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Spring is Blooming

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Spring 2008 | Volume 2 | Issue 1

Spring Has Sprung

Inside Feature Article


The Pinecroft Story

Food & Dining


Local Food Plus



11 & 14

Birthdays are one celebration of both the present and years gone by. Our feature article (pg 5) is on Pinecroft Pottery, marking its 60th Anniversary in 2008. It’s now Canada’s oldest family-run studio pottery! Their official birthday is in May and a large exhibit of their archives and pottery over the years opens at the Elgin County Museum in August. There are Pinecroft Pottery stories too numerous to include in the magazine, but too intriguing to leave out. You’ll find more on Pinecroft’s history, pottery, people and connections to Elgin County at


What’s Happening Where

Spring is in the air and that brings to mind thoughts of changing seasons - of past ones and those to come.

Map of Elgin


Home & Garden


Natural Gardening

Drink 19 Railway City Brewing



Maple Balsamic Vinaigarette

News & Events


Earth Week 2008 Sparta’s Sunday Market

Editor Debra Bagshaw Layout & Graphic Design Joanne Bagshaw Advertising Info Cover Image ©

For a look at other aspects of Elgin’s past, check out one of our wonderful local museums. May is Museum Month in Ontario. Call or go to for hours and other information on the nine Elgin County museums. With thoughts on the spring season ahead, horticulturalist Susanne Spence Wilkins gives advice on planting a garden that’s in tune with nature (pg 16). I know I’ll keep her tips in mind when planting over the next few months, letting the plants themselves determine what my garden will become rather than my stubborn plans. I’m also eagerly anticipating the start of the farmers’ market season in Elgin. Whether from farm gate or market, summer brings a parade of fresh, local taste sensations. Local Food Plus, a national non-profit organization, has been working in Southern Ontario to ensure availability of these foods in the future - check out the article on this great initiative on page 8. Savour spring, and remember to take the time to Relish Elgin.


Copyright 2008, Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material published in Relish Elgin is strictly prohibited without the written permission of the Publisher. Relish Elgin is published by Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc.

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008


The Pinecroft Story


A look behind the potter’s wheel at Canada’s oldest family-run studio.


elma Caverly Clennell and Jimmie Clennell started Pinecroft Pottery in May 1948, making this the 60th anniversary year for Canada’s oldest family-run studio pottery. It is now operated by Jimmie and Selma’s niece Branda Smith and her husband Paul. Creation of the place that we know today as Pinecroft actually began much before 1948. Selma told the story in a charming publication, Pinecroft, Let the Story Be Told. She paid tribute to the hardy pioneers who cleared the forest to create the parcel of land that in 1903 became the property of Arthur Caverly. He had a farm that was no longer being farmed, realized that the water table was down due to depletion of the woodlot, and set about to reforest. Years of tree planting and building served as employment for several workers—Arthur was a butcher and lost employees each summer when he had to lay them off due to lack of refrigeration. Starting in 1921, 85,000 trees were planted. The little stone house in which the Caverlys lived was built. Arthur was also an avid Muskoka hunter and fisherman and got the idea of creating a little Muskoka for the day when he could no longer travel north. In 1928 he created a trout pond; in 1937 built a one-room cabin for his wife Selma to use as a Sunday retreat, then another just south of the lake for his brother. In 1939 a

log cabin for the Aylmer Rotarians to hold their meetings was constructed. When gas rationing came into effect with WWII, the cabin was used by the Canadian Air Force based at the training school north of Aylmer for graduation parties. Arthur and Selma’s son David went to university. Their daughter, also named Selma, had qualified to teach, which she did for thirteen years. From 1942 to 1945, she became Wren Caverly at Naval Service Head Quarters. Jimmie Clennell, who was destined to become an integral part of the Pinecroft story, had a quite different life. Born in England, he had been orphaned at six, raised by his grandmother, and at age 14 went to work in the coal pits. When his grandmother died, Jimmie and his brother Jack traveled to Canada to live with their uncle in Medicine Hat. Within four days Jimmie had a job in the Medalta Pottery. For the next thirteen years Jimmie learned every phase of pottery. During his last three years there, he studied intensively with the Medalta experts, experimenting with the art and science of Canadian clays and the glazes to compliment them. When WWII came along Jimmie joined the 22nd Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery, trained for beachhead landing, and was part of the first landing on the beaches of Normandy. At war’s end, both Selma and Jimmie were thinking of transition back to civilian life. Continued on page 64

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008


FEATURE 4Continued from page 5 Selma wasn’t interested in going back to teaching, and discovered craft courses had been set up for veterans at MacDonald College in SteAnne-de-Bellevue, Quebec. As soon as she had her hands in the clay Selma knew this was her destiny. Jimmy had no notion of returning to the potteries, but was urged to put his knowledge to good use and directed toward the course at MacDonald. January of 1946 found both Selma and Jimmy enrolled in Ceramic Design at MacDonald College. Over the next two years, they developed their skills, tested clays and glazes, built kilns and decided to work together as potters.


Jimmie and Selma first planned to set up a studio in New Brunswick. However, Arthur was anxious for Selma to return to Aylmer and offered them workshop space. In May 1948 all of their equipment and supplies were moved to the little cabin and they named their business Pinecroft. They married soon after. A market was found and the days were filled with the sometimes back-breaking labour that was pottery in the early years, developing clays and glazes, improvising equipment, educating the public about pottery, teaching, and encouraging the arts. In the 50’s their pottery was available in 200 gift shops. After twenty-five years Jimmy and Selma turned their thoughts to semi-retirement and the4

The Dufferin Exhibit

onrad Biernacki, the Programs Manager at the Royal Ontario Museum, introduced himself to Brenda several years ago. That’s when he began to bring her boxes of Pinecroft Pottery he had collected for examination. On one visit he suggested that it would be a good idea to have an exhibit. Brenda was at first taken aback, but Conrad’s enthusiasm brought her onboard. That’s when she began to gather together early pieces and information. Luckily Pinecroft had a wealth of material, largely


due to Brenda’s sentimental nature and habit of being a bit of a “pack-rat”. Biernacki co-curated the exhibit Pinecroft 1948-2008: Celebrating 60 Years of Canadian Achievement, at the Dufferin County Museum from June to September of 2007. The exhibit comes to the Elgin County Museum August 2nd to December 20th 2008. Over 200 pieces, original tools and archival material will bring to life 60 years at Pinecroft.

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008 future of Pinecroft Pottery. They had many students over the years, but serious potters were rare. However, both Tony Clennell and Brenda Caverly Smith (their nephew and niece) demonstrated interest and talent. Brenda took a year’s sabbatical from her job with the City of London to work at the pottery and never left. In 1976 Brenda and Tony enrolled in a six-week summer course in stoneware at the Banff School of Fine Arts. Both came back full of enthusiasm and insights. “I may have driven Jimmy and Selma crazy with my new ideas and demands,” says Brenda. But it was the start of a new invigoration at Pinecroft as she gradually took over the demands of the pottery. Tony was newly married and teaching school in Wiarton—he opened a part-time studio there and continued to take many pottery courses and develop as an artist. The tearoom opened in 1978 as a celebration of


Pinecroft’s 30th anniversary. Many Women’s Institute groups visited over the years to learn about pottery and enjoy a picnic lunch. The tearoom filled the need for tea and a little sustenance, but then it just kept growing to include daily lunches and weekend brunch. In the 80’s Selma and Jimmie trimmed their workday to 9 to 5. Brenda had married Paul Smith and was raising a family, things at Pinecroft slowed down (a bit) and the teaching came to a halt. Selma passed away on Christmas Eve in 1994, and Jimmie in 1996. Today Pinecroft, The Green Frog Tearoom and Selma’s Cabin welcome visitors to the quiet forest oasis. Brenda still produces fine pottery, in many ways similar to that of sixty years ago. Collectors of Pinecroft pieces old and new continue to appreciate hand-made pottery which is well proportioned, designed and glazed.

A Potter’s Art: The Pinecroft Mark


hen Jimmy and Selma started the Pinecroft pottery, most potters had a stamp that they imprinted into wet clay. You couldn’t identify the potter without a book identifying the stamps. “Jimmy and Selma, from the very beginning decided that they would always write ‘Pinecroft, Aylmer, Canada, handmade’ on the bottom of their pots, which is wonderful,” says Brenda, “because sixty years later you can identify them. The downside is that I have probably written the words ‘Pinecroft Aylmer Canada’ more than any other person alive!”

After Selma passed away on Christmas Eve 1994, Brenda remembers, “Jimmy continued to demonstrate and make pots from the last of the clay he had started with at Pinecroft. On the bottom of each pot he wrote ‘Pinecroft, Aylmer, Canada, Jimmie 1948-1996’ and a circle of dots with Selma’s name. The circle was a symbol from his youth—when you finished at a campsite you would make a circle with the campfire stones to symbolize that you had gone home; his circle meant that Selma had died and gone home. Jimmie too went home in October of 1996 when he passed away at home after making over 50 beer steins in the studio that day.”

Find more about Pinecroft Pottery at and The Pinecroft Gift Shop is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The Green Frog Tearoom serves lunch daily, with brunch on weekends. Check their website for hours. Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008



Local Food, Plus a Whole Lot More

A non-profit organization hopes to build local sustainable food systems.


ocal tomatoes—bright red, plump, juicy, fragrant—about this time of year I start dreaming about them. Appreciation for the simple pleasures of in-season or preserved food grown nearby has experienced a revival in recent years. And the taste buds have never had it so good! Our trips to the farm market or farm gate can result in reduced food miles, and have put us more in touch with real food and the real people who produce it. But simply buying local isn’t enough to ensure the long-term viability of our agricultural system.

Long-term sustainability, according to Local Food Plus, should be: . financially viable for all stakeholders . primarily local and regional . ecologically responsible in its operations . socially responsible sumers food that is socially and environmentally responsible, which is offered by the LFP brand. LFP’s approach has been to build successful links in one geographical area at a time. Considering the limited resources at their disposal, their accomplishments are impressive.

A broad range of issues impact upon agriculture today. Challenges include urban sprawl, loss of biodiversity and wildlife habitat, negative farm incomes, pollution, animal welfare, rural revitaliza- To date, they have focused on the Greenbelt tion, worker health and safety, and increasing consumption of Simply buying local isn’t enough to ensure the food imported from elsewhere. long-term viability of our agricultural system. Local Food Plus, a non-profit organization, has looked at the big picture of the Canadian agricultural system and come up with an integrated and sensible approach to addressing these issues. In a nutshell, they are “committed to building and fostering local sustainable food systems by LFP-certifying farmers and processors and linking them with local purchasers.” The organization is dedicated to affecting positive change by developing and applying standards for LFP certification of farmers and processors. Local Food Plus then works to build marketing links between these farmers and progressive institutions and retailers nearby. These purchasers are the leaders who want to offer con-


around the Greater Toronto area. With their mandate of building predictable income streams for farmers, effective links have been established between LFP certified producers and the University of Toronto, Fiesta Farms (Toronto’s largest independently owned supermarket), Il Fornello Restaurants, and Fermentations (Toronto wine and cider makers). Melissa Benner, Communications Manager at Local Food Plus, sees great potential for LFP certification in Elgin County and surrounding regions. “LFP’s definition of ‘local’ is Ontario-wide. Our current market partners are in Toronto, but we are in discussion with retailers, restaurants and4

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008 institutions in Elgin County and throughout Ontario.” Melissa also notes that LFP is developing point of sales materials (such as logos, posters and hand-outs) for LFP-certified farmers, “so consumers should keep their eyes open for the LFP brand.” Melissa grew up on a conventional tobacco farm in Aylmer, Ontario that has since transitioned into a herb farm called Heritage Line Herbs. She has developed expertise in communicating about farm and sustainability issues to a variety of audiences. At a recent presentation in St. Thomas, Melissa noted that the LFP mission is to “address the problem of an unsustainable and undemocratic food system,” and “the goal is for LFP to become a sought after brand.” She acknowledged, “that will involve a great deal of education, marketing and public relations.” So far, there are two LFP certified farmers in Elgin County. Weninger Farms Ltd outside Ay-


lmer grows sweet potatoes. McSmith’s Organic Farm north of St. Thomas produces vegetables, chickens, eggs and some other food products. McSmith’s have been certified organic since 1984, which ensures that a third party inspector has observed that the product was grown or raised according to Canada Organic Standards. Although their farm has long met these strict standards, the “local” aspect of the LFP program appeals to them. LFP plans to spread beyond the Greenbelt area. But even before that happens, the Local Food Plus ideas are a useful basis for the food choices we make now. Local is wonderful. Even better is “local plus”— foods produced using ecologically and socially responsible farming methods and marketed in a manner that brings the farmer a fair and reliable income.

Check out for information on local sustainable food, and watch for more on the LFP Brand in the future.

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008


What’s Happening Where in Elgin Find out what’s happening in your neighbourhood, or take a road trip and discover what’s happening in someone else’s.


SAT. APR 19TH - SUN. APR. 26TH EARTH WEEK FESTIVAL - DUTTON/ DUNWICH COMMUNITY A week full of activities including Earth Week Expo on Sun. Apr. 20th (see article on Earth Week, page 22). APR. 26TH - MAY 11TH ELGIN COUNTY TRILLIUM TOUR A tour throughout Elgin County featuring the beauty of Ontario’s flower. For info call 519.775.2216. APR. 26TH & 27TH; MAY 3RD & 4TH TIM HORTON’S TROUT DERBY Springwater Conservation Area 519.773.9037 FRI. MAY 3RD & SAT. MAY 4TH ELGIN COUNTY RAILWAY MUSEUM NOSTALGIA DAY & CANADA SOUTHERN HOBBY SHOW Canada Southern Railway Station and the Railway Museum, St. Thomas SAT. MAY 10TH & SUN. MAY 11TH HERITAGE LINE ANNUAL MOTHER’S DAY OPEN HOUSE 53443 Heritage Line, RR #1 Aylmer

SUN. MAY 11TH RUSH CREEK MOTHER’S DAY WINERY & COUNTRYSIDE Tour, wagon-ride & more. Book ahead to ensure availability. 48995 Jamestown Ln, RR #2 Aylmer 519.773.5432 SAT. MAY 17TH & SUN MAY 18TH 2ND ANNUAL STUDIO TOUR Fine artists and artisan studio tour presented by St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre. Self-guided tour map available April 19th at the Art Centre. MAY 21ST TO JUNE 7TH BOARDWALK! THE DOO-WOP MUSICAL Port Stanley Festival Theatre SAT. MAY 24TH RELIVE THE TALBOT SETTLEMENT DAY AT BACKUS-PAGE HOUSE 29424 Lakeview Ln, Wallacetown 519.762.3072 SUN. MAY 25TH ELGIN COUNTY RACES--JUMBO RUN

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008

More on page 14



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Eat, Sho Find More Online Your Source for Lifestyles Information in Elgin

Food . Dining . Arts . Recreation Home . Garden . News . Events

NEW Lifestyles Business Directory


op, Play ... Locally!

More Elgin Events Continued from page 11

SUN. MAY 25TH TRAVEL WESTERN ELGIN’S TRAILS A car tour through the Talbot Settlement with Heritage Food Tour. Starts at Backus-Page House. Tour maps available 10am - 1pm; locations open until 4pm; $10 per car.

SAT. JUNE 7TH RODNEY FIRE MUSTER West Elgin Fire Station hosts the 3rd Annual Fire Muster with proceeds to the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario. Parade at 10am, events 11am at Rodney Park. For info call 519.785.1218.

q SUN. MAY 25TH 16TH ANNUAL STRAWBERRY FIELDS KITE FESTIVAL On the South Lawn of the St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital; 1 - 5pm. For info call Anne at 519.775.2527.

WED. JUNE 4TH - SAT. JUNE 7TH ST. ANNE’S FESTIVAL Carnival rides, games, food tents and the White Elephant sales tent. St. Anne’s Centre, St. Thomas FRI. JUNE 6TH - SUN JUNE 8TH ANNUAL ROSY RHUBARB DAYS FESTIVAL Celebrating rhubarb, fun and community spirit. Shedden

SAT. JUNE 7TH EDEN ANNUAL CAR RALLY & BBQ An event for those who love cars & barbeque. Bring your classic car. Car rally at 11:30am, bbq 5 - 7pm. Contact Kim at 519.866.3664.


SAT. JUNE 7TH VIENNA EDISON FEST Annual festival includes museum tours with other activities in Memorial Park - soap box derby, light bulb river race, beer garden & entertainment, craft and art vendors, children’s activities. For info call 519.866.3066. SUN. JUN 8TH 3RD ANNUAL ARTE NOVELLO Trillium House Fine Art Gallery presents its 3rd Annual Art Show and Sale. This year’s theme is “Excellence in Art.” Quai du Vin Estate Winery, 45811 Fruit Ridge Ln, RR #5, St. Thomas. For info contact Trillium House at 519.637.8354.

Find more information on these events and many more at

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008


Gardening With What Nature Gave You Take a hint from nature when planning your home landscaping projects.


aking a hint from nature in your home landscaping doesn’t mean letting your neat and tidy lawn revert to a wildflower prairie, although it could.

So, don’t expect your landscape to stay stagnant. Even if you meticulously maintain a new landscape installation it will evolve. The key is to consider this when planting.

I’m suggesting you analyze how nature designs her landscapes and consider how to use those natural techniques to create an outstanding home landscape.

In nature, plants form colonies and communities. You will see swaths of wildflowers and ferns, clumps of shrubs and canopies of small and large trees. They may be groups of one type of plant, or different plants forming

There are three hints that we can take from nature to make the best of our landscapes and financial resources: . plants grow best in circumstances that are favourable to them . plants form colonies and communities . alien invasive plants are detrimental to all landscapes When we look at natural landscapes, it’s easy to see that plants grow best in the circumstances that are most favourable to them. Our native plants don’t need planting labels to determine if they require part shade or well-drained soil. Native plants find their ideal growing situations and fade away when the conditions disappear. The same theory applies to the plants you buy at the nursery. There is no reason to put a plant where it suits your design, but not the plant’s sensibilities. The plant will underperform or die. You may get a chance to correct this by noticing that the plant is not vigorous, and move it to a more favourable location. Like in nature, home garden conditions can change with the seasons or time: . maturing trees create shade in previously sunny locations or other plants compete for water and nutrients . plants mature and spread . insects and viruses affect plants


supportive communities requiring the same soil type and moisture. Different plant species in a community may require varying levels of light as the larger plants will be in the sun most of the day while shorter plants will be in shade. Consider the levels of a forest when you plant your home landscape, even if you want a manicured look. Before landscaping, the first thing to do is evaluate your soil. You may have clay, loam, sand or a combination. You may have pockets of different soil types in your yard or you may have poor subsoil to fill around your house, just where you plan to install your foundation plantings. In most cases, you will bring in more topsoil and compost to amend the soil and build up the level of your landscape beds. But don’t forget what types of soil you have because the roots of your plants, especially trees and shrubs will be sending their roots down into the original soil. While many plants are adaptable to soil types,4

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008 many do not flourish in clay soils. If you have heavy clay soil, you should review some plant lists to ensure that they will flourish in your soil. Our natural landscapes have suffered from invasive species introduced since European settlement. The public has become aware of the problems caused by species such as purple loosestrife and garlic mustard. There are two things to consider about invasive species: . don’t plant invasive species such as periwinkle, cotoneaster, or sweet woodruff near woodlots that may edge your yard . invasive plants planted in your garden will take over even if the conditions aren’t perfect So if a plant says “vigorous” on its label or a friend wants to give you some plants, saying “don’t worry, I’ve got lots”, beware. This plant may cause you grief as it overgrows less aggressive but possibly more expensive or desirable plants.


This spring before your garden is ready to plant, take a nature walk. Look at the structure of plants and how they relate to other shrubs and trees, then try to replicate those ideas in your garden. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results.

Check out these websites & blog for more inspiration:

Written by Susanne Spence Wilkins. Suzanne is a graduate of the Horticulture Program at Ridgetown College and operates Town & Country Landscaping. Contact her at and visit


Railway City Brewing Company

After a long wait, St. Thomas will finally have a brewery to call its own.


ou will soon be able to savour a beer that has been carefully crafted from local ingredients right here in St. Thomas. After nearly two years of planning, construction and recipe development, Railway City Brewing Company is expected to open in April 2008. The brewery’s name gives a nod to the past and the importance of St. Thomas’ railway heritage, but the brewery itself has a thoroughly forwardlooking aim to provide taste-pleasing beer for years to come. The micro-brewery will be run by Al Goulding, former owner of a successful wine and beer business in St. Thomas, and Paul Couriveau, founder of the Iron Horse Festival and Canada Southern Railway Station restoration effort. They set out to create a great beer which would use local ingredients and methods to minimize environmental impact. The brewery, located at 168 Curtis Street in downtown St. Thomas, features a 10-hectoliter system comprised of a kettle, mash tun, hot liquor tank and 6 fermentators. There’s also a Continued on page 204

BEER 101 Here’s the short course on beermaking, with a few notes on RCBC, so you can tout our local beer knowledgeably. Beer has been made since medieval times, using a few basic steps and ingredients. It’s attention to detail and tiny variations that mean the difference between a mediocre beer and a really good one. Malting. Barley is the main ingredient in beer. Malting companies take the grain and soak, germinate (sprout), then dry roast it to create the malt. Railway City uses Ontario sourced Malted Barley and Grains. Their current recipe uses a carefully selected blend of 3 premium malts. Mashing. At the brewery, the malt is mixed with heated, purified water in a mash tun, allowing the enzymes in the mash to break down the starch into sugar. Lautering. The mash is sprayed with hot water to rinse out the sugary extract. This sugary “wort” is run off to the brew kettle. Boiling and Hopping. The wort gets boiled (the time depends on the type of beer). Hops are added to give flavour - they are the pinecone-shaped, green coloured female flowers of the hop vine that are harvested each fall and dried for use in brewing. Craft brewers can select from many different varieties of hops, each one adding a characteristic aroma and flavour. Railway City uses a premium locally grown variety of hops. Continued on page 204

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008


DRINK 4Continued from page 19 custom small-batch kitchen on site where their inaugural ale was developed and which will enable them to create new unique brands as they grow. Railway City’s launch beer, “Ironspike Blonde Ale”, tastes really good, and the bottom line is, it’s the taste that matters. But it would be nice when you serve the beer to your guests to be

clable PET plastic stadium bottles reduce the need for exterior cardboard packaging. Their glass growler bottles can be returned for refilling (with cost savings as well). Natural grains will be shared with local farmers to use as feed supplement. And, special event beer will be offered in cups made from corn and completely compostable. Railway City Brewing owners have overcome some start-up hurdles and delays with a sense of humour and confidence that this St. Thomas landmark will be the place for lively tours, events and really good beer for years to come.

BEER 101

Continued from page 19 Cooling. The wort goes to a brewhouse device where any remaining hops are removed before it’s cooled.

able to say, “yes it is delicious, and made right here in Elgin County. The hops come from Elgin and that great clean finish is due to the all-grain recipe with the addition of a little wheat!” Railway City Brewing will sell direct to customers onsite and to licensed retail businesses. To further your tasting enjoyment, their store also has branded merchandise like glasses, growlers, shirts, caps, and tap handles. They plan to make events their specialty and have stocked individual draft refrigerators and a Draught Express Portable Draught Trailer. Concern for the environment has played a big role in the selection of ingredients, set-up of the brewery and the supplies it uses. Railway City draught beer at your local restaurant is delivered in returnable kegs and growlers. Locally microbrewed beer doesn’t need to travel far, reducing its environmental footprint. Railway City’s recy-


Fermentation. Yeast is added to the cooled wort in the fermentation vessel. The yeast converts sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol. The type of yeast and length of fermentation influence the flavour. Railway City beer is top fermented using a temperature controlled cold fermentation process. Conditioning. The beer is aged in cold storage for three weeks or more to condition. Railway City beer is keg conditioned to perfection. It’s all-natural, crafted in small batches with no artificial adjuncts or preservatives.

Railway City Brewing Company is located at 168 Curtis St. in St. Thomas, 519.631.1881. Find out more at Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008


Maple Syrup: Pure, Sweet & Delicious There’s nothing quite like the taste of pure maple syrup.


perfect combination of native trees and special weather patterns is essential for commercial maple syrup production. There are few areas in the world where this “sweet serendipity” occurs. Fortunately for us, Elgin County is in one of those areas. In the past, maple syrup has been thought of mainly as a pancake topper. But in recent years, many chefs have become wildly enthusiastic about using its distinctive flavour in unique creations. Mixtures containing maple syrup and balsamic vinegar make delicious salad dressings or even dessert syrups.

ness. Needless to say, Ellen has collected a few maple syrup recipes over the years. But she notes adding a taste of maple syrup doesn’t have to be complicated. One of her favourites is simply to stir a little syrup into plain yogurt, add some chopped apple, maybe a little granola, and enjoy.

Some Simply Syrupy Sites:

Adding a taste of maple doesn’t need to be complicated. During March weekends at Palmer’s Maple Syrup bush (34308 Lake Ln, Pt Stanley, 519.769.2245), Ellen Palmer shows visitors the ins and outs of maple syrup production. This is the tenth year of operation for the Pancake House at the 2nd generation family-run busi-

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette Try this perfectly balanced dressing on a variety of greens. 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 2/3 cup light olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley 2 tsp chopped fresh basil ground pepper to taste


1. Whisk together all ingredients except parsley, basil and pepper. 2. Stir in herbs just before serving. 3. Drizzle on a simple salad of mixed greens. For a delicious treat, add sliced cold beets, toasted pecans and crumbled blue cheese.

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008



Earth Week 2008

Education and Festivities for Young and Old.


arth Day is April 22, 2008. In Canada, Earth Day has grown into Earth Week and even Earth Month to accomodate the profusion of happenings and projects. These range from large public events to thousands of smaller ones staged by schools, organizations and community groups. On the Canadian Earth Day site, www., you will find resources like Top 10 Actions to Help the Environment and Eco Trivia (Do you know how many plastic bags are used per year by the averge family of four? 1,000! - many of which could be saved by bringing your own whenever possible). Most school children in Canada take part in Earth Day activities - be sure to ask yours how they are participating. It is a good chance to learn about opportunities for positive action and to find out what’s happening in your community.

The Dutton Dunwich Chamber of Commerce presents several initiatives for Earth Week 2008. Festivities kick off with a Yuk Yuks’ comedy show on Saturday April 19th, a fundraiser for the Wallacetown Agricultural Society. The highlight event is an Expo on Sunday April 20th at the Dutton Community Centre. Many local school groups, organizations and businesses will participate with interactive displays and presentations.

Check out for details on the whole week’s activities and links to some great green information, or contact Bev Galbraith at 519.762.6060.

NEW: Sparta Outdoor Market

Another charming addition to your visit to Sparta. Located across from the Sparta House Tea Room, vendors will offer antiques, handcrafted soaps, jewellery, needlework and more.


Open the first Sunday of the month from May to October For info, call Norma at 519.775.2312

Relish Elgin Magazine • Spring 2008

Distributed by these Local Businesses Relish Elgin can be found at businesses across Elgin, including:


Abbeywood Baskets & Gifts 435 Talbot St, St. Thomas Always Christmas at Victorian Elegance 109 Talbot St W, Aylmer Briwood Farm Market 1030 Talbot St, St. Thomas Canadale Nurseries Ltd. 269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas Celebration Creations 11 Hiawatha St, St. Thomas City Coffee & Gourmet Foods 552 Talbot St, St. Thomas Cobblestones Gallery & Gift Shop 48664 John Wise Line, RR#5 Aylmer Cravings Coffee Market 9 Princess Ave, Unit #1, St. Thomas A Day to Remember 160 Currie Rd, Dutton Elgin County Museum 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas Farmgate Markets 310 Wellington St, St. Thomas The Flower Fountain 27 Talbot St W, Aylmer Harbourside Antique Market 177 Main St, Port Stanley Heart Angel 46349 Sparta Ln, Sparta Heritage Line Herbs 53443 Heritage Ln, RR#1 Aylmer The Iris Patch Flower & Gift Shoppe 216 Furnival Rd, Rodney Lakeview Gardens & Greenhouses 9353 Graham Rd, Eagle

Lotus Thai 633 Talbot St, St. Thomas McSmith’s Organic Farm 42828 Shorlea Ln, RR#6, St. Thomas Minerva Art Gallery 11078 Springwater Rd N, Aylmer Muscat Jewellers 721 Talbot St, St. Thomas New Sarum Diner 46230 New Sarum Ln, St. Thomas Port Stanley Festival Theatre 302 Bridge St, Unit #6, Port Stanley Pinecroft & Green Frog Tearoom 8122 Rogers Rd S, RR#5 Aylmer Quai du Vin Estate Winery 45811 Fruit Ridge Ln, RR#5 St. Thomas Railway City Brewing 168 Curtis St, St. Thomas Rush Creek Wines 48995 Jamestown Ln, RR#2 Aylmer Spare Moments Craft Supplies 530 Talbot St E, Aylmer Sparta House Tea Room & Restaurant Main Street, Sparta St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas Trillium House Fine Art Gallery 563 Talbot St, St. Thomas Wiener’s Floral Designs 18 St. George St, St. Thomas Wind n Willow 435 Talbot St, St. Thomas The Woodpecker 9600 Walker Rd N, RR#4 Aylmer

P.O. Box 20058 St. Thomas, ON N5P 4H4 519.633.1992

For a 1-Year Subscription: Send a cheque for $8 (to cover mailing) to the address at left. Includes 4 issues.

Relish Elgin Spring 2008 Edition  

Relish Elgin features the people, places, businesses and events in Elgin County, Ontario, Canada.

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