I want to introduce you to this incredible kind, generous and full of life human being who I feel very blessed and grateful to have him as a friend in my life. Meet Steven Hellman founder of Foodies On Foot, Canada's Tastiest Food Events & Promotions where they create the tastiest & most unique food tours, events & promotions. Steven was born and raised in Toronto, to a working class family of Italian and German decent. Growing up with his Italian mother spending countless hours in the kitchen cooking from scratch and big dinners filled with endless plates of good food, hence why he considers himself a major league foodie and follows chefs & dinning the way sports enthusiasts follow their favourite players. Head on over to his website Foodies On Foot to get to know Steven and more about the fabulous services they offer.
On May 26th, I was one of the lucky ones with a group of fabulous foodies to be invited on the annual Asparabus, when I say Asparagus, Steven arranges a large Bus Limo all suited up with coffee, sweets, prizes, music and lots of exciting energy heading to Norfolk County where we spend an exciting day on an Asparagus Farm, learning all about our local farmers and asparagus.
This year we visited Ryder Farms where Jason Ryder, Jackie Ryder and Bernie Solymar, Executive Director of Asparagus Farmers of Ontario (AFO) educated us on the growth of Ontario Asparagus and the importance of supporting our local farmers. Did you know, it takes up to 4 years to produce and sell Asparagus and 7 years to actually make produce profits. The Ryder Family and their staff put a lot of passion and hard work to bring us local Asparagus to our family tables..
Look how proud and tall this Asparagus stands. The Ryder grow the Guelph Millennium variety which is a much speedier option to planting from seed. Its a delicious all-male variety developed locally here at the University of Guelph, Ontario. They have purple tips and long green crunchy stems. You need to enjoy our locate asparagus now as they are only seasonal here from May to June.
The day we arrived, the team was busy gathering, washing and preparing all the beautiful and delicious Asparagus to be delivered to the local Cotsco's. Farmer Jason Ryder indicated that their farm supplies 75% of their Asparagus to local business where the additional 25% is supplied to our neighbours in the US.
Our next stop was Burning Kiln Winery also locate in Norfolk County, where we met up with Ted Willey, Business Development for Norfolk County. This winery is spectacular which honours their agriculture heritage and celebrates the culinary and cultural bounty of Norfolk County. Situated on a former tobacco tract, the picturesque winery was built to preserve the historic charm of its original wooden structure while allowing visitors to view much of the operation from behind giant contemporary walls where it shares its secrets to winemaking. Head on over to Burning Kiln Winery to learn more about them and their local wines they produce.
When we first arrived, Steven surprised all of us with a friendly Iron Chef competition using Ryder Farms Asparagus. He divided ups up in teams and gave us 30 mis to come up with our own Iron Chef dish. Once the timer started, all the teams energy and excitement filled the room. Running to choose their ingredients to compliment their local asparagus. I was excited and was paired up with an amazing group of foodies. We decide to make an Asparagus pasta substituting the noodles for Asparagus ribbons. Becka was a beautiful new friend foodie I met and was one of our teammates. She is a 100% Gluten and Grain free due to health reasons so we decided to keep our dish fresh an simple. Meet our Asparagus Pasta with lemon tossed in a sauce of fresh tomatoes, EVO, garlic, chilies and a shot of Burning Kiln's Sparkling wine finished with prosciutto, fresh basil & dill. Our dish wasn't the winner but we were very happy and excited how delicious it tasted. Congratulations to the Team who created a spectacular dish of Salmon fillet wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of greens, including shaved asparagus which represented the green forests of Norfolk. The winning recipe with be featured on Asparagus Farmers of Ontario's website for all of you to enjoy.
After all the excitement and judging, we were treated to a lovely lunch of veggies, tomato & mozzarella salad and gourmet sandwiches which al featured Ryder asparagus.
A big Thank you to Steven from Foodies On Foot for organizing such a special day and event for us to enjoy and support our local farmers. Events like these are close and dear to me as I am a local farmer to table advocate and big supporter. Thank you to Jason and Jackie Ryder for welcoming us on their beautiful Asparagus farm and teaching us all about the Asparagus and the importance of supporting local farmers. Thank you again to Bernie for the tour and education of Norfolk County and the Asparagus and last but not least, Thank you to Ted Willey BD, from Norfolk County for taking care of us and educating us at Burning Kiln Winery.
Not only were we all spoiled with fun, food and drink but we were sent home with a beautiful swag bag full of Asparagus and Norfolk County goodies by Ryder Farms, Barrie's Asparagus Farm, Dennis' and Norfolk County.
We are so fortunate to have e so much beauty and local producers in our area. I highly recommend that you take this opportunity to explore what Ontario has to offer, a family outing or a romantic couples getaway. With love, The Spicy Olive xoxo