By Danielle French

Time for Some Downtime

Finally, it seems that there is some time to unwind. People ask us what we do during the winter and honestly, this has been the busiest winter I can remember. There are so many details to work out for brides and grooms planning their weddings this year, then Snow Day last weekend and planning new events for the summer. It’s going to be another busy year!

The girls and I always take a break together during the winter. It’s a time for us to just get away and leave the pressures of school and the farm for a few days. We decided to try something different this year—we’re leaving in February so Carlyle could come with us on her university reading week. We also decided to go south, somewhere warm where there are no fires to tend, no wood to haul, no snow to shovel and no animals to tend. It’s a luxury for us, but not so much for Amy, who is left at the helm. I’m sure she never thought it would come to this when she decided to join us at South Pond!

There needs to be a time to reflect on the season past and what is to come, to be inspired and think through new ideas. Plan the gardens. Try out new recipes and refine menus for the year. Think of ways to decorate and add new, beautiful touches here and there in the barn and outside. As I admire the tropical gardens and the ocean ahead here where it’s warm, I appreciate even more all that we have in Ontario: four seasons, an abundance of clean water, and an array of vegetables. Amy said she was getting hungry reading the menu planned for this summer and I’m looking forward to ordering seeds and getting things in the ground.
Here’s a great way to try out something healthy and anticipate the summer that’s not too far away, honest. This recipe is perfect if you have some pesto or fresh basil preserved in your freezer! It makes a great Friday night appetizer or a lazy warm-weather lunch.

Summer Pitas

4 pita breads or naan
1/4 cup olive oil
Fresh basil (If you can’t find fresh or don’t have any frozen, you can omit it or use a bit of dried)
2 garlic cloves
soft goat cheese or parmesan
baby spinach
pinch of coarse salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Mince the garlic and basil and mix with the olive oil. Spread on top of the pita bread. Sprinkle with cheese; heap spinach on top. Add a few drops of olive oil on top of the spinach and put in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted and the edges are brown. Cut each pita into 8 slices and serve on as is or with of olives, cheeses, and salami on the side.

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Danielle French - Ash Naylor Photography

About Danielle

Looking for a simpler way of life for her four daughters and herself, Danielle moved from Toronto to this farm in the Bethany Hills of Southern Ontario, and over time together with her family and her partner Shawn, restored the barn, the iconic heritage silo and the land.

Danielle loves to create unique settings and menus for the many events she offers at South Pond Farms, such as authentic farm-to-table gatherings, bread-making workshops, culinary classes, and weddings. Danielle’s vision is to inspire others to share her vision of a traditional life and way of cooking and to feel the sense of history on this beautiful land.  

Danielle was also the host of a television series called Taste of the Country

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