Meet Our Local Farmers: Mile Hill Farms
by Sara Chow
Thanks to our local farmers and food producers, our family and restaurant kitchens are able to use locally grown, fresh food that is healthier for our bodies and the environment. Local farmers’ markets, like Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s (TBRHSC) Fresh Market, are a great opportunity to not only access fresh food, but they are also a great way to meet our local farmers and learn about what they do and how they like to use their food.
Mile Hill Farms is a family-run farm in Kakabeka that started in 2005. “We are focused on growing vegetables using methods that create beneficial habitats for our plants and their surroundings,” says Renata Weber, owner of Mile Hill Farms. Part of Mile Hill Farms commitment to healthier habitats is using practices that do not include chemicals, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or antibiotics and growth hormones.
Mile Hill Farms grows a variety of vegetables, including garlic, onion (both sweet and storage), beets, carrots, kale, herbs, beans and squash. If you were to walk around a local farmers’ market and only look at the produce being sold, you would recognize Mile Hill Farms table by their crisp bags of kale, neatly wrapped garlic scapes, aromatic garlic and gleaming root veggies.
Renata is a great advocate and source of information on how to grow and store your local food, but, even better, she is also knowledgeable about ways in which to use your fresh garden bounty!
Garlic Scape Pesto (using local garlic scapes/garlic, parsley and basil)
- 1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes) cut into 1/4-inch slices (or fresh garlic)
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup basil
- 1/3 cup walnuts/pine nuts (nut free option: toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
- 1/3 cup olive oil / or Brule Creek Canola Oil
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated parmigiano (if desired)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
Method: Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto.
For 1/2 pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.
If you’re looking for Mile Hill Farms produce, you can find them at the Thunder Bay Country Market (Wednesdays from 4:00-7:00 pm, Saturdays from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm), TBRHSC Fresh Market (Wednesdays from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm), Valley Fresh, Maltese, The Cheese Encounter and in some local restaurants. Additionally, if you want local vegetables throughout the cold winter months, Mile Hill Farms will have a storage vegetable order.
For more information about Mile Hill Farms, visit: www.milehillfarms.ca. Here you will find their storage vegetable order form and more information about their farm.