Cooking Using Local Ingredients When Vacationing in Ontario

Guest post by Sarah Jones, Simmer + Zest

If you’re visiting Ontario, you’re in for some culinary treats. The region is home to some savory and delightful experiences you have to experience while in the region. Maple syrup is a popular commodity found at many farmers’ markets including Lanark County, which has been dubbed the capital of Ontario for Maple Syrup.

Stop by the Byward Market that is available year-round for a treat known as “Beavertail.” This treat is known well in Ottawa and consists of dough that is flattened, fried, covered with butter and then a choice of topping. Enjoy a cup of cocoa with your Beavertail for an incredible taste.

Head to the southern area of Ontario to find the best corn on the cob. Enjoy the rural setting and fresh corn that can be found at roadside stands or local farmers in the area. Eastern Ontario is where you can discover some of the top cheddar cheese in the country. Stop by the Wilton Cheese Factory or the Forfar Dairy to try some of the best cheddar you will ever have.

Northern Ontario Is known for its Pickerel. Pickerel is a fish found in freshwater, and many compare it to the taste of tilapia because of its mild yet savory flavor. Many of these top-choice items can be found at local farmers markets like the Toronto Botanical Garden Organic Farmers Market or the Orillia Farmers Market on Mississaga Street and West Street in Ontario along with several others. Some of the markets are held all year, moving indoors in the winter.

Farmer’s Markets in Ontario

There are both seasonal and year-round farmers markets held in Ontario where you can find the best of the local foods and ingredients. Try apple cider, delicious, organic wine, both for drinking or cooking, maple syrup for which Canada is so famous for, baked goods and treats, fresh produce and meat, gluten-free items, cheeses, honey, health and beauty products, and crafts.

If you’re a coffee connoisseur, try the 49th Parallel Coffee brand which works with local farmers in the area for fresh roasts, and has many blends to choose from. The majority of these items, even the fresh greens and legumes can be found at the year-round markets during all seasons.

Farms vs. Farmers Markets

When visiting Ontario, you have some options. You can try the local farmers markets, or you can visit many of the farms themselves. Farms such as Applewood Farm Winery have activities and scenic views for both children and adults.

Adults can enjoy wine tastings and the whole family can pick fresh strawberries or apples. There are many different farms to visit that have locally grown items to pick such as pumpkins, corn, berries, and many others. Enjoy these fresh items courtesy of the Ontario region during your vacation.

Cooking with Local Ingredients

Now that you know where to find some of the area’s top ingredients, you can use them to make a fantastic meal! Brew your own coffee, use some organic wine for cooking and choose from the best maple syrups and other fresh, locally grown ingredients to truly enjoy the culinary scene in Ontario.

Experiencing a few restaurants is common when on vacation, but you can save your budget by trying the Ontario-based food items that many rave about. Both the central and western areas of Ontario have the majority of farmers markets to choose from. There are a few in the southern and eastern areas too, but not as many.

One of the best ways to experience a region or city is to dive into the culinary scene. For Ontario, that means experiencing some of the best locally grown items at the many farmers’ markets that are offered. You won’t be disappointed.


Sarah started Simmer and Zest because she wanted others to explore the world of food from the comfort of their own home. With that in mind, she hopes people will set out on their own food adventures once they are done reading.

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