Trout, burgers and beer

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It was a great Monday morning, with the DRC crew, heading up north to Thorbury and Collingwood for some culinary adventure. We started the day off with a visit to Kolapore Springs Fishery in Kolapore Uplands of Southern ontario.  The un-touched environment allows them to raise their trout within a spring-fed farm.  We were greeted by Andre, farm manager of Kolapore Springs. This farm is one of its kind, they are situated at the end of a steady stream of spring water from one pond to another.  Water pumps are not needed in any way, everything works with the help of gravity.  Andre took us through each phase of the life cycle, from spawning all the way to a fish that we would get at the restaurant.  With the farm assist spamming, they are able to achieve 80% success rate, compared to 30% success rate in the wild.

Each of the trays contain approx 8000 fertilized eggs.  They stay in the tray for 4 months before going into one of the indoor ponds.  They get moved from pond to pond (indoor first than outdoor) as they are growing, until they are sold off to the market.

Next on the agenda is Grandview Farm, the reason why we choose to visit this farm is that Cluny Bistro actually use their beef for our burger meat.  Mission statement for Grandview farms – using traditional farming practices, optimizing animal welfare, and delivering best in class meat that is both nutritous, and delicious and raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones.  Bruce and Nathan raise their cattle with grass and druring their last month before being processed, they are boing fed with ontario apples, around 50lbs of apples a day!  They feel this method will give a different finish to their meat and yes it does!, the winner of 2014 gold plate used their farm’s short rib to win the competition.

our last stop is northwards Brewery, where they are known to use local ingredients for their kitchen as well as for their brewery.  Last time i heard of them was at bar Volo where they carry their one off autumn brew called Red Autumn, where they used local beets and local hops.  Too bad they were out of it, but we all were able to sample their burger, as they also get their burger meat from Grandview Farm.

All in all, it was an educational trip for all, special thanks for Stu for driving the cooks around.  I hope he enjoyed as much as we did.

           – Jacky Lo – Sous Chef, Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

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Having spent the majority of my childhood weekends on the slopes in the Jozo Weider Racing School, I was certain that I had explored all the ins and outs of the Blue Mountains. Much to my surprise, the most recent culinary excursion revealed yet another layer of Ontario’s natural wonders. Enter the Kolapore Trout Farm. We rolled into a bogged down piece of land shortly before 10am to see a property occupied by a single dilapidated shack. Andre, a managing partner of the hatchery, waddled out to greet us with a very familiar northern Ontario charm. He proceeded to give us a tour of the property, emphasizing the fact that the entire operation is built with the natural landscape in mind – each pond and tank is gravity-fed by a stream further upland. His passion and attention to detail in harvesting the tens of thousands of trout was both astonishing and inspiring. The highlight, both for Andre’s ego and my curiosity, was when he netted a tiger trout, a variety of the species I had never heard of. A hybrid between a speckled and a brown, the fish had beautiful golden scales with a bright orange marking on the underside. For a first timer, the morning at Kolapore was truly educational and memorable.
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Next up were the good folks at Grandview Farms. High up on the escarpment overlooking the blue waters of the bay, owner/operator Bruce took us on a tour to meet his cattle. Once a kingpin in the Bison market, Bruce has devoted his entire 75 acre plot to raising hormone and antibiotic-free cattle. He exudes pride when speaking of his Angus and Wagyu herd, often showing as much love as one would expect from a father speaking of his sons. His property features state of the art refrigeration facilities that would make any kitchen jealous, as well as a powerful containment apparatus that out very own Elijah can attest to.  In keeping with the tradition of northern hospitality, Bruce graciously donated 11 cases of assorted cuts for the cooks to bring home and practice their art with.
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The day was capped off with a pint of local brew and a delicious burger made from Grandview’s very own ground at a nearby brewpub, Northwinds. In all, an insightful and educational day filled laughter among friends.
– Stuart Kempston – AGM, Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

It was such good memorable experience first field trip. We learned how grow up farm raised fish step by step. We saw different types trout such as rainbow, brown and tiger which I have never seen before. We went Grandview farms. I learned what is different looking between wagyu and black angus. We heard story about farm, what they feed and what they raised before and now.

We got some free tasting package as a gift. We went Northwids Brewry and eatery. We had a buger, they use the Grandview farm ground beef. We also tasted really good house beer which was the best. Thank you very much Chef for giving us great knowledgeable and fun experience.

– Danny Chae – Jr. Sous Chef, Pure Spirits Oyster House

I just have to take a moment and say what an amazing opportunity this is that your giving the cooks in this company. I have worked for restaurants in the past that do staff outings to visit suppliers and the staff always leave engaged and very motivated. sometimes as cooks it is easy to lose the connection to where exactly our products are coming from and who is producing them. I think I speak for everyone involved in saying that these experiences not only reconnect us with why we do what we do but also a new respect for the people who dedicate their lives to supplying us the best possible products to work with. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of it!

– Reid Walton – Jr. Sous Chef, El Catrin Destileria

It was my first time going to a trout farm, and was amazed to see how many fish can be housed in an operation about the same size of Cluny; fish the size of an inch to 8 lbs trout. We then went to Grandview Farms in Collingwood which is Clunys ground beef supplier, and ate at Northwinds restaurant, also in Collingwood. Northwinds also sources beef from Grandview Farms, and it was great to see local businesses supporting each other.

– Steve Hoang – Apprentice Chef, Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

….All in all the trip was great, so much to learn and it was nice to get out of the city and actually see the start of what makes it to our plate.  Looking forward to our next trip.

– Everald Nembhard – Line Cook, Pure Spirits Oyster House

Hello Chef Miles.
Monday’s field trip was yet again an amazing experience.

Visiting the hatchery had my like a kid in a candy store because I grew up in the Ontario streams fishing for the very same speckled, brown and rainbow trout Andre and his colleagues were raising. And I could only dream of pulling one of the 10lb hogs out of the river like he had there.
It was great to hear how fish from different areas as well as times of year would have a different flavours imparted due to water levels, temperature, acidity and types of food. Much respect goes out to people like Andre because it’s people like him that are keeping sport fishing alive for generations to come.

Also visiting the farm where our ground burger meat comes from, I saw the great lengths they took to produce an elite grass fed Wagu beef. Finished with apples to impart a sweet flavour and allow for the build up of intramuscular fat too take place. In term providing a quality up to the likes of prime select! This is an amazing thing and could have a huge impact on how the consumer receives and appreciates grass fed beef. Which I feel would change the way beef is raised in the future.
Chef I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for allowing these field trips and hands on learning opportunities to continue.

Thanks sincerely,

– Michael Stafford – Line Cook, Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

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