What food would you want to eat while spending a day at a farm? [General]

2009 Apr 14
We're putting together new menus at Saunders Farm to reflect our commitment to local producers, healthy delicious food choices, and what our guests want. What would you want eat if you bringing your friends and family to our farm for a day? Thanks!

2009 Apr 14
Sausage from a local maker, made with locally raised meat

Hamburgers made with locally raised beef

My kids (5 and 7) will eat both of these FWIW.

2009 Apr 14
GreenQueen - Hi, interesting topic. Nice to see a local Vendor come by Ottawa Foodies and ask us for input.

I would like a bit more info, my kiddies are all grown up and gone now, so it has been quite awhile since I ventured out to Saunders Farm. I am aware that you have Fall Haunted House etc, and have in recent years added the Mazes for Summertime, but I didn't know that you "served" food (thought you sold some food seasonally... Strawberries, anything else ?).

Perhaps before I answer your specific question, you could share with us some more info about "the food" end of your operation.

2009 Apr 14
Oh, BTW, I should point out that my kids were at your farm last year around Halloween, so I am actually a customer. Well, I wasn't there - my wife took them with a friend of hers.

2009 Apr 14
anything I did not have to cook for myself
or dig up or clean
it would be a day off

2009 Apr 14
Baked potatoes with nice toppings always go off well with my grandchildren. They love the potato lady at the Experimental farm. Baked sweet potato is also a good meal with maple syrup. I second the local sausages and meat options as well as seasonal green salads. In Europe we used to have the first radishes of the season on bread, it was a real treat for us kids to dig up the radishes ourselves.

2009 Apr 14
A lot of adults will want a healthy choice (and even some kids), so a fresh local salad would be a nice choice.

Corn on the cob when in season.

2009 Apr 14
I think that you have to encourage localy and serve healthy meals to the kids. More and more kids are eating bad stuff, so the fresher and healhtier it is the better. To me nice marinated chicken drum sticks on the BBQ is awsome, and also as Zym as said corn on the cob

2009 Apr 14
Yes, my kids love chicken and corn on the cob.

2009 Apr 14
never heard of Saunders Farm, but after a quick google, i'm sure to visit this summer! Mazes!

one thought might be to find some way to demonstrate to kids (and adults) the differences between local vs. shipped-in food?

Maybe blind taste test booths or similar? e.g., locally raised, organic garlic vs. chinese garlic -- ok, maybe garlic's not the one to turn the kids into organic propagandists ;-) ... i'm hazy on how to implement something like this, but perhaps it might be in sync with other thematic aspects on your farm?

2009 Apr 14
Definately farm raised roast chicken. So many people I know seek out farm raised chickens for dinner and have trouble getting their hands on them.

Bison. Love it. Bison ribeyes are my favorite. Lean and tasty.

Wild boar.

A locally raised roast beef night with yorkshire puddings and local vegetables

Local carrots, new potatoes with dill, roasted beets, salads made with fresh tomatoes and local cheese or maybe bruschetta with local tomatoes.

Homemade soups with whatever is in season. Nothing beats homemmade soup and with local produce it will be killer!

Ha! you could do all you can eat corn on the cob with an entree when in season.

In summer you could sell watermelon by the slice.

Desserts have to be fresh fruit pies with real whipped cream or fruit crisps.
If you can do homemade ice-cream, that would be awesome.

Locally produced whole grain breads.

2009 Apr 15
wow! thanks for the great ideas so far. fantastic - some right along the line of what we were thinking, some things we were already doing, and some brand new ideas(i like the grilled chicken drumsticks!).
We've been doing grilled corn on the cob for the past 2 years but only in our fall season - this year we'll start it in the summer as soon as the corn's ready. keep the ideas coming!
Food&Think, to give you a better idea of what's in the works, we've had a small concession stand open the past few summers called "The Watering Hole". Did a BBQ for lunch (hamburgers, hot dogs), had soft-serve ice cream. chips, fresh-baked cookies, veggie platters with dip. nothing earth-shattering. in our fall season, to meet the needs of our large crowds, we did some food ourselves (soups, chili, apple dumplings, corn on the cob, oktoberfest sausage), but much of the large volume of food was handled by concessionaires on our site. good way to meet the needs, bad way to control quality. we don't want to go that way any more (save for one or two good quality vendors) and want to really highlight farm-fresh, local food.
this summer, we're adding a larger food booth called "The Farmer's Table". we'll keep ice cream at the watering hole as well as beverages, but focus on better meals at The Farmer's Table. BBQ items will be available at lunch. fresh sandwiches, homemade pies, etc.
also thinking of doing a local "Ploughman's Lunch".
We've got great entertainment at our farm, we focusing now on making sure our food has the same level of excellence.
thanks all for your feedback - keep it coming!

2009 Apr 15
Food&Think, i should have added that we used to grow strawberries (we, along with Pattersons, were the first pick-your-own strawberry farms in ottawa).
we haven't grown them for 7 seasons now. My father-in-law is the grower and he is pretty much retired. while we still grow pumpkins and still have a landscape tree nursery, we are happy now to support our peers - the farmers in ottawa who work so hard to bring their crops to our table.

2009 Apr 15
Just off the top of my head:

Fresh tomatoes, tempura zucchini blossoms, ratatouille, baby eggplants, fresh salad greens...and anything made with fresh raw eggs (i'm particularly thinking homemade mayo/aioli/mousselline/hollandaise) are particular treats.

Put simply anything that is hard to get in a store and which tastes much better right after it is picked. I am not a huge corn fan but when you can get it freshly picked it certainly is a revelation...

2009 Apr 15
Catering to families, I'd go with simple, honest, grilled food like: corn, chicken, burgers, potatoes. Even better if you offered condiments & toppings produced locally (ie, pickles, mustard, ketchup, etc). Dessert-wise, I'd do simple again to showcase what you have, like strawberry shortcake or pavlova.

2009 Apr 15
Some yummy summer fruit pies are always a treat for my family with fresh farm whipped cream.

2009 Apr 15
i have been to the farm a few times and i never liked the offerings of your concessionaires, so this will be a welcome change. i am always there with kids, so having food geared towards me that is easy to eat and not too messy is key. the kids like things simple - burgers, corn, fries. if i knew where the food was coming from and that it was freshly prepared, i would feel a lot better feeding it to them.

unlike trachino, there is no way i would want to eat raw eggs at an outdoor establishment.

generally, i want a healthy meal with a delicious homemade treat for dessert when i am at places like your farm. and oversized slices of pie are always a hit :)

what about striking up a deal with some of the local farmers in the area? i am just thinking about some of the great food offered at the landsdowne farmer's market in the summer. i wonder if any of those farmers would supply you, or offer to open a stand to provide good local food?

2009 Apr 15
thanks hipfunkyfun, those are all great suggestions. cakelady, we do have a plan for pies this summer using my mom's and grandmother's delicious pastry recipe. we have already been buying some produce from local farmers for our catering dept (we do a lot of corporate picnics that really are delicious), and now want that to spill over to our day-to-day visitors. We've been buying from Acorn Creek in the past and are looking forward to carrying their heirloom baby carrots for our veggie tray. we've been using Hudson corn (the best in the region), and also hope to feature some products from our friends at the Elk Farm. If you know of any particular vendors that you think we should connect with, that would be appreciated.
thanks so much!

2009 Apr 15
GreenQueen - Thanks for the explanation... sounds like I need to make a point of making a trip out to Saunders Farm this Summer.

Love the idea of using produce from Acorn Creek and my experience with Hudson Farm's corn at the Carp Farmers' Market last year was excellent.

As for a Ploughman's Lunch, that is always a favourite of mine... what a great concept especially if you can source a local cheese, bread, pickles (bread & butter, dill or beets), add on a side of chutney, tomato chow-chow, fruit (apples in the Fall, others throughout the growing season)... add some local meat (perhaps sausage), pate, and a hard boiled egg.

Then having the choice of adding a corn cob, or a side salad would make this totally awesome.

LOL, just let me know when this all falls into place, and I'll show up all set to have a picnic and enjoy the afternoon.

2009 Apr 16
other farmers and local producers in the area that i personally love. all have stalls at the landsdowne farmers market on sundays. these are the ones that i think might have something interesting to offer your farm:

Chamomile Desjardins, John Lubrun (613-731-7424), chamomiledesjardins@hotmail.com
-> he makes the best hot sauce. i know they serve it at stone face dolly's and elsewhere in the city.

Hall's Apple Market, Chris & Kim Hall, 613-342-6320, www.hallsapplemarket.com
-> they have wonderful fresh apple cider donuts! they make them on the spot at landsdowne farmer's market and are worth waiting for.

Ottawa Valley Honey, Mike Kositsin, 613-623-2709, ottawavalleyhoney@yahoo.ca
-> honey products including honey taffy.

The Hot Potato Company, Christina & Greg Leese, 613-826-0725, hotpotato@sympatico.ca
-> not the very best potatoes, but they do taste good when sitting outside. Everything tastes better when eaten outside! Baked potatoes and hand cut wedges, hot and cold toppings, fresh salads, cheese toasties, mini potatoes (in season), hot apple cider (in season), fresh squeezed lemonade (summer).

2009 Apr 16
How about a Bison burger with special toppings. Corn on the cob served with local butter spiked with fresh herbs/garlic. Grilled personal size pizza's with fresh local veggies, herbs and cheese. Beef dip sandwiches, and please don't use frozen fries! Oh! How about a pulled pork sandwich? YUMM!

2009 Apr 16
everyone's feedback is great ...and so much along the lines we were thinking. we are installing fryers this summer and NO, we will not be using frozen (ewwww). they will, i assure you, be fresh-cut. we'll also do sweet potato fries. we do pulled-pork sandwiches in the fall - they do well for us then. i'm not sure how well they would do in the heat of summer. yes, to local sausages, yes also to the flavoured butters for the corn. much as i love bison, i think we'll need to stick with beef for day to day, then bring in bison for special events with larger crowds.
thank you, thank you, thank you...

2009 Apr 16
Everyone suggested healthy stuff, but you gotta pay for those fryers!

I vote for a family size fry for sharing with both regular and sweet mixed in, and dippy sauce. Homemade ketchup? Cajun Mayo? With a portion size that makes you say wow!

A chip butty (a french fry sandwich)on a big squishy bun.

Chili made with fresh farm veggies and beef. And bread for dipping. Or dare I say it chili fries and dogs.

If you peel your regular potatoes (I like 'em skins on). Scrub potatoes well and save the peels. Dry well and deep fry in small batches, quickly so they don't get time to brown. Serve the 'crisps' with burgers or sandwiches. Just a way to make something from nothing.

And I am sure you could market something deep fried, like the blooming onion. I picture a zucchini fritter (if you grow them) crispy like an onion bhaji. Or berry fritters. Whatever is in season.

(I got a deep fryer for Christmas - one track mind!)

2009 Apr 27
As a vegan, I would also suggest having a filling veg option. Soyarie is located in Gatineau and makes several varieties of tasty tofu burgers. All the fresh vegetable and fruit suggestions sound great too!

2009 Apr 28
"and anything made with fresh raw eggs (i'm particularly thinking homemade mayo/aioli/mousselline/hollandaise) are particular treats"

The use of fresh raw eggs is prohibited in ottawa. Only pasturized frozen eggs yolks are permitted. Unless you want to end up on the "naughty" list with the ottawa food inspection people.
That said, I am sure many ottawa restaurants use fresh raw eggs to make mayos ect. just wanted to make a point about the "food police".

Back to topic: All of these suggestions sound so yummy! I wonder though if people will be willing to pay for such treats?? Bison, for one is super expensive. Wild boar too. Farm raised chicken would be great, but as pointed out, very hard to get, and so if available, again would be $$$. I love the idea about a ploughmans lunch though. One of my fav ways to eat. Will try to make it out to the farm this year!

2009 Apr 29
Jane: I didn't know that it was illegal to sell products involving raw eggs, but I have to say I am not surprised at all....sigh. If I make anything at home with raw eggs, I want to use the freshest eggs possible...and you certainly can't beat a farm for that!

2009 Apr 29
Sad but true. Though as far as I know this law is only in ottawa, not toronto or MTL. I suppose the reasoning if that raw eggs can be harmful if handled incorrectly. Well, so can a lot of things. Most likely there was a case in ottawa and thats what lead to the law.
I agree with you Tracinho, eggs from ottawa farms are amazing! If your not sure there is difference, I challenge anyone to buy some grocery store eggs and some bekings farm eggs and just crack one of each open. You can see the difference. Not to mention taste it!

2009 Apr 30
I agree this egg ruling really sucks! We are trying to get an egg seller at the Ottawa Farmers' Market on Sundays. Imagine a farmers' market with no eggs?!
Aren't raw eggs used as a way of curing a hangover?
How did we ever survive before these rediculous rules and regs.?

2009 Apr 30
So many of these rules are all too paranoid for me. A couple months ago I enjoyed some "illegal" eggs. They were the best eggs ever. Almost tasted like meat!
Alas, this farmer can give me these eggs but not sell them.

2009 May 1
I think alot of these suggestions are great but I think appealing to the child's palate is key for success here! I find kids like things that are small--how about mini burgers with tiny new potatoes (or frites)? Ploughman's lunch is great for adults but how about a smaller kid friendly version...little breads, plain cheeses, carrots with dip and fruit + a sweet (a little cupcake or choice of cookie). For drinks fresh lemonade or cider would be nice.

2009 May 6
thanks again for the awesome suggestions. we will be staying away from the raw eggs ;). smaller version of the ploughman's for kids is great. you're absolutely right - kids just love things that are kid-sized. we'll continue to offer vegetarian options at every turn.

I'll keep you all posted when we finalize the menu - am sourcing out local suppliers and get costs/prices set. would love to know everyone's opinions once we open. we're open weekends in june, then 7 days a week from june 26 on. We're hoping "The Farmer's Table" is ready for the end of june. cross your fingers that the hoops we're jumping through for city approval stay manageable. sigh.

many thanks, foodies!


2009 May 6
pitroasted Tamworth pig
pot of pesto and another pot of Pommery Meaux cognac or greenpeppercorn mustard
a chunk of extra sourdough bread (ala San Francisco) or the blackest rye that can be found
shaved red onions
garlicky pickles
and perhaps some barley wine

hmmm if we were in BC, I'd want some "squaw candy"---sugar cured, alder-smoked salmon jerk (sounds like a weekend project)..*walks off salivating*