Put LOCAL on your Table this Fall – North Bay’s Best Sources for Fall Favourites
As we roll into October amidst a rich backdrop of delightful fall colours, thoughts of soothing comfort foods, family gatherings and crisp evenings spent around the campfire creep into our minds. If you’ve spent any length of time in the north, you’ll be quite familiar with the smell of wood burning in the evenings, the crunch of dried leaves on the trail and the brisk wind reminding you to layer up your clothing. It’s a spectacular time to be out on the trails, and the leaves are nearing their peak luminance at this time of year. Take a hike alongside Duchesnay Falls, grab your bike and head up the newly opened Three Towers Mountain Bike Trails or take a peaceful walk through the Laurier Woods Conservation Area.
October guides us gingerly from the long, hot days of summer, into the dark, chilly days of winter, and indulges our senses with an abundance of delectable sights, scents and flavour. A bounty of rich flavours characterizes the classic northern autumn feast – something that is at your fingertips if you are visiting, or lucky enough to live in northern Ontario. If you are looking for the best of the season, and desiring locally-grown ingredients, you need only to go a short distance to find them:
- Winter Squash – If you’ve visited the North Bay Farmer’s Market lately, you’ve likely been affronted with an abundance of winter squash! The end of season harvest is in full swing, and you’re apt to find Acorn, Butternut, Delicata and Sweet Dumpling Squash, in addition to pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. Whether roasted, mashed or puréed into soup, squash brings a rich, hearty flavour to a meal that soothes the soul. Try slicing up sweet dumpling squash and BBQing it with a little oil and herb seasonings for a summery side dish.Acorn Squash are fantastic when sliced and oven roasted.
- Cranberries – If you haven’t yet visited the Cranberry Bog in Callander, it’s wonderful opportunity to do so! Consider taking friends and family for a walk through picturesque Cranberry Trail at the end of Cranberry Road; enjoy the lookout, and find some cranberries in the bog. The trail is an easy stroll and features a beautiful view of Callander Bay at its end. Cranberries are in season at this time of year, and these tart berries made a fantastic addition to any autumn feast.
A walk down Cranberry Trail will offer you the opportunity to pick fresh for your table!
- Turkey – Traditional turkey has long been the main feature of Thanksgiving dinners in Canada, but there’s never really a wrong time for turkey dinner! Orchard’s Fresh Food Market offers locally sourced turkeys, and all of the fixings. You can place an order online and pick up at their beautifully appointed store on Trout Lake Road in North Bay. If you’re seeking direct-from-the-farm-freshness, check in with Wand Family Farm, who frequent the North Bay Farmer’s Market on Saturdays during their open season. The Wand family also have a farmstand you can visit if you are looking for more locally-grown meat, at their Powassan location.
- Skip the cooking altogether! – For fantastic local fare boasting farm-to-table freshness and a charming dining experience, an absolute MUST TRY restaurant is the White Owl Bistro. With a lovely patio featuring lakeside dining, commitment to local products and an everchanging, enticing menu, the White Owl has been a longstanding North Bay delight. Chefs Laura and René offer catering in addition to outdoor patio dining, and indoor restaurant space (Always check the website for updates on COVID-19 restrictions before heading out!).
Seafood Cannelloni from the White Owl Bistro.
- Delightful dessert – pie, pastries, butter tarts, cobblers, fudge, doughnuts – create a dessert table to die for, by visiting some of the amazing bakeries and cafes in North Bay! Have a hankering for a honey glazed doughnut? Swing in to Good Glaze Dessert Bar on Main Street in North Bay. Good Glaze offers delivery of hand-crafted doughnuts baked fresh, with seasonal flavours to suit. They also do custom cakes, cinnamon buns, cheesecake, sticky buns and scones. While you’re downtown, take a look at what the North Star Diner on Algonquin Avenue has to offer (you can check them out on Instagram under the handle north_star_diner); scones, cake, ice cream, cupcakes and so much more. If you’re looking for rich sweetness, make your way down to The Green Store located on Trout Lake for handmade fudge and ice cream. Filled to the brim with delectable treats, giftware, home decor and souvenirs, there’s something there for everyone. Trout Lake is also an amazing place to take a quiet evening paddle on your kayak or canoe and enjoy the beauty of our fall scenery.
Some of the incredible, edible creations being made at Good Glaze Dessert Bar.
With many local options to fill your table this autumn, why not connect with some businesses and producers and learn more about the processes and methods they use to grow and raise food. You’ll be amazed at the quality and flavour of the food, not to mention the feeling you get from supporting North Bay’s amazing collective of producers and talented culinary professionals!