Simply fresh. Simply fun. Simply local.

Halton Region is home to a thriving agricultural industry. One of the great things about living in a community with a strong and diverse agricultural sector is the ability to travel a short distance to buy fresh, local produce. Halton Region is proud to support this vibrant industry by working with community partners to ensure farming land and practices are sustainable and are here to enjoy for generations to come.

The Simply Local program is a great example of how Halton supports local agri-businesses, many that are family-owned. Simply Local also encourages healthy eating and helps connect Halton residents with local farms.

Plan your agri-venture using our Simply Local map.

Halton’s Simply Local interactive map makes it easy for you to discover Halton’s local farms, farmers’ markets and agri-businesses. This summer, explore Halton’s thriving agricultural industry and visit:

I encourage you to show your support for our agricultural community and local economy by buying, eating and visiting local. Check out halton.ca/simplylocal and start exploring today! Halton’s vibrant and diverse agricultural sector is just one of the many reasons why Halton is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Fall fun in Halton

Agriculture plays a vital role in our economy and in attracting visitors to the region. The harvest season provides us with wonderful opportunities to showcase our local farmers, retailers, restaurants and attractions. This fall, explore all that Halton has to offer by experiencing the best local food and farms in Halton. From fall fairs to Harvest Halton and the new Pumpkin to Pastries Trail, Halton has something for everyone.

Pumpkins to Pastries Trail

Cute Little Girls Pulling Their Pumpkins In A Wagon

Halton’s new Pumpkins to Pastries Trail profiles the people and places that produce and offer local food in Halton. Explore themed events, on-farm markets, restaurants, specialty shops and local attractions for a taste of the harvest season.

Join us from September 12 to October 31 on Halton Region’s Pumpkins to Pastries Trail and explore the best local food, farms and fall experiences around Halton! Visit halton.ca/pumpkinstopastries for more details.

Fall fairs

farmfairFall fairs have been a favourite tradition of Halton residents for over a century, offering a variety of exhibits, events and attractions for the entire family to enjoy.

Check with your local fair to see the entire list of events:

I would like to thank the three committees – Georgetown Agricultural Society, Acton Agricultural Society and the Halton Agricultural Society – who work tirelessly year after year to ensure the fairs are a success.

Harvest Halton

Pumpkin pie on rustic background

Harvest Halton is an annual premier culinary event that brings Halton’s finest restaurants and local farmers together for an unforgettable farm-to-chef experience. This year, the celebration of local food and the autumn harvest will be held at two locations across Halton.

Each event will feature some of the region’s top chefs along with local farmers, breweries, and more. Come down and experience great food and entertainment:

  • Thursday, September 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Toronto Premium Outlets
  • Sunday, October 16 from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. in downtown Oakville

Visit halton.ca/harvest for more details and to see which farmers and restaurants will be featured at each event.

Halton Region is home to an active and vibrant farming industry. As part of the Halton Region Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018, Regional Council is committed to supporting the economic sustainability of our agricultural sector. Our fall events help to showcase this industry and provide us with excellent opportunities to support the residents who make it all happen.

To learn more about Halton’s agricultural industry, attractions and events, please visit halton.ca/tourism.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Simply Local – supporting local farms

One of the great things about living in a community with a vibrant agricultural sector is the ability to travel a short distance to buy fresh, local produce.  Summer is here and local farms and farmers’ markets are attracting visitors from close and far.  Did you know that Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville all have farmers’ markets that operate once or twice weekly from now until October?

Supporting our local farmers by buying produce locally creates a number of benefits for our community.  When you buy locally, you support our local economy by helping to ensure that our farmers are in business for future generations.  You help the environment by reducing the amount of processing, packaging, refrigeration and transportation involved in getting food from the farm to our plates.  You also make healthy choices by eating fresh produce that is better for you and tastes great because it is freshly picked!  Fresh fruits, vegetables, maple syrup and other items are now available at many local farms and farmers’ markets.

Simply Local – Your Guide to Halton Farms promotes Halton’s diverse farming industry, encourages healthy eating and helps connect Halton residents with local farms.  I encourage you to use this valuable Halton resource to discover which farms are growing your favourite produce, where you can pick your own items and learn what is in season. You can also use the interactive online map for Simply Local to plan and get driving directions for your personal tour of Halton farms and explore opportunities to experience various fun outdoor activities for all family members.

A healthy agricultural sector is vital to a healthy and sustainable Halton and Regional Council is committed to supporting and preserving our agricultural community. Halton is currently implementing an Agri-Tourism Action Plan prepared by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance which was approved by Council in November 2013.  This plan has a dual purpose of supporting our vibrant agricultural sector and attracting more visitors to Halton through agricultural and food tourism development. Putting more locally sourced foods on restaurant tables is essential to growing the culinary tourism industry in Halton, as well as contributing to a sustainable local economy.

From strawberry picking in the summer to pumpkin patches and apple picking in the fall, there are many opportunities to enjoy all that our local agricultural sector has to offer year round. Take a moment to view the Growing Good Food Ideas videos to learn more about the importance of the Simply Local initiative in Halton.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Fall Fairs in Halton

With the fall season in full-swing I recently had the pleasure of attending some of the Fall Fairs in Halton.  The Georgetown, Acton, and Milton Fall Fairs have become a favourite tradition of Halton residents for the past century, with Acton celebrating its 100th year and Georgetown and Milton’s impressive 167 and 160 years, respectively.

I would like to recognize and thank the three organizing committees (Georgetown Agricultural Society, Acton Agricultural Society and the Halton Agricultural Society) for continuing to host these events for our community. Fall fair1

The Fall Fairs provide a great opportunity to unite and educate the residents in the area by showcasing the rich history of our agricultural industry as well as the diversity and innovation of Halton’s farms.  Agriculture is an important industry in Halton and one of the priorities of Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.  Events like the Fall Fairs and the Farm Tour bring important attention to agriculture in the Region and help spotlight the successes and partnerships of our agricultural community.  Watch the video below to learn more about Agriculture in Halton.

I hope you had an opportunity to attend one of the fairs and to visit Halton Region’s booth.  This year our Fall Fair ambassadors were promoting information on Harvest Halton – the Farm to Chef Experience, The Pumpkin Trail,  our expanded recycling and waste program, air quality, well water testing and more.  New to our booth this year was a display highlighting our Growing Good Food Ideas video series.  If you missed us you can visit www.halton.ca or dial 311 or to request a brochure and learn more.

Agriculture is such an important part of Halton’s community and the Fall Fairs do a great job of showcasing why Halton is such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.  To learn more about agriculture in Halton, visit www.halton.ca/simplylocal.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton’s 2013 Farm and Food Tour a success

On September 19, I joined elected officials including the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Regional and Local Councillors, members of the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee and media in Halton Region’s 33rd Annual Farm Tour, a forum to learn about Halton’s agricultural industry.

Traditionally Halton’s Farm Tour has focused on agricultural operations and the importance of the agricultural sector to Halton’s health and economy. The scope of the tour was broadened this year to highlight other innovative services being offered by Halton’s farms and related tourism operations including on-farm markets that sell food and retail goods, restaurants and greenhouses.

The tour supports two key initiatives in Halton Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, including supporting and promoting agriculture and working with partners to bring moreFarm tour3 visitors to Halton.  It also highlights the diversity and innovation of Halton’s farms. The knowledge and understanding gained through events such as this tour help ensure we are able to make informed decisions for sustainable and well planned growth in Halton for the next decade and beyond.

The tour gave us a chance to meet with farmers, chefs and business owners in Halton’s agricultural and food services sectors.  This year’s tour included stops at Red Canoe Bistro, Springridge Farm, Mohawk Inn and Chophouse, Marshall’s Real Farmers Market and Store, and DG’s Greenhouses.

At Springridge Farm, owners John and Laura Hughes talked about how listening to theFarm tour 2 consumer has helped their farm become a destination for local food, entertainment, education and fun.  Premier Wynne, who is also Minister of Agriculture, commented on how Halton is successfully bridging the divide between rural and urban communities. 

The tour ended with a keynote address by celebrity chef, Jamie Kennedy and a locally sourced dinner.  Chef Kennedy spoke about his commitment to environmental issues, local food and support for organic agriculture, local producers and traditional methods, noting that he views the farm as an extension of the kitchen.

Farm tour1The tour was organized by the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee (HAAC), a group of volunteers involved in Halton’s agricultural industry who provide advice to Regional Council on issues related to the industry and its community.  A number of the featured presenters were also participants in the Region’s much celebrated Simply Local – A Guided Tour of Halton Farms program, and the Growing Good Food Ideas video series.  

To learn more about agriculture in Halton, visit www.halton.ca/simplylocal.  To learn more about upcoming events including the Harvest Halton – The Farm to Chef Experience at Country Heritage Park on October 6 and Halton’s Pumpkin Trail, visit www.halton.ca/tourism.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Fall is here. Time to explore Halton’s Pumpkin Trail

It’s almost October and fall is in the air.

I invite you to make this October extra special by exploring Halton’s first ever Pumpkinpumpkin Trail.  The Trail showcases pumpkin-themed experiences from more than 20 businesses, farms and tourist attractions throughout the region.

Witness the changing fall colours of the Niagara Escarpment, savour the aromas of local, seasonal cuisine, participate in pumpkin-themed activities and connect with local farmers.

From innovative tasting experiences to pumpkin-themed accommodations and more, Halton’s Pumpkin Trail offers something for participants of all ages. All participating farms and businesses have been mapped on a special Pumpkin Trail map, available online and in hard copy.  Residents and visitors are encouraged to visit as many locations as possible along the Trail to experience all things pumpkin in Halton. 

Copies of the map are available at local Tourism offices, at all of the participating establishments, farmers’ markets and by dialing 311.  An online version is available at pumpkin2www.halton.ca/pumpkintrail and is featured on the Region’s tourism webpages and social media channels. During October, you can also use the printed code found on the map to enter an online draw to win a pumpkin-themed gift basket.

The Pumpkin Trail takes place from October 1-31, 2013 and will officially launch on Sunday, October 6 at Harvest Halton, a Farm to Chef Experience at Country Heritage Park in Milton, pairing Halton’s most prominent chefs with local farmers for a celebration of seasonal food.

To learn more, visit www.halton.ca/pumpkintrail, dial 311, 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9833.  Look for trail information on Halton Tourism on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter @HaltonTourism or on Pinterest at pinterest.com/haltontourism.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Bringing together local chefs and local farmers in support of a good cause

On Sunday October 6, residents and visitors to Halton will have the opportunity to discover the real taste of Halton at Harvest Halton, the Farm to Chef Experience at Country Heritage Park in Milton.

This inaugural culinary event brings together Halton’s prominent chefs, amazing local farmers and other local agri-tourism businesses to celebrate the harvest.foodl

Chefs have been paired with farmers and will create signature dishes using farm fresh ingredients, which can be sampled for a few “sample tokens”.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Halton Food for Thought.

The event, which runs from 1 until 5 p.m., will also showcase local beverage producers, artists, including glass blowers, and retailers. Local musicians will be on hand to add to the celebration.food 2

Buy tickets for Harvest Halton online at www.halton.ca/harvest or at the gate.

  • General Admission is $35 at the gate (buy your tickets in advance online and save $4), and includes five sampling tokens.  General Admission for children aged 7-11 is $12, and children 6 and under are free.
  • Additional sampling tokens can be purchased online in packages of 20 for $20, or in other denominations at the gate. Signature taste creations and beverages will be “sold” for between three and five sampling tokens per serving.

To learn more about Harvest Halton, visit www.halton.ca/harvest. Find Halton Tourism on Facebook , Pinterest  and Twitter (tweet #HarvestHalton). Harvest Halton will also serve as the official launch of Halton’s Pumpkin Trail.

I hope to see you there!

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”