A Forager’s Feast Through Hastings County

Videos, Photos and Story Submitted by Aysha Tayab-Ratsep

Before I found my love for content marketing, I was into a different kind of marketing: farmers’ marketing. Yes, it’s a verb. It’s one of my favourite ways to spend a leisurely Saturday. Best of all, it a productive hobby. I have to get groceries at some point, so why not make the experience more enjoyable? I love to forage inspiration and turn my purchases into wonderful meals. No two farmers’ market hauls were ever alike. If I was able to make it to one farmer’s market, I would feel happy and at peace. I’m sure you can imagine my delight when my husband and I were on a mission to visit not one, but five, stops to farmers’ markets and farm stands across Hastings County.

The first stop I made was at Tyendinaga Township Farmers’ Market.

There were a few vendors under the large tent. Two vendors really stuck out to me: Carl’s Country Corner and a local vendor named Carl Stapley has been making beautiful leather goods since 1962.

The next stop was at the Ontario Water Buffalo Co. in Stirling. Inside the Buff Stuff store, I tried something really unique: gelato made from buffalo milk. Among the many options, I went with the cantaloupe flavour. I made the right choice.

Even though it was well before lunch time, I considered this a second breakfast. I mean, it hit 2 out of the 4 food groups so that counts as healthy-ish right? This is when being an adult is awesome, you get to justify these types of decisions.

Next, it was time to make our way to the Marmora Farmers’ market. I saw local art and met a vendor named Jude who owned Back Room Farm. She sold lots of different organic items including fresh produce, tea, micro-roasted coffees, and herbal products.

After we left the market, we ventured out to Marmora Miner’s Loop. We got some information from the Marmora Tourist Information Centre which was conveniently located near the market. While we were in the tourist centre, we got the chance to see some of the rocks that had been mined.

These rocks gave me even more incentive to visit the sites, especially the Marmoraton Mine Site. But the interesting thing was that this was no longer a mine. The mine was turned into a lake.

Now, this didn’t have anything to do with food per se, but the view was just delicious. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing and that we were still in Hastings County, let alone Ontario!

It was then time to go to Madoc, where there was an Amish farm stand located at the Madoc Farm Supply. It was a sweet and humble spread of fresh produce and baked goods.

Before our last stop, we had lunch at The Hidden Goldmine Bakery. Their grilled cheese sandwiches and “karat” cake were phenomenal. So yes, we had a second dessert. But there were carrots in this cake. So technically, it’s a salad.

Our last stop was at a farm stand located near Maple Dale Cheese in Plainfield. Of course, I also made a trip inside Maple Dale Cheese.

Just because we left Hastings County, doesn’t necessarily mean it left us. How could I come home empty handed after all that farmers’ market hopping? You can see for yourself what I got.

I didn’t use everything all at once but I did manage to come up with three great recipes for the dishes I cooked. The next evening, I made roasted potatoes with garlic scape pesto. It paired really nicely with a roast chicken. After taking a short break from sweets, a few days later I made a rose hibiscus syrup from the lovely tea I purchased from the Marmora Farmers’ Market. I followed Jude’s recipe to a tea, I mean, to a t. I drizzled the syrup over the raspberries which made for a nice light dessert. You can either have this on its own, or do what I did: serve it on top a piece of lemon cake.

Summer goes by so fast. But one of the best ways to enjoy it is by savouring the beautiful local produce from a farmers’ market. I encourage you to get a taste of the many markets across Hastings County. You can also follow the recipes which I’ve shared below!

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic Scape Pesto (serves 4)

Garlic Scape Pesto


  • 10-12 garlic scapes
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp of pine nuts
  • ¼ cup of basil leaves


  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until well combined


Roasted Potatoes


  • 2 lbs of white potatoes
  • 1 ½ tbsp. of olive oil
  • ½ a lemon
  • 1 ½ tsp of dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰ F
  2. Cut potatoes into quarters and toss with remaining ingredients until well coated
  3. Roast potatoes for 40 minutes or until fork tender.
  4. Serve with pesto.

Raspberries with Hibiscus Rose Syrup (serves 2)


  • ¼ cup of water
  • ¼ granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp of dried hibiscus rose tea


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Immediately lower the and simmer for about 6 minutes or until a bright burgundy colour emerges to the surface.

Allow syrup to cool and serve over

To find markets and fresh products from Hastings County and the Quinte Region, visit HarvestHastings.ca

Story and photographs by Aysha Tayab

Linsey De Ruysscher bio pic

As one of our six Local Wanderers exploring Hastings County, Aysha enjoys Arts and Culture, Agri-Tourism and Paddling adventures.

She grew up in a rural community, suffers from an incurable travel bug, and is an ambassador for the road less travelled.

Learn more about Aysha and her adventures as well as the other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County