At the end of September, Port Hope was home to the second annual Cultivate Food & Drink Festival. Both years running, the festival has been Feast On? certified; a declaration of organizers Jeff Bray and Amelia Sheffield’s commitment to showcasing Ontario grown and raised products.
This years food vendors made a concerted effort to not only source Ontario products, but focussed on farmers and suppliers from within the Northumberland region. Ruby’s Cotton Candy Club, a small business started by a nine year old girls love for cotton candy, used lavender from Laveanne and Maple Syrup from Osland Farms while The Mill, a Feast On? Certified restaurant in Cobourg, were proud to show off their list of local suppliers including Burnham Farms and Turtle Back Hollow.
When asked, organizer Jeff Bray said, ‘Ontario grown and raised food is important and even more important to us is supporting Northumberland growers and producers. Putting the priority of local food as a key component of our event makes the Feast On? certification very achievable.’
In addition to recognizing Ontario farmers, Cultivate only served Ontario craft beer and cider. With representation from Wild Card, Smithhaven’s and Empire Cider, there was the perfect sip for everyone in attendance!
Jeff Bray attended this years Food Tourism Summit in Ottawa to divulge the tips and tricks on how they�ve made the Feast On? certification work for them.
Jeff shared his journey of growing up without knowing a ton about the importance of local food or the farm to table connection. In his 20s, as a restaurant owner, Jeff developed relationships with farmers which cultivated his passion for Ontario food and where it comes from. From this, grew the Cultivate Festival and his burgeoning relationship with farmers and producers in Northumberland. Jeff is a true ambassador for local food and the Feast On? program!