Silos Stories and Sketches of Otonabee and South Monaghan Township: Cool Ag-Geek Fare for the Farm-Lover

Val Crowley (left) and Marie Adamcryck, authors of Silos, Stories and Sketches of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township, in front of one of the silos featured in the book. PAT MARCHEN/Special to Peterborough Examiner
Val Crowley (left) and Marie Adamcryck, authors of Silos, Stories and Sketches of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township, in front of one of the silos featured in the book. Photo Courtesy of Peterborough Examiner

There is a geek population for virtually every possible thing on the planet.  Geekery, after all, is not just limited to video games, prog rock, or…  My Little Pony?


Around these parts — these parts being the Peterborough culinary scene in general and the Farm to Table living room in particular — there are no shortage of “farm geeks.”  These enthusiastic folks are usually either farmers, hobby farmers, wannabe farmers, or people who roam the countryside wistfully sighing at barns before returning to their downtown homes to dream of not-so-far-off lives with chickens, goats, and (just probably) bees.  Speaking of bees, these are people for whom local history is totally the bees knees.

Well farm geeks, this one is for you.

Silos Stories and Sketches of Otonabee and South Monaghan Township, written by Marie Adamcryck and Val Crowley, is an attractive 80 page book that features art work by Adamcryck, and photos of various silos across the township.  It was produced by Scriven52 Press of Baillieboro and is available at Trent Valley Archives for $25.

From Elwood H. Jones’ column in the Peterborough Examiner:

“For Silos, the authors traveled every roadway in the township looking for silos, and dropped in and interviewed some 66 local farmers about the history of more than 100 silos on these properties. By definition, a silo is “a trench, pit, or especially a tall cylinder (as of wood or concrete) usually sealed to exclude air and used for making and storing silage.” The authors note that “Corn silage consists of chopped up stalks, leaves and cobs. Under its own pressure within a silo, the corn ferments for a week or so and becomes a sweet, moist feed, used mostly for cattle.” (preface) Most farmers had hay silage in the summer and corn silage in the autumn. Some silos were converted to storage silos when farmer interest changed from dairying to beef. When farmers retired, the silos stood unused.

It appears from the book that wooden silos were apparently built from about 1900 to 1940. The book focuses on concrete stave silos and older poured concrete silos; these appear to have been built from the 1930s to the 1970s. There are some samples of more recent silos built of sealed concrete and of blue steel. I never noticed any bunker silos, although these were of interest to the authors. The early wooden silos were about 12 to 14 feet in diameter but by 1940 reached 20 feet in diameter. Early silos varied in height between 20 and 40 feet; some were given extra height by being topped with one or two rows of chicken wire.”

I’ll be picking up my copy soon.

Because there is no shame in being a geek.

DBIA/Trent Partnership Encourages Students to Shop Downtown

DBIA executive director Terry Guiel swipes Trent President Leo Groarke's Trent U Card. Photo from
DBIA executive director Terry Guiel swipes Trent president Leo Groarke’s Trent U Card. Photo courtesy of

As a Trent University alumnus — and a guy who does communications projects for Trent’s Alumni Affairs — I’m incredibly excited about a new program allowing Trent University students, faculty, and staff to use their “Trent U Cards” to purchase food and drink at several downtown establishments, including Black Honey, Natas Café, and The Whistle Stop.

A big part of Farm to Table’s efforts in promoting the downtown core has been aimed at the Trent community.  And why not?  The university represents a huge portion of the economic activity in Peterborough.

How much so?

According to the brand new 2015 Trent University Report to the Community, Trent represents 7.7 percent of Peterborough’s Gross Domestic Product.  The university contributes $387 million to the local economy, with student spending contributing $170 million.  It should be noted that Trent alumni contribute a further $620 million to the Peterborough economy.

If we want to build a sustainable downtown core, we need to ensure that Trent community members continue to shop and dine downtown in ever-increasing numbers.

And this is precisely what this new partnership is attempting to foster.

From a Trent University news feed story:

Trent University and the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) today announced an exciting new partnership that will see the expansion of the Trent University student card (TrentU Card) program, allowing students to use their card at several off-campus merchants, including Black Honey, Natas Café, and The Whistle Stop.

“This is an important step forward in our attempt to connect our students with Peterborough’s downtown,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor at Trent University. “We’re keen to offer more options to our students with the support of the DBIA. With the DBIA, we are interested in working with downtown partners to encourage students to take advantage of the restaurants, businesses, and cultural activities in the City’s downtown core.”

As of today, students, staff and faculty will have the ability to load money onto their TrentU Card and use their card to make purchases at Black Honey, Natas Café, and The Whistle Stop, the top three merchants, which were selected by Trent students in a survey conducted in the spring of 2014. Window decals have been placed in each of the three businesses, announcing to the Trent community they now accept the TrentU Card.

“Trent is a vital part of the health and vibrancy of the downtown. This new initiative demonstrates Trent’s desire to continue to be connected with the core. A vibrant downtown is of critical interest to draw students. This unique program will be most welcome in the downtown and has the potential for immense economic and cultural spin-offs,” said Terry Guiel, executive director of the DBIA. “The DBIA is extremely excited to see the full potential of this initiative and what it could grow into.”

Click here for the full story.

Congratulations to the Peterborough DBIA and Trent for forging this partnership.  It is a wonderful continuation of the “town and gown” tradition that has linked Trent and the community that houses it.

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Farm to Table and Trent:

Earlier this year, Farm to Table announced that we will be rolling out mentorship opportunities for Trent students.  This spring, we brought on our first sustainable agriculture student.  We also look forward to working closely with the Trent Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program in order to promote local and seasonal produce.

Farm to Table’s Donald Fraser has worked closely with The Seasoned Spoon and Trent Vegetable Gardens in the past.  He has featured Trent food programs and projects on CHEX Television segments, Peterborough Examiner columns, Peterborough This Week columns, and in online publications.  Fellow Farm to Table’er, Krista Campbell Fraser has an Trent MSc. in Environmental and Life Sciences, having presented a successful thesis on the effects of ozone on local crops. She was introduced to large-scale food growing as one of the first rooftop growers/researchers of Trent University’s rooftop garden.

Trent students, faculty, and staff have enjoyed our culinary tours since they began four years ago — they are often among the most engaged and engaging of participants.

Farm to Table will continue to attract Trent community members to explore the downtown core by offering discounted rates to students.  Student tickets for this year’s tours will be $25 — a savings of almost 30% on the regular $35 ticket price.


Farm to Table Welcomes Back Businesses

lemonade2smallHere at Farm to Table, we’ve been busy prepping for the upcoming tour season — which begins July 1st.

We’re nearly through doing roll-call and almost all — if not all — of the businesses on the tour are returning for another great year.  And, believe it or not, it is year four!

Already confirmed are restaurants such as Rare Grill House, Brio Gusto, and Two Dishes Cookhouse.  Retail stores, such as Naked Chocolate have already started dreaming up treats for us.  And, as with every year, we’re excited to welcome some new businesses — such as By the Bridge (a great sandwich/salad stop on Water Street).  Look for the full list of businesses on June 1st.

We’re also designing some new fliers — thanks to the Peterborough DBIA for partnering with Farm to Table and donating the cost of printing.

And if you notice some colourful new photographs starting to populate the page, that’s because Jessica Melnik followed us around for a day and snapped some wonderful pictures.  Check out her website at

It’s going to be a fun year, folks!  Keep your eyes peeled for announcements.

Farm to Table Tour News

Junior Tour Assistant, Clara Fraser.
Junior Tour Assistant, Clara Fraser.


And welcome back to another season of Farm to Table culinary tours.

First of all, I’d like to apologize for the lack of winter postings.  We’ve been busy you see.  Busy growing a (not so) little human being.

That’s right.  In December, Krista gave birth to our latest (not so) tiny tour guide and local food promoter: Clara Grace Campbell Fraser.  Currently weighing in at the 97th percentile for her age, Clara is built for her future role as a local food expert.  Which makes her a happy and healthy baby.  Don’t be surprised if she accompanies the group on a tour or two.

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Farm to Table Tour Coordinator (and apparent goat hugger), Helen McCarthy.
Farm to Table Tour Coordinator (and apparent goat hugger), Helen McCarthy.

Which brings us to our other new face.

Farm to Table is pleased to announce that we’ve hired a brand new tour coordinator.  Helen McCarthy is a student in Trent University’s Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program.  She’s also president of the Trent Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Society.  Before attending Trent, Helen was head chef/baker at Matchstick Coffee Roasters in Vancouver, and Pastry cook/baker at Chef Claire’s, Home is in the Kitchen, also in Vancouver.  In short, she knows where food comes from and how to prepare it.

Helen will be leading a good number of our tours and acting as a liaison to businesses.  She’ll also be working to expand the tours into municipalities around Peterborough and along the Lakeshore.

Welcome aboard, Helen!

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Farm to Table is also excited to announce that we are working in partnership with the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area.  The DBIA has graciously granted $500 to Farm to Table in order to cover the cost of printing.  We are grateful for the financial support and look forward to promoting the great restaurants, stores, and events of the downtown core.

Thank you, DBIA!

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Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism (PKT) has announced they will be hosting the 2015 Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) Conference and AGM in Peterborough this June.

The annual conference is an opportunity for writers, photographers, filmmakers, and social media experts/personalities to gather in order to showcase a region, in this case, Peterborough.

Not only are we pleased as punch that Peterborough is going to receive so much media attention, but we’re also excited to be offering a downtown food tour to delegates.  Talk about showing off our culinary scene!

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Finally, we’re excited to announce that our fourth incredible season will kick off on Canada Day — July the 1st.  Don’t be surprised, however, if there are some special tours or events before that.  We expect that Helen will be busy.  We’re also excited about some new businesses joining the tour.  We’ll officially announce them soon.

Look for our 2015 schedule to be released in the coming weeks.


Pizza Party at the Market With C’est Chaud

Hot stuff!  Wood-fired pizza fills the air with a smokey savoury aroma.
Hot stuff! Wood-fired pizza fills the air with a smokey savoury aroma.

Good golly, miss Molly!

The Night Kitchen is now at both the Wednesday and Saturday markets.

In order to ensure that you — Peterborough pizza eaters — are getting the very best in wood-fired pizza, I took it upon myself to perform some quality control.  I should point out that my visit to C’est Chaud (the Night Kitchen traveling oven) was strictly for research purposes and not for…

Oh, who is kidding who.  I went for pure pizza pleasure.

And they did not disappoint.

A bit about C’est Chaud, in their own words:

“The Night Kitchen is an independently owned, neighbourhood pizzeria that has proudly been serving artisanal, thin crust pizza since 1999 and now, we have the pleasure of introducing C’est Chaud, our copper edition wood fired pizza oven.

Tim Weatherup prepares pizza to order. A great lunchtime break at the Wednesday market.
Tim Weatherup prepares pizza to order. A great lunchtime break at the Wednesday market.

Our scratch baked wood fired pizza combines handmade sauces and dough with a host of locally grown ingredients. Cooked in the ancient manner using Maple, Oak and Apple wood to fuel our oven. When burned, these woods produce an intense, consistent heat, while imparting a sumptuous aroma.

The two minute cook time allows us to retain the fresh and vibrant flavours of minimally stressed ingredients while still achieving a crispy crust that has the perfect amount of char and character. We’re fast and delicious and ready to roll.

When you're hungry for pizza, pictures have to wait.  This was part two of my lunch!
When you’re hungry for pizza, pictures have to wait. This was part two of my lunch!

We aim to build each pizza with the freshest ingredients. This begins with as much locally sourced food as possible. We make almost everything from scratch. Our basil pesto is made with basil grown by a local farmer. Our Butternut Squash Sauce is made with squash from the Farmers’ Market. Our goat feta is from Crosswind Farm in Keene. We use Stanislaus, not from concentrate, tomatoes in our marinara sauce. We also compost to minimize our carbon footprint.”

Folks, do yourself a favour.  Go check out this wood-fired goodness for yourself.

Tell ’em Donald sent you.