BY ANDREW COPPOLINO | AUGUST 2022
Here’s a selection of farmer-producers and hand-crafted food specialists (who often use the Region’s fresh local ingredients for their food preparation) that you will find as you eat your way through the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market!
ST. JACOBS FARMERS MARKET
A Portuguesa Bakery
Husband and wife team Maria and Mario de Sousa have consistently been growing their Portuguese bakery over the years, with a goal of opening a Cambridge bakery soon.
For now, Portuguese-trained bakery Mario crafts a selection of pastries and breads with on-site, from-scratch baking.
“We grew from pastries like the famous custard tart (pastel de nata) to making breakfast sandwiches when we took over the space next to us. We also have our food trailer outside too,” says Maria, adding that they also make Brazilian brigadeiros, a chocolate truffle.
Proprietor’s Pick: “Our bifana is a fried pork cutlet with a beer, tomato and onion sauce on a fresh Portuguese bun. For us, it’s a very comforting dish, and it will be for you too,” Maria says.
Kitchen Kuttings Inc.
Over three decades at the Market creating first-rate preparations like jams, pickles and apple butter has made Kitchen Kuttings a popular destination for food lovers near and far.
“People visit because they know us, and many like the drive here, some coming from an hour away in outlying areas on a Thursday or a Saturday,” according to co-owner Lydia Weber. “And our summer sausage is very often what they come for.”
The ”beauty” of the sausage, adds Weber, in addition to its great taste, is that properly wrapped in brown paper, it can last for six months in the fridge – but you will have it gobbled up and be travelling back to the Market for more long before that time.
Proprietor’s Pick: It has to be the summer sausage – a product that Kitchen Kutting will not sell before its time. “It’s a long process,” Weber says. “We prepare the meat, season it with spices and then it hangs for a week in a smoker before another two weeks hanging to cure.”
100 Mile Produce
The list of what is not available for harvest right now is quicker to go through than the rich bounty of what is in season, according to 100 Mile Produce farmer Rob Foreman.
“It’s the beauty of August. It’s all happening right now,” says Foreman who farms in Belgrave, near Wingham. “All the summer produce is coming out of the ground.”
Just a partial list includes green onions, kale, carrots, cucumbers for pickling, green and yellow beans and peas, and eggplant – a rather rare local vegetable that Foreman says is popular with cooks using it for international cuisines. “I’m not sure I’ve figured out the market for eggplant yet, but it goes fast later in the day here.”
Proprietor’s Pick: “That would sweet corn. I grow three varieties. It’s a basic crop and such a great one for summer,” says Foreman.
Before they started Unfactory Farm in Linwood about a decade ago, June and Nelson Gerber were dairy farmers – for nearly 40 years. They know the soil, crops and livestock very well.
It prompted them to create Unfactory Farm, an operation that grows organic herbs, root vegetables, greens and beans and tomatoes. The also offer nitrate-free summer sausage and grass-fed Black Angus beef from sons and farmers in their own right, Chad and Jessie, respectively.
With “green manuring” – the practice of tilling green plant tissue into the soil to increase nitrogen and certain nutrients – the Unfactory Farms conquers their heavy clay soil that can often delay the growth of their crops. The upside is healthier, more productive soil – and, most importantly for customers, superior flavour, according to June.
“An Old Order farmer told me that there’s less weed pressure and more flavour from this heavy soil,” she says.
Proprietor’s Pick: Unfortunately, the drought caused a serious problem for the Gerber’s sweet corn this year, June says. “So as a second choice, I’d say our heirloom tomatoes, from over 60 varieties that we grow. The heirlooms come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They’re more perishable, but they have superior texture and flavour.”
The Romagnoli family has been a vendor at the Market since the 1970s, making it one of the longest-serving farm families – Romagnoli herself has been at the market as a producer since she was 10 years old coming with her parents.
The produce from the 80-acre Niagara-based farm has continued to sell an amazing range of tender fruits, including freestone, white and “donut” peaches (“It’s a healthy donut,” Romagnoli jests), along with plums, apricots, nectarines, pears, apples and cherries when in season.
“I love the Market,” Romagnoli says. “Different days bring different customers. Tuesday and Thursday, it’s locals. Saturdays, it’s customers who have travelled from further and there is more of a tourism feel.”
Proprietor’s Pick: “Peaches. I grow them and I feel that’s what people come for. White peaches, donut peaches, peaches for canning, it doesn’t matter,” Romagnoli says.