Country road leads to long-lost high school buddy (11 photos)Monday, October 07, 2013 by: Donna Hopper
You never know who you might discover once you decide to explore your own back yard.
For SooToday.com, it was a long-lost high school buddy as we traveled through the autumn colours during the 18th annual St. Joseph Island Country Road Open House.
That's where we found Cheryl Alleway (nee Jones) perched amid a display of her first major literary endeavour, Of Blade and Valor, at the Jocelyn Hall along with merchandise from Heather and Shane Hoffman's St. Joseph Island Coffee Roasters, and Crista Wardell's Family Favourites.
Of Blade and Valor, which draws heavily on Alleway's connection to her Celtic roots, is available in hardcover, paperback, or Kindle editions here.
Alleway will also be part of Ontario Public Library Week at the Centennial Library (50 East Street) on Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. where she'll be available to meet and greet, and sign copies of her book.
The Good Mother was another stop on the St. Joseph Island Country Road Open House where we met David Chuipka, whose wife Sue carefully grows and blends specialty organic tea.
Even more impressive than Mr. Chuipka's spectacular moustache is the variety of tea available from The Good Mother, including chocolate mint, sweat pear, lime balm, orange mint, and camomile lavender to name a few.
After sampling a delicious lavender cookie, it was there that we decided to get a jump start on holiday shopping, purchasing an interesting array of tea as well as a jar of pineapple rum jam.
To find out more about The Good Mother and the products available from Sue and David Chuipka, contact them by phone at 705-246-0711, by email at email@example.com, or pay them a visit at 1607 Hilton Rd.
No excursion to St. Joseph Island would be complete without a visit to one of the many maple syrup producers that call the island home.
Carol and Brian Biggar began Biggar's Pure Maple Syrup Products as a retirement hobby in 2001 and now produce 300 gallons of the sweat stuff annually.
That's where we learned that it can take approximately 45 to 50 gallons of sap to produce a single gallon of maple syrup.
As a relatively small two-person operation, the Biggars are also proud to supply local sweet-toothed maple fanatics with maple butter, maple candy and maple sugar.
It's a long and careful process to produce maple syrup, and Carol Biggar told us the best way to keep it tasting its best is to refrigerate or freeze it once it's opened.
"It should keep indefinitely once opened and refrigerated, but I can't understand why anyone would ever want to keep it indefinitely," she laughed. "That's like having leftover dessert."
Biggar's Pure Maple Syrup Products is located at 2820 Highway 548 and may be reached by phone at 705-246-0394.
To finish off our tour, we paid a visit to the Double T Ranch where Linda Evoy introduced us to Morning Glory (or just Glory for short), an adorable and friendly huacaya alpaca.
You can visit them in person at 2441 A Line Road, or online here.
For more information about St. Joseph Island and what it has to offer, please click here.
Keep an eye open for details about the 2014 edition of the St. Joseph Island Country Road Open House which takes place annually the weekend prior to the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.