I grew up skiing at Blue Mountain with my family. We made the drive up Airport Road at least once a week to ski as a family. I know the sights very well. When my partner Colin and I settled in Toronto for a brief stint to pursue careers, the weekly journeys began anew. And we found ourselves heading up to Grey County every weekend to ski, bike and camp. I still recall the feeling of dread as we headed south Sunday evenings, wishing we could stay.
Finally our wishes became opportunity. Colin was offered a position with a local magazine. We took the plunge and bought a house in Clarksburg. I was working in the city at the Canadian Living test kitchen, commuting a few times a week, but doing the bulk of my work at home. As I’d shop for ingredients for my recipes, I began to realize that something unique was happening with the local food environment. At markets and in shops, I discovered people growing, harvesting, foraging and producing so many items it was baffling. I'd often take something new and exciting I’d found into the city with me to show off in the test kitchen.
The idea of local food and eating local, which has become really trendy in the last few years, is part of the natural mainstay in this community. It’s not a passing fad, it’s how this place works, a movement that precedes trendiness. This has truly been a local food destination for over a hundred years, it’s just that people are more aware of it now. There’s an honesty to the food community here that you don’t find everywhere.
Over time, I felt that I could make the move to do my own thing in the local food community. Trusting that I could carve out a path here and be supported, I started with Wheelie Pops (homemade ice pops featuring local ingredients) at the Thornbury Market. The following summer, I found a great business partner, also with deep food industry roots, and we started PomPom Treat Hut by the harbour in Thornbury. Here we play with local ingredients for our Wheelie Pops and specialty sundaes. I also helped to create Come To Our Table, South Georgian Bay Community Cookbook—a project that allowed me to use skills I’d developed over the years to showcase people doing amazing things in the local food community.
Grey County’s not about weekends for me anymore, it’s full time and it’s my life. We have an amazing son, Taj. We both have thriving businesses. And we are part of a healthy, exciting, inspiring, creative and dynamic community that feeds all my passions from the great outdoors to the dinner table.