Our journey takes us to the picturesque Bluegroves Farms, nestled in the heart of Eagle, Ontario. Rewind to 1983, when the Hatch family laid the first seeds of their dreams on a 62-acre canvas of land. With a vision to cultivate the finest local blueberries, they sowed the initial seeds of an enchanting saga.
Starting small, they planted just a few acres with three varieties of blueberry bushes. But oh, how those acres blossomed! Over the years, Bluegroves Farms flourished, expanding to thirteen acres adorned with seven distinct types of blueberries. And as the sun set on 2013, a new chapter began with the Pierinelli family, Gio and Mariangela, taking the reins. With unwavering enthusiasm, they committed to enhancing every facet of the farm's logistics, ensuring its prosperity for generations.
Fast forward to 2018, and the Innes family stepped onto the scene, continuing the organic traditions that had become synonymous with Bluegroves Farms. As time meandered, 2021 ushered in a new era as local residents Victoria and Mike from St. Thomas, ON, embraced the world of organic blueberry farming. They assumed the mantle with open hearts and steadfast determination, carrying forward the cherished traditions.
At Bluegroves Farms, it's more than blueberries that captivate the senses; the bountiful offerings make this place a haven for food lovers. Explore their shelves brimming with jams that taste like summer sunshine, juices that burst with nature's goodness, and syrups that redefine sweetness. And if that's not enough, their in-house bakery conjures baked goods that can whisk you into a delightful reverie.
ut Bluegroves Farms isn't just about their own harvest. It's a haven for local and organic treasures, offering a fresh market celebrating the region's finest produce. Their commitment to the community shines through as they gather as many local organic products as possible, creating a cornucopia of goodness that supports local farmers and food enthusiasts.
Ah, the Horton Farmers' Market—a place where connections flourish. Bluegroves Farms finds a cherished spot here, sharing its story, harvest, and passion. The market isn't just a place to sell; it's a place to engage, share, and connect with old and new customers.
As the seasons roll by, Bluegroves Farms opens its arms wider still. In September and October, weekends are the time to pick up blueberry products and frozen blueberries.
Speaking of favourites, have you met their blueberry syrup? It's more than just a sweet condiment; it's a taste of summer in a bottle. Drizzle it over ice cream for a summer treat that dances on your taste buds, a reminder that simple pleasures are the sweetest.
As we begin the season of fall, another celebration starts. Oktoberfest is widely considered the biggest folk festival in the world, first originating in Munich, Germany, with celebrations held internationally. While first beginning as a royal wedding celebration, the tradition continues annually, held for 16 days of food and drink, which is the main attraction.
While the main festival is in Germany, individuals celebrate across Canada, putting their unique twists on the tradition. It's a perfect opportunity to add a Horton Farmers' Market twist this year to your festivities.
The market is the perfect place to prepare for an Oktoberfest party! One of the most traditional foods served at Oktoberfest is sausage! This brings us to our first stop at Quaker Springs Farm in the indoor pavilion. Quaker Springs carries a delicious variety of sausages, including tomato and pesto, spinach and cheese, chorizo, mild Italian, hot Italian, Hungarian, jalapeno and cheese, and garlic. With so many link options, you'll impress everyone's taste buds. Quaker Springs also makes sausage rolls using their unique sausage mix, perfectly wrapped in dough and baked to perfection.
With sausage, sauerkraut, traditional pretzels and the best local brews, you'll surely host the best Oktoberfest your friends and family have ever seen. Remember to drink responsibly, and have a good time!
And suppose hosting isn't your jam, and you'd prefer to join the party. In that case, The St. Thomas Downtown Development Board is hosting Downtown Oktoberfest to celebrate the completion of construction on Talbot St. On Saturday, October 14th from 1pm-8pm in Downtown St. Thomas, there will be Oktoberfest fun for the whole family, including FREE train rides, pumpkin decorating, live Oktoberfest entertainment and more! Shop the shops and then enjoy a beverage in the beer garden with sausage and sauerkraut by the St. Thomas Optimist's Food Truck, Opa's Pretzels and Yashka's Pierogies!
Step right up, cheese lovers and dairy enthusiasts, for a goat-tastic adventure at Great Lakes Goat Dairy! It all began 11 years ago when the cheese world was just not the same—firm goat cheeses were a rare find. But fear not, for a brilliant idea hatched in the minds of our daring cheese pioneers!
Great Lakes Goat Dairy sprang to life, offering a unique twist to cheese aficionados everywhere. Their secret superpower? Creating a variety of cheeses that could be savoured by even those with dairy intolerances. Yes, you heard that right! Lactose lamentors, rejoice, for a cheese wonderland awaits.
Picture this: firm goat cheese galore, from classic cheddar to creamy Havarti, delectable asiago to ooey-gooey mozzarella. Some with flavours that will dance on your taste buds and some crisp and clean for the purists among us. There's a cheese for every palate and occasion at Great Lakes Goat Dairy.
Along the way, they've learned a thing or two, and boy, have they got a fun-filled lesson to share! Turns out, many folks fall head over heels for their cheese once they get a taste of the magic. So, their secret to world cheese domination? Simple—get people to try it, and they'll be taking it home faster than a goat sprinting through a meadow.
Their love affair with the Horton Farmers' Market is no secret. Amidst the vibrant crowd, they find joy in connecting with customers, sharing cheesy stories, and watching smiles light up like stars in the sky.
Attention, shoppers! Great Lakes Goat Dairy has a sumptuous treat in store for you this year! On those sweltering summer days when cooking feels like a marathon, or when you're entertaining for the holiday seasons ahead, they've got a delightful solution—cheese platters! Picture a spread of their heavenly cheeses, a tantalizing array of delicious options just waiting to dazzle your taste buds.
Among their tantalizing lineup, one cheese shines —the Caramelized Onion Cheddar. Oh, sweet caramelized goodness meets the smoothness of cheddar in a match made in cheese heaven.
And hold onto your aprons, for here's a magical recipe tip from the cheese wizards themselves—the Tomato Feta bake! Pair it with their feta, and you'll be transported to a flavour paradise you never knew existed.
So, cheese enthusiasts, dairy-free warriors, and culinary adventurers make your way to Great Lakes Goat Dairy at the Horton Farmers' Market. Embrace the goat cheese magic, dance with flavours, and savour every bite like it's a cheese carnival in your mouth. The Great Lakes Goat Dairy welcomes you with open hooves, ready to show you a world of cheese that's oh-so-goat-tastic!
Once upon a sunny day in Belmont, a dairy dream came to life on June 18, 2022, when Mistyglen Creamery, an extension of the legendary Mistyglen Farms, flung open its barn doors to the world. Little did the world know that this charming creamery had a history dating back 70 years, filled with milky tales of success and a delightful twist to the dairy tale.
Mistyglen Farms, with its rich tradition of dairy operations, had wanted to diversify its offerings. They dreamt of processing and retailing on the farm itself, which meant Kris, the passionate nurse turned farmer, could finally return to the family fold full-time. With the vision of on-farm processing planted 9 years ago, it had weathered through seasons of waiting, but in early 2020, it was time to milk that idea into reality.
And so, the creamery nestled just 100 feet in front of the milking barn, where the magic of minimal processing and vat pasteurization unfolded. Unlike the shelf-dwellers of the dairy aisle, Mistyglen Creamery chose a low-temperature pasteurization method, preserving their high-quality raw milk with a nostalgic nod to the past. There are no unnecessary steps here, just pure, unhomogenized milk with a separation of cream atop the fluid milk, creating a picturesque canvas of dairy perfection.
But the real showstoppers were the squeaky and scrumptious cheese curds! Every Friday, the creamery showcased the authentic Quebec way and the flavours! Loaded potato and dill pickle curds tantalized taste buds like a barn dance for the tongue.
As the creamery flourished, Kris and the team were not content with being just another pit stop. Mistyglen Creamery was transforming into an agri-tourism haven. The farm beckoned the community with open arms, offering a sweet escape into the vibrant farm life (with a few chuckles from the unique farm smell). They envisioned a future where the farm hosted community services with a positive impact, like a dementia day program inspired by Care Farming—a nurturing embrace where farming and nursing danced in harmony.
In the heart of the creamery, a retail wonderland unfolded. Shoppers delighted in Mistyglen's products and local gems, all while glimpsing into the mystical production area. The milking ladies showed off their hard work on the barn's live stream, captivating customers like a prime-time dairy drama.
The Horton Market was the icing on Mistyglen Creamery's cake—a family of vendors and consumers knitted together with warm threads of community spirit. Collaborating with fellow vendors was a highlight, as was meeting customers face-to-face and treating them like cherished members of an extended family. To them, the Horton market was the essence of togetherness and love.
There were whispers of future expansions to the yogurt line. New equipment and operations were afoot as the creamery strived to make creamy dreams come true. The yogurt was a heartthrob, vying for the top spot with the beloved white non-homogenized milk—a dairy dream that made hearts flutter.
The Horton Farmers' Market is a unique and diverse gathering place, bringing something new each Saturday of its summer season. One of the market's most colourful, creative and eye-catching parts would be the array of amazing artisans!
While Horton may be a Farmers' Market, our great artisans are essential to the recipe of Horton's impeccable vibe. Though they may be outnumbered by food and produce vendors, these artisans should be recognized for their contributions! Let's look at some great artisans who have been with us throughout our 2023 season so far.
Looking for adorable decor and designs? Jancat Art has you covered! With an array of keychains, pins, notebooks, shirts, hats, and so much more, Jancat Art has adorable merchandise for anyone fond of cats, flowers, cute foods and more. After first growing her small business on Instagram, she expanded her content into the Horton Farmers' Market, bringing her latest creations all season.
It's always a fun surprise when Poured Art by Lori visits the market! Lori brings her beautiful designs from Port Stanley, each unique with bright colours of acrylic paint against beautifully cut wood. Some of her most well-known pieces consist of cutting boards, bowls and jewellery, the patterns of colour truly making the piece pop.
Another fun creator to see is Elora Joy Crochet. Since starting her business in 2020, Elora has made adorable crochet plushies made of chenille yarn, ensuring the products are even softer! Love is placed into each stitch of her works of art, bringing joy and cuddles to her customers. Elora joined us this summer as part of the Small Business Enterprise Centre Summer Company program.
Anyone searching for a perfect accessory to compliment an outfit need not look further than Wayward Creations. Each handmade piece, from stunning stud earrings to elegant necklaces, is unique and original, ensuring you'll find the perfect fit for you and your style.
With so many incredible artisans available each Saturday, our local community always gives the Horton Farmers' Market a pop of colour and creativity! These vendors often participate in other local events, such as the Wildflowers' Friday Night Markets, The Little Market Collective's Makers in the Park events, and so much more! Be sure to support and stay in touch with your favourite artisans' social media to see all their latest creations come to life.
The first weekend of September can be bittersweet. While some are looking forward to a return to routine and sweater weather, others may still need more time to be ready to indulge in the pumpkin spice of Autumn. The beginning of the new school year is only days away! For many students, this time of year seems like the end of summer fun and freedom. However, school is more than just the same boring routine- it's a chance to start fresh, almost like a second New Year's! There is something special about "new planner" season; shopping at Horton can help if eating well is on your to-do list.
With so many vendors delivering delicious, nutritious and fresh local produce every Saturday, your pantry will seem like something other than a variety store and your children's lunches like a vending machine! Let's look at some great produce and how it will benefit your kids!
With these three healthy choices and plenty more to discover at the market, you'll be sure to help your kids enjoy nutritious lunches into the new school year and encourage healthy habits for life. Enjoy!