Ontario Local Foods

Berries, Breweries, Ice Wine, and More

Ontario may be best known for its maple syrup—and its maple syrup is very fine indeed—but there is more to eating locally in Ontario than syrup and maple candy, no matter how many boxes of maple leaf-shaped candies tourists buy. Much more. See below for a wee bit of a taste.

  • 01 of 10

    Ontario Seasonal Produce

    Baby Spinach Leaves. Photo © Molly Watson

    Ontario is home to a whole range of seasonal produce. It's knowing what to expect when that lets locavores jump from one season to the next with ease. Find out the secrets with this Guide to Ontario Produce.

  • 02 of 10

    Ontario Farmers Markets

    Beets and Carrots at Market
    Beets and Carrots at Market. Photo © Molly Watson

    Farmers Markets Ontario is an excellent resource for finding farmers markets around the province.

    My favorite is Byward Market in Ottawa.

  • 03 of 10

    Ontario Pork

    Canadian Bacon. Photo © Jackson Vereen, used with permission from Getty Images

    Ontario is known for its fine grain-fed pork. Some of those pigs go towards producing back bacon, or what American know as Canadian bacon, a lean center section from loin along the pig's back. It is cured with salt and sugar, hence its slightly sweet flavor, and meant to be cooked and served more like ham than like American-style bacon, which comes from the fatty belly and cooks up crispy. Peameal bacon, back bacon encrusted with ground peas or cornmeal, is another Canadian pork treat.

  • 04 of 10

    Niagra Peninsula Ice Wine

    Ice Wine Grapes
    Ice Wine Grapes. Photo © Molly Watson

    Ontario-grown grapes like Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah yield a range of regional wines. Ontario ice wine ​that is grown on the Niagra Peninsula, however, is known the world over for its complex, sophisticated sweetness. Grapes are left out on the vines well into winter (pictured), with the wind and cold to dehydrate and freeze them, so that when they are pressed they yield very little, but extraordinarily intense juice.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Orchard Fruits

    Northern Spy Apples. Photo © Molly Watson

    Northern Spy apples (pictured) for baking. Pears, plums, and peaches for fresh market eating but also for a growing liqueur and distillery industry. The orchard fruits of southern Ontario are plentiful and fine.

  • 06 of 10

    Ontario Berries

    Blueberries. Photo © Molly Watson

    The strawberry season in Ontario is short but worth the wait. While strawberries are cultivated, and u-pick strawberry farms are popular, many Ontario inhabitants prefer to seek the wild bramble of raspberries along sunny roads and the low-lying wild blueberries in the meadows along the province's ample forests and in Ottawa Valley.

  • 07 of 10

    Foraged Foods

    Chanterelle Mushrooms. Photo © Molly Watson

    Fiddlehead ferns, particularly in the areas north of Toronto, and wild mushrooms like chanterelles are found in the expansive woods and forests of the province.

  • 08 of 10

    Ontario Breweries

    Craft Beer
    Craft Beer. Photo © Michael Deuson, used with permission from Getty Images

    Grains from the prairie provinces make their way east to be turned into beers and ales at Ontario's many breweries. Along with large manufacturers, there is a growing cottage brewery or craft brewery movement happening. Learn more from Ontario Craft Brewers.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Ontario Cheeses

    Drained Homemade Cheese
    Drained Homemade Cheese. Photo © Molly Watson

    Ontario’s cheddar cheese makers are well regarded by cheesemongers around the world and ​it is widely exported. Other cheeses such as Friulano, Scarmoza, Brie, Camembert, Feta, Auricio dolce, and goat cheese are produced by small dairies and sold at delicatessens and cheese counters on a more regional basis.

  • 10 of 10

    Ontario Fish

    Walleye Fish Fillets. Photo © Molly Watson

    Lake fish abound for ​the fishermen who catch them themselves, but trout farms in the province provide those who aren't sportsmen with tasty morsels to call their own. There is a new fishery here too: Sturgeon caviar, raised and harvested in Lake Erie, is a new and growing local food.