I was very blessed this year to be asked to attend the Rural Retreat for the 2018 Terroir Symposium, writes our Norfolk Flavours Food & Drink Ambassador Jason Mayo. Many of you reading this will be like, “what the heck is that?!?”, so it is likely better to explain first, and gush second.
Terroir is an annual symposium that brings together people who want to promote a sustainable way of eating in our country and around the globe. They support shopping local, supporting our farmers, and making sure that Canadians remember the roots of this country, which are deeply seeded in agriculture.
Each year, the folks at Terroir choose a location for a Rural Retreat, a place that exemplifies this way of living off the land and supporting the businesses located there. There couldn’t have been a more perfect choice this year than Norfolk County.
As I walked around the event it was clear to see that many people in the province and the country didn’t know this little slice of agriculture heaven existed. People were astounded to learn that Norfolk County is the number one producer of many of the country’s fruits and vegetables. They were in awe of the peaceful and serene surroundings and the amount of viable land our area holds.
They were also very impressed by the food, and who wouldn’t be? Dishes served by our very best: David’s, The Blue Elephant, the Erie Beach, and The Combine, as well as cider, beer, and wine from all the local producers. As I walked around eating, drinking, and talking with all of these people it was clear to see that Norfolk County was showing the best of what it had to offer, and these folks were ready to eat, drink, and buy it up!
And they really should be, because that’s what we have been doing for decades. What seems to be so popular and trendy for the rest of the country is just normal for us. Shop local? You bet!
Support local? Of course! These people are our neighbours and we want to see them thrive! Farm to table? Usually at some point in the year we are eating with or cooking for the person we bought our food from. That’s what makes us unique and an incredible place to live. We are setting trends, we are living them every day and thanks to events like Terroir, we are about to get the national exposure we deserve for it!
Who could ask for better than that?
Jason Mayo is #NorfolkFlavours Food & Drink Ambassador for Norfolk County. Jason teaches with the Grand Erie District School Board at Waterford High School. He earned the Literacy/Education Award at the Local Food Champions Recognition Day organized by SCOR. Jason has also appeared twice on the TV series MasterChef Canada. His food dream is to get people eating together and enjoying the foods they have around them.