Travel the back roads, country lanes, and rolling hills that make up Oxford County and Middlesex County on a culinary adventure through the heart of Ontario’s Southwest farm country. See, touch, and taste the bounty of the land; and meet the chefs, farmers, and producers who are committed to all things local and artisanal.
Chef Eric Boyar has created one of Ontario’s most buzzed about farm-to-table dining destinations with SixThirtyNine. In addition to a large family garden plot by the restaurant, Chef Boyar takes to nearby fields and forests to forage for unique flavours for his dishes. Furthermore, by exclusively sourcing local ingredients from area farmers and suppliers, SixThirtyNine shines a spotlight on the flavours of Oxford County.
Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese
In the heart of Canada’s Dairy Capital, a dairy farmer’s son has built a reputation as one of the country’s best cheese makers. Shep Ysselstein uses milk from his parent’s dairy farm to create a delicious collection of swiss-style cheeses at Gunn’s Hill just outside of Woodstock. His award-winning cheeses can be found, not only across Oxford County, but across Ontario at artisan cheese shops!
At Chocolatea, chocolatier Cindy Walker follows the artisan tradition of creating everything by hand, in small batches and without preservatives. She sources local dairy products for three of her signature caramels, as well as local lavender, maple syrup and honey for her delicious chocolates. But Cindy’s love for all things local isn’t restricted to her chocolates and caramels; at Chocolatea, you’ll find an amazing collection of teas too!
After you’ve got your sweet tooth fix, spend the evening in the historic Elm Hurst Inn just off the 401. In the morning, continue your culinary journey west into the rural roots of Middlesex County.
Slegers Organic Greens
The certified organic lettuces, herbs, greens and micro greens don’t come any fresher than those you’ll find at Slegers Organic Greens in Strathroy. The plants are sold with the root systems intact. That live energy creates more vibrant flavour than anything you’ll find at the supermarket that has been picked and sitting in packaging for days. It’s no wonder chefs love to work with Slegers. One of Slegers’ regular customers is Chef Mark of Clock Tower Inn & Bistro.
Clock Tower Inn & Bistro
Chef Mark Graham of the Clock Tower Inn has passion in spades for the region’s farm-to-table ingredients and for the historic post office that’s been restored into a thriving destination restaurant and inn. Chef Mark takes the 100-mile diet to a whole new level with his delicious 30-mile salad, featuring vegetables, eggs, meats and cheeses from his nearby neighbours across Middlesex County. Extend your trip by staying the night in one of the charming rooms at the inn.
Apple Land Station
Located just outside London, you’ll want to make a trip to Apple Land Station, to a family farm attraction in Thorndale that both kids and kids at heart will adore. In addition to pick-your-own apples and pumpkins in the fall, Apple Land Station has a whole crop of farm-themed activities for the kids. For foodies, though, the star attraction is the onsite store and bakery with its freshly baked apple pies that are truly epic. Each one is piled high with 3.5 pounds of apples!
Now that you’ve experienced some of the rural roots of Ontario’s Southwest, check out the rest of the Next Stop: Taste video series for amazing wines, craft beers, and restaurants across the region that is shaped by nature.