SHOPPING FRESH and LOCAL
The summer sun is shining, bright and friendly in the clear blue sky and it’s starting to drive that familiar itch – an itch that a trip to the grocery store’s produce section just isn’t going to cut. You want to drive, to escape, soaking in that warm sun and when you stop, wherever that may be, you want somewhere that’s going to provide you with all of the bright colours, fragrant smells and outstanding fresh tastes that come with what is most people’s favourite season.
Good news! Rock Garden Farms, located on Airport Rd. in Caledon, is exactly the destination you are looking for. A family run farm, with strong local values; they have been in the business of providing the community with high quality local food, full of bright colours and even brighter tastes, since 1975. That’s forty-five years of experience – and three generations of the same family – working together to bring you the best foods that not only their farm, but all of Ontario has to offer.
Usually opening at the start of April, and running through until the end of October (the length of Ontario’s growing season), Rock Garden Farms puts their focus on ensuring that everything they provide for you is fresh daily. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s from their own farm or any of the farms that they source from, the focus is always to ensure that ‘fresh farm taste’ is present in everything they sell. They have, rightfully, created a certain reputation for providing their customers with quality and they make sure they put in the work every single day to keep that reputation growing strong – just like their food.
While they sell a nearly endless supply of fresh seasonal fruits and veggies, from beans and corn to garlic and squash, one thing they have become known for is their strawberries. From mid-June until the first week of July – crops pending – they take that commitment to freshness one step further by inviting customers to come out and pick their own strawberries. It doesn’t just end there though. Thanks to their connections across Ontario, from Niagara northwards, they can sell strawberries usually from the start of June, through to late September, simply rotating where they are sourcing their crop based on the growing season for maximum freshness and quality.
For those of you who like to take the time to make your own jams and preserves, their flexible and wide variety make this the perfect stop to pop in and grab a flat – and for those of you who are a little more like me and who want that fresh tasting, natural jam without all the work, they’ve got you covered too. Rock Garden Farms sells a wide variety of Ontario jams (made both by themselves, and by other locals), in just about any flavour Ontario has to offer.
It’s not just jams and produce however! Your sweet tooth will be craving any of the wonderful baked goods that Rock Garden Farms offers. Much of it is made in house, and whatever is not, is sourced locally to bring you that great fresh taste, based on what’s in season.
If you’re looking for something more savory than sweet, another Rock Garden Farms favourite are their lasagna and tomato sauces, made in house from – as always – fresh tomatoes and spices. They also offer roasted peppers and mixed vegetable jars that are to die for.
At the end of the day, whether you’ve come for strawberries, tomatoes, jams, baked goods, or just to look at the colourful displays and beautiful flowers from their garden centre, you’re going to be visiting a local business that takes pride not only in their work, but the three generations of family that have been a part of the journey. The Ontario farming community is filled with similar small family farms, and Rock Garden Farms’ history means that they have connections to these farms that quite literally go back generations, working together to bring you the freshest quality, from whatever is in season, right across the province.
So now that that summer sun is calling you, pulling you out of your house and looking not just for a destination but true local freshness – the iconic tastes of the season – you don’t have to look any further than Rock Garden Farms. Let their family feed yours; we can guarantee that you won’t regret it.
WRITTEN BY: JILLIAN KENT | PHOTOGRAPHY: CORY BRUYEA | RESOURCES: ROCK GARDEN FARMS, CALEDON EAST