Tasty trips to cider country




Grey County in southwestern Ontario produces almost 25% of the province’s apples. (Photo credit: T&K Ferri Orchards)


By Shannon Leahy
Vacay.ca Writer

GREY COUNTY, ONTARIO — Long before Gord Downie made “road apples” famous, apple farmers in southwestern Ontario’s Grey County grew an idea that’s become a national celebration. All those apple blossoms have flowered into the newest, tastiest booze trend around these days: hard cider. Forget Miller Time. Fall time is cider time so get a glass, grab a designated driver and savour Grey County’s fall flavours.

Eat Like Eve. The vegetarians are right. It’s best to meet your food first so make your first stop T&K Ferri Orchards in Clarksburg, just outside Thornbury. Grey County produces almost 25% of Ontario’s apples so this 22-acre family orchard is the perfect introduction to where apples – Honey Crisp, Mac, Mutsu, Ambrosia, Gala, Golden Delicious, Cortland – come from. Be sure to load up on a box of 100% pure “Grandad Jack’s” non-alcoholic sweet cider from the onsite Apple Market and bake shop. If you really want to eat from the tree of knowledge, wander among more than 58 000 apple trees and ask Tom Ferri about his old twisted “dinosaurs” swaying in Jurassic Park. If you’ve ever been inspired or touched by a family farm story, you’ll love the Ferri Family. Their roots run deep and bear deliciously wise, sweet fruit.

Drink Like Eve. Just down the road and over the hill in Kimberley (near Collingwood) is Beaver Valley Orchard and Cidery, one of the prettiest cideries in the county. Plan on spending at least a couple of hours here as you sip, sample and soak in the Beaver Valley fall colours. Co-founder John Mott jokes he’s the “black apple of the Motts (apple juice) family” although the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His son just opened Her Father’s Cider Bar in Toronto, Canada’s first cider-focused bar. Although cider is the fastest growing beverage category in Ontario, you won’t find John Mott’s spirited brew on shelves. Consider these ciders as exclusive as they are dry and delicious. If you want to drink up the spirits from small batches of Georgian Bay apples – Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Tolman Sweet, Snow and Wealthy – you’ll have to visit this kingdom of orchard in person.

Party Like Eve. Eve knew her apple was forbidden and suffered. The makers of Forbidden Dry Cider in Annan? Not so much. Created by a local Grey County surgeon and his thanatologist (death-studying) wife, Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery found its genesis in the mysterious grapes growing wild along the road to Owen Sound. As Grey County’s first vineyard, Coffin Ridge is fun, sophisticated and spooky. Deadly-looking crows and ravens sit perched on bottles of award-winning wines, like “Back from the Dead Red”, “Into the Light White” and “Resurrection Rosé”, that are displayed in tiny see-through coffins. The wine-and-cider tastings and tours are to die for; you can upgrade your experience by eating trays of local artisan breads and cheeses while eavesdropping on locals telling ghosts stories about nearby Coffin Hill, which overlooks the glistening blue waters of Georgian Bay.


Chef Shawn Adler’s The Flying Chestnut Kitchen (FCK) in Eugenia, Ontario, serves up giant Sunday-style supper platters featuring local Grey County produce and flavours. (Photo credit: Norm Beaver)

Get Sky-High Like Eve. The Owen Sound Regional Airport, more commonly referred to as Billy Bishop Airport, is a surprisingly busy place. The humble restaurant, Tilly’s Café and Bakery, is famous among locals and packed with smiling people who know where to find buttery apple pie and butter tarts made with bacon. Take an aerial tour with Owen Sound Flight Services located in the basement of the adorable tiny airport. Pilot “Jack” (don’t call her Jackie!) flies a four-seater Cessna 172 fashioned in vintage moss-green upholstery and sporting seat ashtrays from 1976. In under an hour you can fly over Coffin Ridge, Eugenia Falls (one of 10 waterfalls in Grey County), Thornbury Village Cidery and see where epic “icebergs” carved out the Beaver Valley millions of years ago. Ask Jack to point out where two of Grey County’s most famous and gracious chefs, Shawn Adler of The Flying Chestnut Kitchen in Eugenia and Andrew Barber of Andrew’s Roots Restaurant in downtown Meaford, serve up apple-inspired food, booze and schmooze. These boys will be the apple of your eye by the end of your meal and pilgrimage through the four-season garden called Grey County.


Address: www.visitgrey.ca
Toll Free: 1-877-SEE-GREY (733-4739)
Phone: 1-519-376-3265
General Inquiries: tourism@visitgrey.ca

Where to Eat, Drink and Be Merry in Grey County

T&K Ferri Orchards & Apple Market
496415 Grey Road 2
Clarksburg, Ontario
Closed Monday to Wednesday
Hours: Thursday to Sunday || 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. || Open early September to early December

Beaver Valley Orchard and Cidery
235853 Grey Road 13
Kimberley, Ontario
Closed Monday to Wednesday
Hours: Thursday to Sunday || 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.|| Open Mid-May to December 31st

Coffin Ridge Vineyard and Boutique Winery
599448 Concession 2 North
Annan, Ontario
519.371.9565 (to book year-round tours)
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. || Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fall and Winter Activities
Author readings are hosted throughout the fall season.
Sleeping vineyard snowshoe tours happen in February.
Tours and tastings are offered year-round upon appointment.

7:00am – 11:00am
11:00am – 2:00pm
6:00pm – 10:00pm

Tilly’s Café and Bakery
Owen Sound Regional Airport (Billy Bishop Airport)
R.R. # 8 Fire#203807
Owen Sound, Ontario
Winter hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. || Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Owen Sound Flight Services
Owen Sound Regional Airport (Billy Bishop Airport)
R.R. # 8 Fire#203807
Owen Sound, Ontario
Year-round and special fall colour tours || Flights range from 20 minutes to two hours

Waterfalls of Grey County
There are 10 waterfalls in Grey County and seven of them are accessible year-round. PDFs with maps and detailed descriptions are available, including where to rent hiking gear, snowshoes, etc.

Thornbury Village Cidery
Highway 26
Thornbury, Ontario
905-859-5464 or 1-877-965-0995
New tasting room and retail store opening winter 2016.

The Flying Chestnut Restaurant
199 Pellisier Street
Eugenia, Ontario
Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 5 p.m. to close || Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. || Reservations recommended

Andrew’s Roots Restaurant
82 Sykes St. North
Meaford, Ontario
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Hours: Wednesday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. || Friday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

More Good Grey Apples
For more information about where to find each and every good apple in Grey County visit applepietrail.ca.

The entire South Georgian Bay area was once home to renegades, rum runners and rule-breakers so the saintsandsinnerstrail.com is especially sweet when you’re an apple-loving Eve.


After earning her storytelling stripes around the family dinner table in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Shannon chased tall tales in Ireland, Japan & even Calgary. She founded Raystorm Communications, a writing & storytelling studio, shortly after escaping the Toronto publishing world. Shannon's office manager is a cat intent on telling his life story.

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