Summer’s are just about the perfect time to head out to the Niagara region. While wine sipping and patio hopping are pretty much amongst fun activities to do, one of my favorite ways to spend time around this region is fruit picking. Fruit picking and vegetable farms are open through the summer across Ontario and are a great source of locally grown produce.
We were out and about last weekend and whilst it was a scorching hot day here in Toronto, we arrived fairly early in the morning at The Parkway Orchards located in the Niagara region. As luck would have it, we did manage to pick some wonderful peaches that morning. They are located on 15000 Niagara Parkway on the way to Niagara on The Lake. Ideally it would be best to call them a day in advance to check on timings and availability of fruit for picking.
The farm charges a small entry fee of $4 per head and a minimum $6 deposit per basket which is deducted from the fruit purchase. I happen to notice the apple orchards were almost ready too, perhaps early September would be the right time to make another trip.
It was a delightful day and we managed to pick almost 8 lbs of gorgeous Niagara peaches. Now whilst a lot of them were still yellow when we picked them, they ripened fairly well a couple of days later.
Fresh peaches are a great low-calorie snack and packed with several minerals and vitamins.
More importantly fruit picking is so therapeutic and a great way to connect with nature and de stress too.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Ontario enjoys an abundance of farms that offer fruit picking in the summers.
FRUIT PICKING SEASONS IN ONTARIO:
- Blueberries: May – October
- Strawberries: June -July
- Raspberries: June-July
- Peaches: July-August
- Apples: July-October
Parkway Orchards Niagara Region:
The peaches we picked ripened really well in just a couple of days. Freshly cut fruits are marvelous and tempting by themselves. Most often we relished these peaches just as is or added them to some overnight oats for breakfast.
Grilled Peaches & Halloumi Salad: (Serves 2)
However I did want to experiment with grilling some of these peaches. I went ahead and did so and paired them with some grilled halloumi cheese and Arugula. This turned out just delightful. Grilling the peaches elevates the flavours and adds a burst of fresh summer flavors. Peaches are summer’s greatest delight and can be used in various salads and desserts too.
I so enjoyed putting this salad together and it turned out a riot of flavors.
- 2 Medium peaches ( Washed, Pitted & Halved)
- 2 slices Halloumi Cheese (1″ in thickness)
- Handful Arugula Leaves
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1-2 tablespoons Balsamic Glaze or reduction
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Wash the peaches and cut around the natural seam and twist to remove the pits.
- Brush the peach halves with a bit of olive oil.
- Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat and brush the surface with some olive oil.
- Place the peaches flesh side down on the pan and grill for about 5-6 minutes or until the fruit achieves the required grill marks. No need to flip them.
- Grill the slices of halloumi cheese in the same manner, though you could flip this to get the grill marks on both sides.
- To individually plate this salad: Place the grilled peach and haloumi cheese with the grilled side facing up onto a salad plate.
- Toss in some fresh arugula leaves. Drizzle with Olive oil and balsamic glaze.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.
Phyllo Peach Tart: ( Recipe adapted from www.thepeachtruck.com)
Now whilst a tart conjures up an image of a short crust pastry or perhaps even puff pastry dough, I was looking at something light and easy. I had chanced upon this recipe on thepeachtruck.com and that’s exactly what I had in mind for the remainder of the peaches. The recipe below is an adaptation and I have tweaked it around and added in a few more ingredients and flavors.
( Serves 3)
- Phyllo Dough Sheets (thawed at room temperature)
- 2-3 ripe Peaches ( washed,pitted and finely sliced)
- 2-3 tablespoons Butter (melted)
- 3 -4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
- Handful of walnuts
- Maple syrup (to drizzle)
- Icing sugar (for dusting)
- Thaw the phyllo sheets at room temperature. Next cut the sheets into 5 * 5 inch square. You will need 18 such square to serve 3.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Now mix the brown sugar and cinnamon powder and set it aside.
- Take each square of phyllo and brush with a little melted butter.
- Sprinkle come of the cinnamon-sugar on each square.
- Now place six such sheets together and layer the sliced peaches on top.
- You will then have 3 sets of the phyllo ( each consisting of six sheets of phyllo)
- Place the prepared phyllo sheets onto the baking tray.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes till golden brown.
- Individually plate each phyllo tart onto a dessert plate.
- Dust some icing sugar and drizzle some maple syrup and garnish with some chopped walnuts.
- You may like to serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I’m thinking of heading out for some apple picking next and would love to share a recipe or two soon.
Do you enjoy fruit picking? Do share some of your experiences in the comments below. Hope you are having a wonderful and safe summer.