Notes From The Road: Pedal to Plate Tour Entry 2 - Clear Skies, Playing with Knives, and Drinking Ciders

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Entry 2: Clear skies, playing with knives and drinking ciders

By: Amanda Lewis

Day 2

Wood-fire oven

Our first day waking up as a group!

The day before, we travelled to Norval Intentional Community at Norval United Church, about an hour's drive from Toronto, or four hours cycling. That evening we made dinner together, outlined our individual intentions for the tour, and defined some group mandates around safety and comfort. Some of us chose to sleep inside on the mattresses generously provided by our hosts, and some took advantage of the warm temperatures and clear skies and slept outdoors in tents.

The next morning, after a delicious breakfast of steel-cut oats (my favourite!), stewed zucchinis and apples that some intrepid team members foraged from the garden, our fearless food coordinator, Frank, gave us a workshop on knife skills. On the syllabus? Different ways to cut veggies, which knives to use for which tasks, where to source the best and most affordable knives in Toronto, and how to sharpen knives. We then rode about 20 km to Spirit Tree Estate Cidery, where we had a tour of the facilities and learned about how our unusual spring in 2012 affected the apple crops in that year and in the coming harvest. We also had a cider tasting and sampled breads made in their wood-fired oven. My favourite ciders were the non-alcoholic type and the Apelager, a mild, frothy cider with low alcohol content. A highlight of the trip to Spirit Tree was chatting with Tom, the apple farmer. He spoke about the challenges he and his family face as apple growers and cider brewers, and the red tape they have to go through regarding growing and processing their product in the same location. We're grateful to Tom and growers like him, as well as retailers and consumers, who are pushing for increased agricultural rights in Ontario.

We then rode back to Norval, where we made dinner and enjoyed more of the bounty of Spirit Tree. Lastly, Frank ground cacao beans supplied by Chocosol and mixed the grounds with maple syrup and almond/soy milk, and we enjoyed hot chocolate around a backyard bonfire! A perfect place to reflect on the day, and on the journey we're sharing together around bikes, food, and sustainability

Some more pics to make your mouth water!