Escaping the hectic climate of the city, I headed to South Pond Farms to immerse myself in its tranquil setting.
I was about to partake in one of their all-day culinary workshops…little did I know that I was going to learn a lot more than just baking and seasoning.
Located in Bethany Hills in the Kawartha Lakes, South Pond Farms creates the perfect venue for unique weddings, farm to-table suppers, corporate and special events. And of course, their culinary workshops.
South Pond Farms is the pride and joy of owner Danielle French. You instantly feel a warm and genuine sense of pride when French talks about her business; and for good reason, considering all the hard work she has put into the business.
Leaving the hustle and bustle of the big city of Toronto, French yearned for her four daughters to have the experience that she had growing up. She wanted to provide them with the beautiful simplicity of yesteryear; where fresh-baked bread is made almost on a daily, where the country house is filled with aromas of meals cooked on the wood stove, and preserved fruits and vegetables are literally the fruits of her labour.
Labour of love
Over the course of several years, French has refurbished a bank barn with a unique silo that now acts as a swanky ‘tasting room’ and groomed the fields that highlight their signature pond; all of which provides an unforgettable backdrop for weddings and other special events. And if that wasn’t enough, she has also started culinary workshops right inside her country home.
South Pond Farms
Restoration of the barn was a testament to what all traditional bank barns looked like – without the animals and hay…word traveled and people came wanting to have special celebrations, suppers in the barn, workshops about local food
The theme for the culinary workshop in which I was participating was entitled ‘Getting Ready For The Holidays’. I was to learn about dishes that are very reminiscent of the holidays: focaccia bread, spiced ginger nuts, tourtière making and seasoned salts for our future turkey dinners.
The workshop was held in French’s home, a very spacious dwelling adorned with all the modern amenities you can think of in an elaborate kitchen, while still conserving a rustic charm with its woodstove and beautiful wood fireplace that kept the house warm as we cooked and ate.
(back to front) Tortière in the making; finishing salt right out of the oven; spiced ginger nuts; Danielle French (owner of South Pond Farm) and Nick Imrie (Bar & Operations Manager at South Pond Farm); beautiful bottles for our finishing salt and fresh focaccia out of the oven.
Not only did we learn the recipes from French’s calm teaching disposition, we were also treated to an amazing country luncheon that was fitting of any beautiful event.
We started off with a great tasting pureed sweet potato and leek soup accompanied by a mixed green salad with pomegranate seeds and pears drizzled with a lemon Dijon vinaigrette. Yet the pièce de resistance was the ever so rich Brie cheese baked in phyllo that was adorned with walnuts, brown sugar and cranberry compote…sheer decadence!
Decadent lunch at South Pond Farm.
Here at South Pond, when we say homemade, we mean homemade!
Pureed sweet potato and leek soup.
Mixed green salad with pomegranate seeds and pears drizzled with a lemon Dijon vinaigrette and a phyllo baked Brie with walnuts, brown sugar and cranberry compote.
The day of cooking and eating went by rather fast…isn’t that what always happens when you are enjoying yourself?!
One of fun things about the workshop is the fact that, not only do you learn how to make great tasting dishes and acquire timeless culinary tips, you also get to take home your creations, and perhaps share them with family and friends…that is if they ever last that long 😉
I had the pleasure of staying at South Pond Farms’ guest cottage. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I know with certainty I didn’t expect to be pampered like I did. Not only was this cottage charming with its fireplace and rustic décor, it had a roomy built-in sauna and a rain-shower! On top of all this, the view out of the window boasted rolling fields and a nearby forest. This was enough to alleviate all of my ‘stressors’. You can’t pay for this kind of serene feeling in the city!
Guest cottage at South Pond Farm.
Our unique line of products features flavours from the farm. Herbs, spices and fruits grown on the property or neighbouring farms are harvested by hand and composed into blends, one batch at a time.
South Pond Farm’s Services & Events
It’s the quintessential fairytale in the countryside. An outdoor wedding ceremony overlooking the pond, followed by a dinner and dance in their stunning restored barn.
South Pond Farms offers culinary and creative workshops that combine artisanal food, cooking classes, art, culture and more. Available for small private groups as well as large corporate retreats.
Supper Club (May – September)
A once-a-month Thursday night dinner, featuring a rotating chef preparing four courses and profiling local produce, meats, cheese, bread, beer and wine. Menus are based on whatever is fresh and in season and will be posted online two weeks prior to the dinner. Gluten Free and Vegetarian diets are always welcome.
Concert Series: (January – April)
House Concerts bring professional artists of exceptional talent into the countryside who would otherwise perform only in theatres, concert halls and folk festivals in urban markets. With almost no physical separation between artist and audience, a house concert is an intimate experience for everyone. Casual, comfortable and unpretentious, house concerts are fun and very often, inspirational events that create lasting memories.
Delivering delicious meals for a party or special occasion. Guests choose one of their themed dinners or use their à la carte menu.
The refurbished bank barn hosts many weddings and special events. One of the signature touches of the barn is its unique silo which has been converted into a ‘tasting room’.
I’m not sure if it was the clean crisp country air mixed in with my peaceful sleep, but I woke up with a fresh sense of what country living can do to someone’s viewpoint. With a new appreciation for the work that it is involved in making homemade meals, I discovered a fondness for the simpler pleasures of life that which money cannot buy!
Mother Nature’s role plays heavily at the farm as it sets the tone and ambiance for the events as well as the culinary offerings being utilized; however, it is South Pond’s Farms’ farmstead that defines the classic meaning of home cooking with added notes of decadence.