Cold Creek Conservation Area
Sunday, September 7, 2014
This was our third year attending Organic Advocates Feast of Fields. It also marked the 25th anniversary of this organic food event. As we drove into King on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, we knew exactly what to expect - excellent organic food and drinks and that's what was delivered! Organic Advocates - Feast of Fields event was held at Cold Creek Conservation Area in the Township of King, a beautiful area north of Toronto. We were blessed with gorgeous weather by the weather gods for another straight year.
As we walked onto the field, I spotted some familiar favourites right away like; Steam Whistle Brewery, Mill Street Organic, Bernardin, Wanda's Pie in the Sky, Lailey Vineyard Winery and Forage Restaurant. I was quite excited about what lay ahead. So with my trusty linen napkin and wine glass in hand...we ventured forward.
Everything tasted great; however, as always there was a few favourites that stood out...Ana Olsen who had paired up with Bernardin had lovely white chocolate and black pepper scones with a gorgeous blackberry preserve. Vertical Restaurant's Giocomo Pasquini's grilled albacore tuna crostini with a wonderful tomato, caper and bbq corn salsa was exquisite. The orange and saffron madeleines from Madeleines - Madeleines, Cherry Pie and Ice cream...in a word...heaven. Wanda's Pie in the Sky's Wanda Beaver had delicious Italian Plum bars (OMG). The jerk rabbit sliders from Wild Burger Inc. were also delicious. But I would say that Bruce Wine Bar's potato rosti with smoked trout was superb and probably the show favourite for me.
This year the organizers also put together a silent auction that you could bid on during your tasting rounds. Live music kept playing in the background and it was a great overall experience.
Ana Olsen was this year's celebrity chef and although the website mentioned that Ted Reader was due to be there...I missed the boisterous BBQ king. I can honestly say that I missed the lovely Carl Heinrich or the super cool Albert Ponzo the most...these two added a lovely quiet star appeal and those in the know truly appreciate their talents. I hope they return to Feast of Fields soon.
Overall, the 25th Anniversary of Organic Advocates Feast of Fields was a success. I truly appreciated the opportunity to once again cover this event and experience an afternoon of wonderful food and drink. Here`s to 25 more fabulous years.
In his opinion:
This has grown to be one of our favourite events to cover for all the apparently obvious reasons. When you put together an event that includes some of Ontario's finest organic growers and purveyors, microbreweries, caterers and bakeries, topped off with celebrity guest appearances and cooking demonstrations, the outcome can only be a roaring success.
This year was no exception and Cold Creek Conservation Area was bustling with people ready and excited to be part of this annual celebration. The layout of the event was a familiar one and the main difference this year was the addition of a state of the art outdoor kitchen where some terrific cooking demonstrations were going on. These were being facilitated by some of the attending chefs including Food Network's very own Anna Olson in a kitchen supplied by Appliance Canada.
As we made our way through the many displays, we were once again reminded of how lucky we truly are in this Province of Ontario to have such abundance and availability of top quality products and passionate organic enthusiasts that continue to enrich our tables, our markets and restaurants daily.
Some of the usual suspects and favourites were at hand, displaying their products in a very attractive and pleasant way, always ready to explain their products and services. Part of the appeal to this event is exactly that, the interaction with the actual people behind some of the products that you consume daily and the opportunity to experience and engage those behind it.
I will start with the drink suppliers which are a big attraction at this event and I will highlight the return of some of our favourite breweries like Steam Whistle, Flying Monkey and Mill St. Organic Brewery. Mill St. was showcasing their 100 Meredian brew that was a hit with the patrons. The Tom Green Beer displayed by Beaus Natural Brewing Company was also generating quite the buzz and lastly, Spearhead Brewing Company was also a popular stop, especially for their Inida Pale Ale and Sam Roberts picked namesake beer. Henry of Pelham Wineries seemed to generate the most interest in the wine section of things and specialty drinks like Bao Smoothies, Pommies Dry Cider were the talk of the specialty drink town.
Some outstanding restaurant displays were also at hand, giving us a short but tasty preview of the magic that goes on in their establishments. Special mentions go to Bruce's Wine Bar's Trout Gravelox Potato Rosti, Giacomo Pasquini of Vertical's Albacore Tuna Crostino, Forage's delicious crab cakes, Wild Burgers amazing Jerk Rabbit burger and Maple Cured Pastrami sandwiches by Tundra Restaurants.
A celebrated fixture at this event is Wanda's Pie in the Sky. Not only for the amazing pies created and served but also by the presence of Wanda herself. There was no shortage of public interest for wanting to taste her delicious desserts but also to be able to "talk shop" with Wanda and her crew.
The event this year was bigger and more varied than ever before. The amount and variety of vendors at this event seems to increase yearly and only get better. This year felt a little less "star studded" as far as celebrity chefs is concerned (even though there were some) but was surprising given that it was the 25th anniversary of the event. In the end, this event is all about the product and the people behind it and less about the flashy celebrity chefs, even if they do play a part in the event's success.