the fans along the tent route cheering on their friends. All the races, splashing, cheering and drumming seemed to get the attention of all the wildlife. The swans and ducks, for the most part, stayed east of all the events. But I did come across this cormorant that was intently watching all the boats going up and down the lake, only about 30' from him. I guess all the rowing stirred up all the fish in the lake and was providing an appetizing view for this bird, but he dare not attempt to catch any fish as he might have got hit on the head with a paddle!
I know if you look at the picture above, you might think they weren't sure which direction they were supposed to be going. But this event was all very organized and timed to the second as to who was racing and who was getting ready to race. The picture below shows two teams paddling up to the starting line and getting some encouraging words for the race.
On Your Mark! Get Set!!!
And they're off! After the first few hundred feet, there isn't anyone pulling ahead yet!
And as they near the finish line, they are neck-in-neck! All day -- for 11 hours -- the races continued to go on!
So for this race, the winning dragon boat was #1. But there were a total of 56 races throughout the day, each race a winner moving up the ladder in an attempt to claim the grand prize. At the end of the day, "Will Paddle for Rice -- Final Helping" took 1st Place with a time of 2.10.86 -- so a big congratulations to them. In 2nd place, PDBC Masters took 2.19.12, and 3rd place went to Bearing Arms at 2.20.94. A big congratulations to all the participants for a great race and wonderful entertainment. Also, much appreciation to all the sponsors, including the Plantinum Sponsor of Sun Life Financial without whose support, I am sure this event couldn't take place. But most appreciation to the Rotary Club of Stratford for a job well done and much fun for all participants and fans.
But as the sun was setting, the partying was still going on for all of those that were left -- whose muscle pains obviously had diminished with the thrill of a great day. But as I walked over the bridge, I saw 3 birds diving under water and staying there for about 30 seconds. As one of the birds' heads popped up out of the water, I realized that the cormorant had finally been able to take advantage of the smorgasbord that was left for him and his two buddies -- a lake full of fish that were also slowing down after a busy day of getting out of the way of the dragons.
A few weeks ago, we decided to venture out on the country roads. You don’t really need a map as long as you enjoy an exciting adventure of traveling through small towns – some are so small that if you blink … you know what happens then, you miss the town. But sometimes these small towns are a little deceiving. If you simply turn down a street, you may find a whole village that you never would have known about had you simply continued past the town sign.
Many of the towns around Stratford and throughout Perth County appear to be very small. Sometimes there is a “Welcome to …” or sometimes there is just a blue sign that says the name of the village. Some of the signs announce the town and what they are famous for or some tell you about an upcoming event. For example, when you drive through Wellesley, the sign tells you what they are famous for – apple butter and cheese and they even have a fall festival based on these 2 items!
But other signs give you the name of the town, a nice “Welcome” (and then when you are leaving a “Thanks for Coming”) and a symbol of what the town is about. When you come to Millbank, they have a great sign that has a metal cut-out of a horse and buggy – typical of the people who live there.
So we started driving north on Waterloo Street from Ontario Street. At the end of Waterloo Street, it turns into Mornington Street (which is Perth Road 119). It was our intention to drive to Millbank as we had heard there was a really nice little restaurant there – and I know it is my duty in life now to tell you where there are good little restaurants in Perth County. So we drove past the town of Gads Hill until the road veered left, saw a sign for Poole on the right (we did know Poole was near Millbank) so took the first right (which was Road 121) and continued heading north. A few minutes after we left Poole, we passed a sign for Zehr’s Country Market saying it was in the business section of Millbank. As we turned east on Perth Line 72, I said “Well, if they have a Zehr’s – it can’t be that small”. We were used to shopping at Zehr’s (in Bolton when we lived in Kleinburg). Zehr’s is a subsidiary of the huge chain of grocery stores under the “Loblaw” name. So we drove a couple of minutes and saw Anna Mae’s – the restaurant we had been told about. Opposite Anna Mae’s, was a small sign for Zehr’s – south from the restaurant. So we drove down this little street, only one block, and came upon some Mennonites in their carriages. We saw a couple of little stores and on the next street we found Zehr’s Country Market.
Well, was I surprised – this wasn’t our typical Zehr’s market. This Zehr’s country market is a sweet little corner store with fresh fruit and vegetables outside on the front stoop. A Mennonite lady was replenishing the fruit stand out front and helping a customer pick our the best basket of strawberries. Well, I must admit we all laughed at our own naivete -- or at least at my naivete. Us city girls are so used to huge grocery stores, that it never occurred to us that it might be a different Zehrs. So we continued on down the street past a hardware store, a stable for carriages, and a cheese shop.
I must tell you that days later I was speaking to someone from Stratford and told them of our tour to Millbank and our visiting the Zehr’s market. So let me first say, that I don’t know if what I am about to tell you is all true or not, but it sure does make a great story.
My friend told me that Zehr’s was first opened in 1950 in Kitchener by Emory Zehr. Mr. Zehr offered good quality produce and meats, but with a strong emphasis on customer service. As business was doing well and having a good reputation with his customers, Mr. Zehr started opening more Zehrs markets around the area. However, in 1963, Loblaw Companies acquired the Zehrs Markets from Mr. Zehr and, therefore, the Zehr’s Market name continues to thrive – but as a major grocery store. Apparently, this little market in Millbank is one, if not the only, private little Zehrs market left and is currently run by Dave and Barb Zehr and family.
So Millbank has many other stores to visit that you would miss if you hadn't come down the road. There is the Millbank Cheese Factory that has been in business since 1908 and offers a variety of best cheddars and specialty cheeses. The Mennonite Family Furniture stores makes beautiful hand crafted solid wood furniture with a 10,000 sq. ft. showroom (hard to believe all that furniture is in this little town). There are stores that offer fabrics, quilts, honey, bird seed and almost anything else you would need or want. There is even a store, The Orange Barn, that imports freshly picked citrus fruits. They have set dates where different varieties of fruits are shipped in and they sell them only that week.
As you drive in and around the town of Millbank, you see many of the locals driving in their horse and buggies. It is such a quaint site to see the ladies and girls in their hats and long dresses, and the boys and men with their straw hats. They are a proud but private society that have their own values and lifestyles which we can admire. Please note that I never taken pictures of these people showing their faces. I wouldn’t like it if people stared and took pictures of me – I only want to admire their carriages and their beautiful horses. Some families have Clydesdale horses, but many families choose to use miniature horses to pull their carriages.
After circling around a few farms and villages, we decide it is time to eat and head for Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant. Let me say first – what a charming, but busy, restaurant! Anna Mae's restaurant specializes in good old-fashioned Mennonite cooking. The menu has items like Broasted Chicken (a baked chicken with a type of breading on top), pork roast, pork chops, salads, burgers, fish and chips, wraps and sandwiches. The spinach salad is fantastic and has a sort of citrus dressing. I have asked if they sell the dressing bottled, but unfortunately they don’t. If they did – I would buy lots of it as it is so good and it is very difficult to replicate (believe me – I have tried). They also serve their hot meals by a small portion (great for light eaters), a regular plate, platter size, and even a Full Meal Deal (with soup or salad, meat, potatoes, vegetables, choice of dinner roll and dessert) for a very reasonable price. They also have a chicken deal for four people which includes 4 Full Meal Deals plus 4 regular beverages for a total of $41.99 (the price as of today). How can you beat that? Trust me -- you can't! So this variety of sized meals are great for families, seniors, etc., as everyone gets just the size they want! They also have a 5-week rotating menu which is listed on their website so you can see what the specials are for a certain day (so please check it out at www.annamaes.ca).
There is a small gift shop to browse through while you wait for a seat – and yes, chances are you will have to wait. You go to the front entrance inside the building and add your name to the list of people hungry for a good meal. It normally doesn’t take too long to get a table (but don’t go around 4 p.m. as I hear you can wait half an hour to get seated), but you can browse in the shop and go past the sign-in table and to the right, you can see locally made products as well as a great bakery to wet your whistle! They have great cookies and tarts (especially the peanut butter cookies and the walnut tarts), breads, buns, Chelsea loaves, Cinnamon buns, muffins and tea loaves, cheesecakes as well as fancy squares – and of course pies! They have soooooo many pies such as:
Apple (2 different types)
Raspberry (2 different kinds)
Shoofly (Mennonite specialty)
Rhubarb (2 different kinds)
Coconut or Chocolate Cream
They also have specialty seasonal pies and also offer 4 types of sugar-free pies. But go on their website and you can see all the baked goods they make – it will make your mouth water! As always, we have tried to test many of their baked goods on your behalf – but we really love their Lemon Meringue Pie! In fact, it was Mom's birthday this week and she said she didn't want a birthday cake, she wanted a Lemon Meringue pie. Quite a sight to see candles glowing on a lemon meringue pie! So we have decided that because we all love it so much, we have voted it the Best Ever Lemon Meringue Pie in Perth County!
After leaving Millbank, we did drive up and down a few country roads. We got to admire the flat landscape, the red barns popping up in the horizons, a few cows, goats, sheep, horses, miniature horses, a bull and the occasional buffalo. Yes, I did say buffalo! Near Donegal, there is a farm with some donkeys, a bull and a family of buffalos roaming in the front yard. It is the funniest thing to see these buffalos roam around the bull and up near the road. But they are the most endearing of animals with their big brown eyes and wooly coats! And just in case you think we had had a little drink at Anna Mae's, we snapped a couple of pictures for you.
So next time you are in or near Millbank in Perth County, drop by Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant – but remember to sign in to get a seat, pick up some baked goods to take home, and note that they don’t accept credit cards – only cash or interact and reservations can only be made for groups of 10 or more. Can't wait to see you there!
Cheers for now!
One morning when Dawna looked out the window, she saw a plastic bag laying on her car windshield. She went out and, much to her surprise, she found a bag of the biggest rhubarb stalks she had ever seen. Honestly, these stalks were at least 2” across. I wish I had taken a picture of the stalks but I didn’t have time as Dawna was rushing in to stew the rhubarb.
After putting on her detective hat, Dawna figured out that our neighbour, Jack, had placed the gift on her car. When she went over to thank Jack, he showed her the leaves that he had cut off the rhubarb. Dawna brought one of the leaves home to show us and I had to snap a picture. The rhubarb leaf was 28” across – it was huge!
So Dawna was in her glory as she stewed down the rhubarb and contemplated what type of topping to make. Dawna loves a fruit crisp but we didn’t have any oatmeal in the cupboard. I suggested making a cobbler – and off she went! I have great memories of when I was little, my grandmother would make a fruit cobbler. Nana would stew down the rhubarb, or whatever fruit she had in the house, and put it in a baking dish. Then she would make up a cake batter and pour it on top of the fruit and then bake it. This was Nana’s upside down cake – which as a small child, always made me laugh – why would you have to make a cake upside down?
Well Dawna's wasn't an upside down cake -- it was a rhubarb cobbler which turned out great! The fruit was tender, not too sweet, and smelled wonderful. The cake cobbler on top was light and soaked up some of the rhubarb juices. Naturally, Dawna served it with whipped cream on top, just to make it extra decadent.
So next time you have some extra fruit in the house or in your garden or, if you are lucky enough to have a neighbour like we do who shares some of his fruit with you, think about making an old-fashioned cobbler. It is one of those dishes that I call true “comfort food”. Plus, you are able to take advantage of locally grown fruit which makes it taste extra special.
For those of you who don’t have your own favourite recipe for a Rhubarb Cobbler, here is Dawna’s recipe that you can try -- it really is delicious. Enjoy!
¾ c white sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 c chopped rhubarb
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter, diced
1 tsp gr cinnamon
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp white sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ c butter
¼ c milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp white sugar
Can be served right out of the oven or little it sit for a few minutes to let it cool a little. Serve with whipped cream mixed with a little cinnamon!
Thanks Dawna for another great recipe!
Cheers to comfort food -- country style!
A couple of weeks ago, I went out to sit on the front porch and enjoy the evening breezes. There on one of my chairs were cracked acorns and some assorted shells -- what a mess! I couldn't figure out how these shells got there. As I looked around the porch expecting to find the answer, my eyes rose up to a wreath I had hung on the wall beside the front door. It is an old pinecone wreath that I bought at the Bindertwine Festival in Kleinburg probably over 25 years ago. Not only was the wreath very old, it was sprayed with a shellac of some type to keep it looking fresh. As I looked at the wreath closely, I saw there was one or two acorns on the wreath at the top, but lower down there were old pieces of glue where obviously acorns had once been. So this solved my problem as to where the shells had come from. Obviously, a squirrel found the acorns and decided I had placed them on the wreath for the sole purpose of providing food for him. So I moved the chair farther away from the wall in an effort to save the rest of my wreath -- but now I will have to find some more acorns to repair the wreath.
In the past few weeks, I have watched the squirrels run across the front porch. They come up the front stairs, look in the front window, and then run around to the side of the porch where I cannot see them. This seems to be a game with them. Well, the other day, a squirrel ran up the stairs with what looked like a small green apple in his mouth. I tapped on the window as I didn't want him sitting on my pretty cushions while eating his apple. So he ran around the side of the porch and I went back to my reading.
The next day I went out to sit on the front porch and enjoy watching the swans and the dragon boat racers practicing for the upcoming festival races. I watched the squirrels frolick in the trees and running across the lawn. As I got up to come in the house, I looked at the wreath to see if any more acorns had been removed. But to my surprise, I found a present -- a small green apple tucked in the bottom of the wreath. I pointed out the apple to my Mom and we had a good laugh about it. Maybe the squirrel was storing it for winter, or maybe he was showing me that he was replacing my acorns with his little apples. Regardless, I threw the apple onto the front lawn so that the squirrel wouldn't come back to have a snack of apples and old acorns.
Yesterday, I once again saw the squirrel scampering across the front porch, with an apple in his mouth, he stopped in front of the window as if to show me what he had, and then continued on around the porch. Last night we went out to sit on the front porch -- and guess what we found! Another green apple -- but this time it was tucked in between some brochures on Perth County in our magazine rack. Maybe he was leaving it there so later on he would have a snack when he was going through our brochures -- perhaps looking for a new supply of apples in the County!
For some reason that I don't understand, the squirrels in Stratford act very differently than I have ever seen before. The squirrels typically don't run down the trees, but they kind of slither. They stretch out their little bodies and lie flat and kind of slide down the trees. When you look at them up in the limbs of the tall trees, they are again lying flat -- perhaps they are afraid of heights and think they won't fall off if they lie flat. Anywyas, it's a hoot to watch them slither and lay down, then slither on to their next resting place. I remember in Kleinburg that the squirrels would climb up the apple tree, find a great apple at the top of the tree and then sit there and chomp away.
Kleinburg Squirrels Eating atop the Apple Tree
Stratford squirrels are a kind all of their own! I have yet to see a local squirrel eat up in a tree. They always eat at the bottom of the tree (perhaps hiding from the other squirrels while they chomp down on their new find) or, apparently, on my front porch.
Take a look at the hands and especially the feet of this Stratford squirrel -- his feet look so big compared to his tiny stature. I'm not sure what he is eating here in front of the house, but he is definitely not letting my picture-taking deter him from his meal.
So we all have fun with the squirrels! The squirrels even tease our dog, Maggey, as soon as she goes out in the backyard with Dawna. The squirrels hear the back door open and they run to the base of the big trees in the yard. As soon as they make eye contact with Maggey, they scramble up about 5' with their bellies laying flat against the trunk and turn around. Maggey takes a few steps closer to them, and they take a few steps down the trunk, then they run up a few feet, always keeping their eyes on her. This goes on for a few minutes and then Maggey decides enough is enough and off she goes to find something else to amuse her. It is like they want to tease her so that she will come and play with them.
Today, as I was finishing this blog, I went to sit out on the porch for a bit of fresh air. I was thinking about how crazy these squirrels are and how much enjoyment I get watching them. I also thought I probably shouldn't have moved the apple from the wreath -- though I really don't want the squirrels eating my wreath. I got up to go inside and stopped in my tracks. Yes -- the green apple was back in the wreath! I laughed and asked everyone "Who put the apple back?" but everyone denied it! So now they probably think I am a little nutty over this apple! I decided to leave the apple for now -- perhaps when I fix the damage to the wreath, then I will get rid of the apple. But for now, I don't mind sharing my front porch with my new furry friends!
Cheers for now!
Water is one of the best attractions here in Perth County. Whether it is a river, waterfall, lake, or stream, there is nothing better to do but to sit along side and enjoy the songs that the water plays for us.
One of the nicest things to do here in Stratford, is to take the tour boat around the lake. It was one of the first activities we did when we moved here and plan to take it again in the autumn when the trees start turning colour. It’s not exactly “rolling down the river” but it is a nice, relaxing cruise!
You get the boat from Avon Boat Rentals -- it is right between the Lake and the public parking lot on York Street. So the dock is a little hard to explain where it is – but let me try. Obviously, they are down at water level at the west end of Lake Victoria. (Some people say it is part of the Avon River, but on maps, the Avon feeds in at the west end of Lake Victoria and continues after the east end of the Lake.)
At the west end of downtown Stratford, Ontario Street crosses Erie Street. One block north of Ontario Street is York Street, where you turn left to get to the Public Parking lot and Avon Boat Rental. It is a quaint little street that has small stores and cafes that are actually in the basements of the buildings facing onto Ontario Street.
On the upper level of the building, there is a tourism office to help you find your way around town, as well it has pubic washrooms. Take the stairs or the ramp down to the lower level and you will find Avon Boat Rentals. From here, you can rent canoes, kayaks, paddle boats or take the tour boat.
This covered, slow-moving tour boat goes down Lake Victoria, under the Waterloo Street bridge, around the island, past the Festival Theatre and turns before the bridge at the east end of the lake before it starts its way back. The boat even has soft music playing so that you really can relax and enjoy the scenery. I don’t know how long the trip was as I was so taken by looking at the homes and shooting some pics of the landscape and wildlife, but I would guess it was about 30 minutes. The guys who run the boats are really nice and try to answer any questions you may have.
While on the tour, you get up close to the swans, ducks, geese and even a Cormorant who poses on a buoy just as you leave dock. When we left on our tour, the bird just posed and didn’t move and I was sure it was a decoy. When we returned, there he was still posing, but as we went around him, he turned his head and looked at me. What a ham!! After doing a little research, I think this is a Double-crested Cormorant that strips trees of vegetation and eats lots of fish every day. No wonder he waits on the buoy while looking for his next meal!
When we got back to the dock, we noticed the white swan came over with her four 4-month old cygnets. It is so interesting that baby swans are actually quite gray until they fully mature. So I snapped lots of pics while Dawna fed them their special roasted corn (also for sale at the snack shop where you buy your tickets for the boat ride). They are so soft and beautiful – almost as graceful as their mom. We then sat at the snack shop patio and had ice cream – but they also have great hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, peameal bacon, chips and cold drinks in case you get hungry after pedaling or paddling those boats.
When I said at the beginning of this blog, that it is so nice to sit along the river banks and listen to the music – I also meant literally. Almost every evening in the summer months, the H.M.S. Razzamajazz barge is launched around 6:30 p.m. For about an hour, this riverboat goes up and down Lake Victoria with live music being played for all to hear. Some nights there is a jazz singer, other nights a band, maybe a couple of guitarists, and even a country folk band. No matter who is playing, it is always fun to go out on the front porch and sing along to “New York”, “Tiny Bubbles”, or “I Want a Girl”. No matter what genre of music is being played, and whether or not you know the words, you can always tap your foot to the music.
So not everybody cruises down the river or sits on the riverbank listening to the music. Stratford is also known for its famous Dragon Boat Festival Races put on by the Rotary Club. This year, the big race is on Saturday, September 15. Apparently this is a really big festival with over 60 teams competing and people come from all around to watch the races. In fact, from our front porch, we have been watching two local teams practice in the evenings just to get ready for the big race! But I just checked the website for this event, which is: www.rotarystratford.com and found out that these teams will start their practicing on Monday, September 3 for the next two weeks. It should be an exciting time – I can’t wait to watch – yes watch, no way I’m getting in a boat that long with so many people on board! But cheers to those risk-takers who get out there to have some fun! If I get close enough to get some good pics, I will post them in a blog later this month.
I do have a sad post script to add to this blog. The other night, we went down to the boat dock just to have a burger by the water. This was the last day of August and the weather has been so beautiful, we figure why not eat outside – we don’t know how many more evenings we will have till it starts getting cold. But I digress! We saw the mother swan and her cygnets come over to the dock – but there were only 3 cygnets. So I went and asked one of the guys where the other cygnet was. He said that last week, a mink (can you believe it – a mink running around Stratford??) came down, swam in the water towards the cygnet and attacked it. Someone was able to get the cygnet out of the water and take it to the vet, but the young swan lost an eye and had required a lot of stitches. The poor cygnet was returned to the lake a few days later, but the family rejected it as they thought it was ill. So the young injured swan was taken to a pen to recuperate. I know that life in the wild is dangerous, but why would a little mink try and kill a swan that is almost full size by now? Life isn’t fair! But it is good to know that he wasn’t killed, that he is in a lovely new home for now and, perhaps later on, he will be reunited with his siblings.
At least I have some pics of the cygnets and I hope you enjoy them.
So when you come down to visit Stratford, and you want to get some exercise, rent a paddle boat, canoe or kayak and enjoy the outdoors. And if you want a more relaxing cruise on the lake, remember to take the tour boat – the one with the blue canopy on top!
One of the best things about living in Stratford is going to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. By the time all four of us women get ready, I can’t say we are there really early in the morning. However, we are usually there by 10:00 which is great as the early risers have already bought their groceries and left the market and the late risers haven’t yet run in at the last minute to get whatever produce is left. The market isn’t quite as busy at this time so that is why my photos can show the vendors and their produce well and I am not sticking my camera between heads of people!!
The Stratford Farmers Market was established in 1855 and is one of the oldest markets in Ontario. The year-round market is open from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon every Saturday and is located in the Stratford Agriplex Building off of McCarthy Road. It is about a 5 minute drive from the intersection of Ontario and Waterloo streets. The market is really the perfect size -- not too big so that you can't find your favourite vendors amongst all the people and not too small that there is a limited selection of food and products.
During the summer time, all the produce vendors are outside, usually under tents. (In the winter, the farmers that are still offering produce move inside.) There are local farmers as well as those that have driven a distance to sell here (I can’t imagine what time they get up!). But the produce fills all your senses – the smell of the flowers just cut yesterday, the vivid colours of vegetables freshly picked, the firmness of a fresh tomato or cucumber, the calming scent of fresh lavender, the dirt still on the new potatoes, the fresh silk on the new corn, and boy do they taste good when you get them home!
Inside the Agricultural Building, there are more vendors selling freshly cured meats, all sorts of cheeses, seafood, honey, maple syrup, bird feed, nuts, dog biscuits, fresh soups, jams and jellies and, yes, a few baked goods (yes – we do sample these quite often in order to find the best products for you – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it). There are also items made by local artisans such as handmade quilts, jewellery, tea cozies, beeswax candles and beautiful, handmade cutting boards, pens, etc. carved from gorgeous woods. Dawna always buys bags of roasted corn that she feeds to the ducks and swans – these are official “swan keeper approved” and boy do the ducks and swans love her when she feeds them this corn!
But there are two best things about the market -- and yes they have to do with eating! Holley loves (and I do mean LOVES) the peameal bacon on a bun cooked up by the Stratford and District Agricultural Society fundraising group. In all our travels over the past two months, Holley has chosen this peameal bacon on a bun to be the BEST EVER PEAMEAL iIN PERTH COUNTY! It is tender, juicy and deeee-licious! So if you are at the market, stop by and get a peameal bacon on a bun -- and know that it will be fantastic and the money goes to a good cause!
The other best thing about the market, in my opinion, are the apple fritters. There are two ladies who come in a little caravan called "Apple Frits" and make fresh apple fritters! (I think as long as these ladies come to the market, I will always be coming to the market and to their booth.) Let me tell you – these are not your typical apple fritters! They are thin, round actual slices of apple, dipped in a light batter, deep-fried (but I am sure there are no calories), and then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar! Oh My Gosh – are they good!!!! They are so good we eat them right there and they have yet to ever make them home – but I think they are probably best when eaten at the market and still steaming hot! You can get 6 in a box, which is what we usually get as we all have one, or maybe two! Or you can get one, smothered in whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce! Okay, so we haven’t actually tried these dolled-up fritters – they may be just a bit too decadent for us at 10 in the morning, but we do see lots of people with lips covered in cream and chocolate sauce! So Apple Frits is my choice for BEST EVER APPLE FRITTERS IN PERTH COUNTY!
So if you are ever in the Stratford area on a Saturday morning, or you simply want to experience a great farmers market, then please come to the Stratford Farmers Market. Admission and Parking is free and there are lots of spaces. The whole market is completely accessible, as are the washrooms. And just in case you buy more than you thought you would (which is always the case for us), there is an ATM machine inside the Agriplex building. The market is located in the Agriplex Building just behind the Stratford Rotary Complex at 353 McCarthy Road.
From Hwy 7/Ontario Street, turn north on Waterloo (naturally, there is a Tim's on the northeast corner). Continue to follow this north and when it turns into Mornington Street (Hwy 119), drive about 5 minutes until you reach McCarthy Road. Turn left (west) on McCarthy and drive till you reach the Stratford Rotary Complex on the left and turn into the parking lot. The Farmers Market is straight ahead behind the arena.
For more information, the link is: www.stratfordfairgrounds.com/market.html
We can’t wait to see you at the market – we’ll try and save you a fritter – but don’t count on it!
Cheers for now!
Heather and her family moved to Stratford, Ontario, in the summer of 2012. This artsy family shares their travel experiences as they venture out from their front porch to their new local Perth County. Heather shares her nature and floral photography, as well as the sculptures that Dawna carves, the original jewellery that Ann and Dawna design, and the artwork that Dawna and Holley create.