As one of Canada’s premiere growing regions, Niagara is a natural choice for foodies eager for an autumn road trip that’s overflowing with fall flavours. Whether you’re only able to escape for a few hours, can dedicate a whole day, or choose to stretch your trip into a two-day tasty trek, there’s no WRONG way to gather your fall haul in and around St. Catharines!
Here are three fun options:
Niagara Fall Haul Option #1
Express Route To The Freshest Fall Flavours
No time? No problem! All it takes is a quick visit to the St. Catharines Farmers Market to have access to a wide assortment of Niagara’s freshest fall fruits and vegetables, as well as pasture-raised and cured meats, cheeses, local preserves, baking and more. As most of the market’s fruit and vegetable vendors are MyPick Verified, shoppers can be confident that the produce they buy is grown on a Niagara farm and sold to them directly from the farmer.
The St. Catharines Farmers Market is open on Thursdays from 8 am to 2 pm and Saturdays from 7 am to 1 pm.
After stocking your trunk at the market, grab some coffee and a treat to enjoy on the drive back home. Great options close to the Farmers Market include Mahtay Café, Café Gatti, and Beechwood Doughnuts.
Niagara Fall Haul Option #2
A Full Day of Harvest Touring
Dedicating a whole day to exploring the St. Catharines area is a great way to get to know some of the area’s more off-the-radar farms and markets that locals rely on for the pick of the crop. Use the following itinerary as a starting point, but let the open roads inspire a few turns onto the road less travelled as well! Be sure to bring a cooler to fill along the way!
Stop #1: If you’re taking the Niagara-bound QEW into Niagara, Inn The Pines is located just off the Seventh Avenue exit on the north side of the highway. Browsing Cheryl and Barney’s roadside stand’s selection of freshly picked seasonal produce is the perfect way to kick off your adventure.
Stop #2: Make your way into Port Dalhousie for a quick caffeine kick at 416 Coffee’s Lock Street coffee window. If you’re feeling snacky, a Chimney Cake from Budapest Bakeshop, which is just a few shops down, is always a tasty idea. Take a stroll down the pier to stretch your legs before your next fall flavour destination.
Stop #3: Werner’s Fruit Farm, located not far from Port Dalhousie, is a great place to load up on crunchy local Honey Crisp and Gala apples.
Stop #4: If you’re visiting on a fall Thursday or Saturday, a browse through the St. Catharines Farmers Market is a must. If you’re visiting on another day of the week, swing into Harvest Barn, which offers a broad selection of fresh Ontario produce, frozen meals, fresh baking, and so much more, including the Hernder on 4th wine shop.
Stop #6: Make your final stop of the day a late lunch or early dinner at Rockway Vineyards Golf Course. After purchasing a few bottles of wine to take home, enjoy a meal of gastropub-style favourites with a spectacular fall view of the golf course and the vineyards at Windows on Rockway.
Niagara Fall Haul Option #3
A Tasty Overnight Escape
If time is on your side, stretch your fall gathering foray into a food-filled overnight getaway.
Stop #1: Arrive in Niagara in time for a relaxed lunch at Henry of Pelham’s new Short Hills Kitchen restaurant. Chef Erik Peacock’s delicious take on Niagara farm-to-table cuisine will give you a taste of all the fall flavours to come! After lunch, take time for a wine tasting and to browse the winery’s incredible collection of Canadian art.
Stop #2: Take a short, scenic drive through vineyards and fruit tree fields to Overholt Orchards Farmers Market and discover why Niagara locals love this place! You’ll find fall produce at its peak, and it’s also a great place to get a few bundles of firewood to take home if you’ve got a wood-burning fireplace or an outdoor firepit.
Stop #3: Lake Land Meats, located on the western outskirts of St. Catharines, is a great place to source local and naturally fed farm-raised meats as well as wild game and fish. You’ll also find farm-fresh eggs, garden-grown vegetables, and an interesting selection of preserves.
Stop #3: As you head into St. Catharines, pop into Maverick’s Donut Company on Fourth Avenue if it’s time for a mid-afternoon treat break. In addition to classics like Honey Glazed and Powered Sugar, you’ll find signature selections like Maple Bacon, vegan-friendly choices and fabulous fritters.
Stop #4: While in St. Catharines, be sure to make a stop at Niagara Food Company. While Niagara’s tender fruit season may be over, picking up a few frozen pies will allow you to enjoy Niagara’s sour cherries and peaches all winter long! The shop’s delicious frozen gourmet soups are another excellent option for bringing home a cozy taste of Niagara.
Stop #5: By this time, your trunk and cooler will probably be getting pretty full. If you’ve timed your trip right, take the afternoon to enjoy one of St. Catharines’ unique fall festivals, like the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival, Celebration of Nations, St. Catharines Culture Days, or the Cicada Music and Art Festival. Get more details about all of these events here. Other great options for afternoon activities include an autumn hike at Short Hills Provincial Park, a wine tasting and outdoor sculpture stroll at 13th Street Winery, or some craft beer tasting at a stop or two along the Niagara Ale Trail.
Stop #6: After checking in at a St. Catharines hotel, unwind for the evening over a meal made by a chef who works magic with Niagara-grown ingredients. Chef Andrew McLeod’s menu at Bolete Restaurant shifts regularly to reflect what’s in season in and around Niagara. Fat Rabbit, an exciting new addition to the Niagara food scene, sources produce from a variety of local farms for flavourful side dishes to accompany their incredible smoked meats.
Stop #7: Before heading home the next morning, enjoy a leisurely brunch at a St. Catharines spot with serious street cred! Read this article to discover a few off-the-radar gems!