A Home on the Range – South Pond Farms
City Life Magazine heads east to South Pond Farms for a much-needed respite from the city.
South Pond Farms will make you feel like you’re in a daydream. Sprawling fields and hills of lush green can be seen from the top of Danielle French’s spiralling driveway, which paves the way to a barn in the centre of the property. There are high ceilings, sturdy wooden tables, mismatched vintage chairs and a chandelier, with light filtering in through slats of the barn’s dark wooden walls. The main door leads to a small, rock-laden outdoor pathway toward the backyard, which houses a pizza oven and an area for mingling. I catch myself wishing I had visited a place like this sooner to balance the busyness of city living.
French, who owns the farm, moved from Toronto to Pontypool, Ont., a decade ago with her daughters in search of a different life. Today, the small business that once provided prepared food hampers to guests has evolved into a charming summer getaway and wedding destination.
But the potential of South Pond Farms, located about an hour’s drive east of Toronto, doesn’t stop there, says French, a savvy businesswoman. She recently turned her attention to year-round workshops, which includes the floral arranging class I’m now participating in. Before us are baskets brimming with flowers picked from French’s garden earlier this morning, as well as green vases and canvases to decorate.
The workshop is followed by wood-fired pizza topped with honey and goat cheese, and a three-course lunch in the barn. The day’s menu includes chilled carrot and dill soup, fresh rosemary bread, ham and greens, and butter tarts — hands down the best I have ever tasted — all made on-site by chef Brian Forsythe. Most of what’s plated is also grown on the farm.
The peaceful setting helps everyone at the farm unwind. It gives us a chance to reconnect with nature as we breathe in fresh air untainted by the hustle and bustle of a city just far enough away. A farm like South Pond makes one feel at home.