Our parents would eagerly purchase said delights, while dishing out a talk on the positive attributes of fresh local food. While times and shopping experiences have changed, venture just outside the Barrie city limits, along Horseshoe Valley road, and that sweet memory comes to life in modern format when you discover Nicholyn Farms.
Patrons of the year round Barrie farmers market will be familiar with Nicholyn farms; every weekend you will find their well-stocked booth with the griddle sizzling, cooking tender back bacon for sandwiches.
Nicholyn Farms is a multi-generational family run business, and has been for over 30 years. Owners Lynda and Nicholas Van Casteren proudly provide customers with a tremendous variety of home grown, locally produced, harvested, grazed and raised food items in their thoroughly modern, pleasure to shop in grocery store. There is also an onsite bakery and a fully certified kitchen.
Fridges and shelves are full to brimming with fresh produce, tempting baked goods, jams, jellies and condiments, both Nicholyn farm made and locally sourced by other likeminded producers. Quality craft items, bird seed and feeders, an abundance of delights, make this a one stop shop for items local.
There is a large selection of prepared foods, in single serving and family sizes.
Knowledgeable and friendly staff will expertly advise patrons who have specialized dietary needs. Nicholyn Farms stocks a wide selection of gluten free items too.
Glass bottles of milk, with rich cream on top and the best darned chocolate milk around are reminders of how food aficionados are embracing the classics.
Open 7 days a week, shopping at Nicholyn Farms is an adventure into the world of good local food.
Great signage, aesthetically pleasing and informative, lines the walls. Nicholyn has fostered partnerships with likeminded local producers, assuring that the variety of produce and products is extensive and they continually enhance their product development.
A quaint touch for the little ones are the kids sized carts, follow along the zigzag of freezers, which contain an abundant variety of meats, fish , poultry and quality prepared foods. The ABC’s of meat are available, both traditional and game, including; beef, buffalo, chicken, elk, fish, lamb, pork, rabbit, quail, turkey, veal, venison, and wild boar.
Nicholyn Farms was recently honoured with the “Leaders in Innovation Award” by Premier Dalton McGuinty, for their timely introduction of tasty and nutritious, child friendly, well-balanced hot lunches for local area schools.
I spent a few hours talking with Lynda, sipping tea, talking food. Her pride and commitment to quality is clearly evident, it was a joy to interview her.
Packed into a Nicholyn insulated grocery bag was a well-chosen sampling of items to try. Lynda created a take home multi course meal, combining some of Nicholyn’s own products with items grown or made by local producers they stock. Darling daughter and I started our meal with chicken steak roll, when thinly sliced and served with fresh baked bread, this makes a tasty appetizer. Next up was a hearty bean soup. An organic green salad tossed with house brand, Honey mustard dressing, and Pinehouse Farms heritage carrots were the veggie accompaniment, for the tender pork tenderloin, which Lynda had recommended I season with Nicholyn’s own salsa. We finished this feast, with their apple cranberry pie. Included also, but saved for another meal were Best Perogies and a new Nicholyn product, pulled beef. Both of these items were given full forks up for taste too!
I encourage you to take the drive to Nicholyn Farms, explore this treasure trove of good food, while supporting local farmers and producers.
Guaranteed, as their logo states, you will “fall in love with healthy food”.
3088 Horseshoe Valley Rd W, Phelpston, ON, L0L 2K0
Written by: Penelope Morrow
Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow