Bucket List Job: Carl Laidlaw Orchards

Since I will probably never live on a farm, the next best thing just might be working on one. I recently had the privilege of working at Carl Laidlaw Orchards during their apple harvest. On such an exceptionally beautiful farm, the job perks were bountiful.


Photo contributed by Laura Kelly.

Best bosses ever. Mark and Laura. I think anyone who knows Mark and Laura – from employees to farm guests to family and friends – would agree they are such sunny-souled, kind-hearted people.


Laura and her sunflowers.


Mark in his orchard.

Awesome staff. Supportive and so fun to work with. Sorry to miss the farm dinner. Nice working with you all.


Top quality, farm-to-table products. Pick your own apples and pears. If you think you don’t like apples, you haven’t tasted a ripe, juicy apple plucked from a Carl Laidlaw Orchards tree.


As the season progressed, I snacked on a different variety of apple every week, each with its own unique characteristics; the flavours and textures were brilliant. How can I go back to boring, red delicious grocery store apples, now that the season is over?


Freshly picked corn, squash, pumpkins. Aren’t these ghost pumpkins adorable?


Freshly baked pies and gorgeous, gourmet flatbreads.

Pretty candy apples. Artisanal jams, salsas, mustards, and honey, including Mark and Laura’s very own small-batch honey produced from hives right on their farm. Heaven for a foodie like me. Nothing like selling a product you love and then coming home with it.

Laidlaw Honey

Enjoyable tasks. Chatting with the customers as I checked them out. Teaching them what Mark and Laura taught me about the apples. Getting hugs from our happy, wee visitors.

Spending the day making candy apples. Just call me the bee whisperer – the friendly little chaps thankfully found the candy sweeter than me (we gave them a taste of their own).

Picturesque space. Charmingly nostalgic thanks to Laura’s ultra creative touch. Described on instagram as “if Kate Spade opened an apple orchard”.

I loved working in the barn – every corner was picture perfect. With the doors wide open on both ends of the building, I was protected from the elements but felt like I was in fresh air all day long.

Breathtaking surrounding. Stunning orchards rolling down to the scenic Credit River.


Photo contributed by Laura Kelly.

Best commute. Through farmland accented with cricket’s song.

Hard to pick what I loved best about my job. Maybe the terrific customers, whose love of the farm brings them back year after year, and whom Laura and Mark greet with a warm farm hug like they are part of the farm family.

And so, for those of you who scratched their heads when I said I was working on a farm, now you know. What a pleasure it was to work at Carl Laidlaw Orchards. The harvest is over for this year. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit next season. Follow Laura’s blog for updates (www.carllaidlaworchards.blogspot.ca).

Thank you, Mark and Laura. Warm farm hugs to you too, and Spencer and Margo. xxxx Olive.

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An Apple a Day: Local Apple Season Has Begun

Have you got a hankering for cinnamon-scented apple crisp (recipe here), served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?

Mom's Apple Crisp

Mom’s Apple Crisp

Maybe a slice of cheddar cheese and homemade apple pie (recipe here), piled high with juicy apples in a flaky crust?


Mark’s Apple Orchard Pie * Photo: Laura Kelly, Carl Laidlaw Orchards

Leaning toward something on the savoury side? How about a steaming bowl of apple squash soup (recipe here)?


Laura’s Apple Squash Soup, Carl Laidlaw Orchards

or honey-drizzled apple and cheese tartine (recipe here) to enjoy with a glass of wine?

Eleonora Gattesco Roberts gattescohouse.com

Fall Fruit & Cheese Tartine with Honey Drizzle * Photo: Eleonora Gattesco Roberts gattescohouse.com

Perhaps, after all that summer indulging, you just want to sink your teeth in a freshly-picked, crisp apple.


Local apple season has begun! Gather up your family and friends and visit an apple orchard. Visit my post, Happy Under the Apple Boughs: Carl Laidlaw Orchards, for a glimpse of what this beautiful orchard has to offer.


Carl Laidlaw Orchards

Enjoy the fall colours, sunshine, and fresh air. Pick your own apples; come home with rosy cheeks and a bounty of apples.


Learn the proper way to pick an apple so you don’t damage next year’s crop. Ripe apples separate easily from the stem; gently lift the bottom of the apple up towards the sky and twist gently, so you don’t remove any of the branch (and next year’s apple) from the tree. Make sure to thank the farmer before leaving.


Thank you, Mark Laidlaw (Carl Laidlaw Orchards).

Contact your local orchard to find out what fruit is ready to pick (they ripen at different times). It’s a good idea to review their farm etiquette before visiting.

For a list of local orchards in your area, visit:

Grown in Peel: https://www.peelregion.ca/scripts/gip/grown-farms.pl

Grown in Halton: http://www.halton.ca/cms/one.aspx?pageId=19088

My local favourites are listed on my farm directory but call the orchard directly for updated hours of operation for 2015.

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If My Pole is Missing…

…I’ve gone fishing.

Have you been to Real Canadian Superstore at Winston Churchill and Argentia, Mississauga lately? They have a huge live seafood and live fish counter. Steam your catch. Everything looks clean and lively. Over 15 varieties: clams, mussels, jumbo lobster, dungeness crab, snow crab, tilapia, barramundi, rainbow trout, catfish, striped bass, malpeque oysters, manila clams, little neck clams, geoduck clams.

Real Canadian Superstore Winston Churchill

Real Canadian Superstore – Winston Churchill Superstore
3050 Argentia Road
Mississauga, ON L5N 8E1
Telephone: 905-785-8928

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Local Heroes: Eden Food for Change Fresh Produce Boxes

Local heroes, Eden Food for Change, buy fresh produce directly from farmers and vendors at the Ontario Food Terminal and sell it at cost in our community. Their goal: make fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable to all socio-economic brackets.

Strong relationships with farmers and vendors (who often sell the same produce to local grocery stores) have made it possible for Eden Food for Change (EFFC) to buy in bulk at good prices. Weekly trips are made to the Ontario Food Terminal to fill the boxes that have been ordered the night before. Back at EFFC, volunteers separate the food out into individual boxes, deliver them weekly to several locations throughout our community, and sell them at cost. Two box sizes are available: $10/small and $20/large. From a $10 box, $9 covers the cost of the food and $1 covers the operation expenses. Any extra food goes to the food bank.

Christina Philips (Community Engagement Coordinator at EFFC) added, “All of the items for the Fresh Produce Box program are bought specifically for those who have ordered. However, our Warehouse Supervisor goes down to the Ontario Food Terminal later and asks for produce donations for our Food Bank.”

Click on the link to find out locations and pick up times throughout Mississauga. Follow the instructions and use the order form on this link to e-mail your order every week, before Thursday at 4:00 pm. Pick up your box on Fridays at the time scheduled for the location you chose.

I am so happy to hear that there is a location in the village of Streetsville, right in the party room of the apartment building at 4 Caroline Street. Fresh produce is back in the village and within reach of our seniors. Thank you, Eden Food for Change!

Website: edenffc.org/fresh-produce-box/
Questions: [email protected]

Eden Food for Change (formerly Eden Community Food Bank)
2-3185 Unity Drive
Mississauga, Ontario L5L 4L5
Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Phone: (905) 785-3651

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Heaven on Earth: Muskoka’s Pizza on Earth

All winter long, we pine for a little bit of summer in Muskoka. Of course, the natural beauty of Muskoka is enough of a draw on its own. But Muskoka’s Dorset, Ontario boasts an extra special piece of heaven, or pizza heaven – officially called Pizza on Earth.


About five years ago, an enterprising university student, Sarah Jane (Johnson) Gibbs, and her parents built an outdoor wood-burning oven on their commercial property. Since then, Sara has turned out fabulous, wood-fired gourmet pizza that knocks the flip flops off local cottagers. Thin, crisp but chewy crust cooked to perfection. Flavourful sauce. Gourmet toppings. And that smoky, wood-fired taste. This is the stuff to hold out for – here is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhD4x16nbck

Pizza on Earth is only open in the summer, which makes Sarah’s pizza all that much more appreciated. The rest of the year, Sarah is at university studying the cello. Gosh, she’s inspiring. You go girl. I bet you play the cello as beautifully as you make pizza.

Pizza on Earth is very popular in this neck of the woods. Call ahead to place your order; if you show up at the last minute, chances are you will wait a long while. Take it away or eat there on the outdoor picnic tables. Better yet, take a short trip across the Dorset bridge to the park at Little Trading Bay. Our boys like to Huck Finn it and swim out to the raft in the bay. The beauty of Muskoka, Dad’s Root Beer, and Pizza on Earth. Heaven on earth.

Pizza on Earth
1009 Clan McKay Drive
Dorset, Ontario
P0A 1E0
(just south of Dorset, Ontario on the east side of Highway 35, just south of the Dorset bridge)

Phone: 705-349-8827

Website: http://www.mypizzaonearth.com/

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