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Fresh fall feast

Festival celebrates 20 years with a tasty–and garbage-free–event Sept. 13

LOOKS DELICIOUS: The Feast of Fields Festival showcases organic food and drink at Kortright Sept. 13. Above, chef Jonathan Gushue and some tasty treats. (Courtesy Barb and Ron Kroll)

WOODBRIDGE – With summer drawing to a close, there’s no better time to celebrate the organic bounty grown on Ontario’s farms.

The 20th annual Feast of Fields returns to the Kortright Centre for Conservation Sunday after more than a decade. The event is a showcase of organic food and drink, this year featuring 40 chefs, about 20 or so wineries and breweries, and a farmers’ market.

“We try to set it up so that every time we do it, it’s fresh,” says Daniel Gilbert, co-founder and chair of the event. “Every year, new chefs come on board. The food is always exciting because it’s never the same.”

The event started small 20 years ago as a way to connect chefs wanting organic ingredients with the farmers who grew them, says Gilbert, owner and chef of Daniel’s of Nobleton.

“The farmers wanted to sell to the chefs, the chefs wanted to buy from the farmers but they didn’t know who each other were,” he says. “The concept was to get them together and introduce them in a relaxed kind of fun way.”

In its second year, Feast of Fields welcomed the public. It’s grown since then into a celebration of the harvest, Gilbert says.

Visitors to this year’s event will be greeted with a wine glass, a napkin and a bag containing a subscription to Harrowsmith Country Life magazine and a copy of the Feast of Fields 20th anniversary cookbook, the cover of which was designed by Kleinburg area folk artist Mary Scattergood.

Celebrated chef and event co-founder Jamie Kennedy will be on hand cooking up a storm and mingling with guests. Celebrity TV chef Michael Smith is also set to appear.

One of the goals of this year’s event is leave as small a footprint as possible, Gilbert says.

“Everything (guests) will be eating from the food side will all be organic and it will all be prepared and served in very interesting ways because this is a no-garbage event,” he says. “At the end of the day, our goal is to produce zero garbage.”

Feast of Fields will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 13 at Kortright, 9550 Pine Valley Dr. in Woodbridge. Tickets are $100 each or $90 each for a group of 10 or more, and can be purchased online at or by phone at 905-859-3609. Funds raised will be donated to the University of Guelph’s organic agriculture department.

“Most chefs are choosing organic not because of the health benefits,” Gilbert says. “The main reason is the taste.”

Vaughan Today
In print: September 11, 2009, page 2
Online: September 11, 2009 [link]