Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Thursday, April 15, 2010

McCully's Hill Farm: Insert Your Garden Here!

Since 1847, McCully’s Hill Farm has been producing food for the local community.

This year, for the first time, they're opening their gates to produce food with the local community.

I’ve been working alongside my sister-in-food Sara Bradford (the manager at McCully’s) to organize the first ever McCully’s Hill Farm Community Garden Co-Op. We’re inviting all you landless, would-be-food-gardeners to join us and cultivate your own 10’ x 10’ garden plot (5’ x 10’ half-plots are also available). There is no financial cost for having a garden, but everyone has to contribute part of their crop to be sold at the McCully’s vegetable stand, with proceeds going to support the project. We’re having an open meeting on Thursday, April 29th at 5:30pm to talk about the project with people who are interested, and the plan is to break ground on May 1st!
I went by McCully’s yesterday to pace the field off where the gardens will be located, and let’s just say that there’s enough room for everyone (and then some)! We all definitely have some serious work ahead of us... but I really think this empty field can become a gathering place for like-minded local food enthusiasts who appreciate that the ‘community’ part is just as important as the ‘garden’ part.

While I was there, I met some kids who were signing-up for summer camp. They were unavailable for comment, since they were busy feeding grass to the goats and climbing on the tractor tire playground, but Christopher’s mom Jacqui told me her son’s been attending McCully’s day camp religiously for years, “He’s a farm boy at heart.” Everyone knows farm boys have to eat: for one four-day summer session McCully's is offering a culinary day camp where the kids learn about local food and how to turn it into yummy stuff like pies! Don't forget to bring some home to mom, Christopher!

In the store, we got some maple chunk ice cream and I bought my favourite bean soup mix along with some local honey-butter. It struck me that this place is the heart and soul of the Stratford and St. Marys local food scene. I’ve got the feeling I’m going to be a bit of a regular around here...

Speaking of which, I’ll be returning to McCully’s on Sunday, April 25th for the Foraging Workshop that Sara’s organized through Slow Food Perth County. Expert forager Peter Blush will be leading us on a hunt for fiddleheads, wild leeks, and if we’re lucky we might even find some morels! Just don’t ask me to pick any stinging nettles Peter: I know they’re delicious but I have extensive firsthand knowledge of why they call it the Devil’s Club (ouch!).

Get in touch with Sara at McCully’s if you want one of the last two spots available for the foraging workshop (or if you have any questions about the garden co-op): 
Call or e mail at

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