Stepping onto the farm at Landman is like stepping into a time warp. Rebecca Landman – proprietor, chef and farmer – on the property, which has been in her family since 1969, knows that’s half the appeal.
“We’ve had a lot of people moving up from the city. They are so excited to meet the person who is growing vegetables and collecting their eggs for them. They’re so curious.”
Landman Gardens, located just north of Grand Valley in Headwaters, is part working farm, part shop, part beautiful rustic space for a dinner party. Rebecca and her team pasture raise chickens, laying hens and pigs. They tend to a kitchen garden full of green beans, zucchini, squash, carrots and beets.
“There’s an old wives’ tale: you can tell how good your soil is by the size of your beets. Ours are the size of baseballs! We have really beautiful soil”
The gem of the this rustic haven though, is the Blackhouse. Built by hand on the farm in 2009 as part of a local theatre festival, it’s modeled after a Scottish Blackhouse – black because people would burn peat inside to keep themselves warm. While Landman foregoes the peat for a traditional wood oven, the ambiance is still there.
Inside, Rebecca hosts elaborate, country lunches and dinners for guests looking to reconnect with their food – and their families.
“People are always coming to celebrate something. Last year was the year of 50th’s, it felt like every other week was a celebration. It’s really cool to be able to be a part of that. We’re actually creating food memories. They won’t remember anything they had but they’ll remember how they felt.”
She serves food she grew herself, supplemented with harder to find items from vendors she’s met at the Orangeville Farmers Market – where she has a stand of her own. “We use a ton of local cheeses and go to The Besley’s up in Shelburne for tomatoes.”
Between running the farm shop (which slings the area’s best meat pies), hosting Blackhouse Dinners and tending to the farm, she also hosts workshops for people looking to learn more about where their food comes from. This year, she’s teaming with a holistic nutritionist to run fermenting classes and yoga on the farm sessions. They’re proving popular.
“Recently, a distillery opened nearby which has brought a lot of people out for the weekend. They go for a tasting, then they come for lunch or dinner. It’s a nice little trip for anyone without access to the countryside or a cottage.”
The first BlackHouse Dinner at Landman Gardens is scheduled for Saturday, May 4th. The Farm Shoppe is open Wednesday – Saturday for drop-ins or pre-orders. Find out more at landmangardens.ca.
Find more places to eat, stay and play in York, Durham, Headwaters. Visit yorkdurhamheadwaters.ca