Spotlight on the Niagara Brewing Company

NFHblog3.jpegWine enthusiasts the world over have been taking notice of the Niagara Peninsula for over three decades now thanks to the region’s remarkable wine makers and grape-friendly terroir. It’s a trend that seems to show no sign of slowing as, every year; more and more people realize that Niagara wine is some of the finest in the world.

This emphasis on wine and wine culture can sometimes make the beer enthusiast on vacation to Niagara wonder if there’s anything of merit regarding his or her alcohol of choice. The answer is a resounding, “Yes.” While craft beer brewing is relatively new to the Niagara scene, the results are nevertheless worthy of drinking and praise. Throughout the region, beermakers of all kinds are flexing their muscle and honing their craft, and the Niagara Brewing Company is one of the finest.

The Brewer

Located less than a half mile from the waterfalls, the Niagara Brewing Company finally opened their doors in June of 2015. Located at the site of the former Foxhead Inn, Niagara Brewing Company started in order to fulfill a quest to create daring and memorable beers. And to accomplish that goal, they’ve put a veteran brewer in charge of their brewing operations.

Gord Slater has been working in breweries and brewpubs for over 30 years across all of North America. Seen by many as the founder of Ontario’s craft brewing scene, he was actually one of the people who, in 1984, led the charge to convince the government to move forward with legislation that would legalize brewpubs in the province. Since that time, he has crafted numerous recipes, the most notable in his mind? A hopped German lager that won Best of Show at a beer show in Germany. He brings all that expertise to bear on his efforts at the Niagara Brewing Company.

nfhblog4.jpegThe Beer

The Niagara Brewing Company routinely makes one-of-a-kind beers, but their staples also shine. The Beerdevil IPA honors the daredevils of Niagara Falls with a flavor that is not for the faint of heart. Hoppy and malty, it’s well-balanced, but also just a little bit off its rocker. The Amber Eh? Ale is a traditional ale that’s light and toasty with just a hint of hops. The Niagara Premium Lager is exactly what you’d expect from a smooth, clean, and crisp lager, but it gains just enough specificity from its slight sweetness and hint of citrus.

Beer on Ice

Another great thing about the Niagara Brewing Company is they don’t content themselves with simply conducting business as usual. Beer on Ice, a beer-centered event slated to take place on February 5th, couples Niagara icewine with specialty chocolate beers crafted for the event by Gord Slater. For anyone who loves beer or wine — or both — it promises to be an evening unlike any other. Guests can meet Gord Slater, and, in addition to tasting the brews, they can also enjoy food pairings selected exclusively for the event.

Beer may not yet be as synonymous with Niagara as wine, but with the help of breweries like Niagara Brewing Company, it soon will be. So the next time you come to Niagara, be sure to spend some time exploring the taps.


4 Lesser-Known Niagara Museums Perfect for Low-Key Afternoons

NFHBlog7.jpegAs any local or regular visitor to Niagara can tell you, the place is full of entertainment options. Arcades, nature hikes, bird watching, musical theater, indoor water parks, concerts, and more— from sun-up to long past sun-down, there really is always plenty of fun to be had. In fact, there’s so much fun to be had in Niagara that it’s hard to keep track of all of it — especially when what you need is something to do on a low-key afternoon.

If you’re planning a trip to Niagara in the next little while, and you’d like to partake of some of the lesser-known entertainment options so as to not exert too much energy before nightfall, here is a closer look at four museums that are sure to delight.

The Wedding Museum

Since Niagara Falls is known as the Honeymoon Capitol of the World, it’s only fitting that a wedding museum should also exist within its city limits. Visitors will enjoy looking over wedding dresses and tuxedos that reach from the present day all the back into the 1870s. In addition to wedding attire, there is a large collection of other women’s and men’s clothing dating back into the 1830s. The Wedding Museum is also the home to an impressive hat collection that spans almost two centuries, and many of these pieces are on display, too.

Lundy’s Lane Historical Museum

NFHBlog8.jpegLocated in a historic two-story limestone building that’s almost 150 years old, the Lundy’s Lane Historical Museum marks and commemorates the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, the Battle of Chippawa, and the War of 1812 overall. An expansive collection of artifacts related to the time and the war is housed in the museum, including numerous rare prints of Niagara Falls over the years. Open to curious visitors and researchers alike, the museum offers hours throughout the year in an attempt to keep the history of the region — and the early 19th-century war that affected it so greatly — alive. The museum also includes artifacts and displays related to the African Experience in Niagara Falls, as the region was an important stopping point for escaped slaves from the United States before the Civil War.

The Willoughby Historical Museum

While it’s only open to tours during the offseason by appointment, a visit to the Willoughby Historical Museum will afford you a chance to see artifacts from around the region, as well as insight into what life would have been like a hundred years earlier in Willoughby and Chippawa when Canadians lived a much more rural existence. In addition to preserving history, the museum also houses genealogical records that reach back generations. For anyone with ancestry local to the area, it’s a fascinating and unparalleled resource.

The Battleground Hotel Museum

Another museum to mark the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, the Hotel Museum sits on top of a portion of the Lundy’s Lane battlefield directly across from the Drummond Hill Cemetery, where some of the worst fighting of the War of 1812 occurred. Visits to this museum are guided and include tours of rooms that look much the same way a tavern would have looked back in the early 19th century. Open daily from May until November, visitors during the winter months are still able to book a tour through appointment.

Whether you love exploring more of the region’s history or you’re just looking for a lazy and interesting way to spend an afternoon, these four museums offer a unique look into one of the world’s most fascinating regions.


It’s the Holidays! Here’s Some of the Best Fudge in Niagara

NFHBlog5.jpegNiagara Falls is known for many wonderful things and deservedly so. From the waterfalls that made the region famous to the world-class and award-winning wineries and vineyards that fill the countryside in and around it, any visit to Niagara Falls is bound to include unforgettable experiences. While it may seem improbable to the uninitiated in the ways of decadent fudge, Niagara’s fudge shops are just one more reason to love the place. Rich, creamy, and easy to find, here is a look at some of the best fudge in Niagara, just in time to help you get your fix this holiday season.

Swiss Fudge

A favorite since it opened in 1966, Swiss Fudge is located in the Fallsview Casino Resort and boasts swoon-worthy fudge, gifts, chocolate, and more. Known for using only the finest ingredients to make their world-famous fudge, everything they use, from the butter and cream to the chocolate and nuts is always premium. All their fudge is made according to the traditional method, too: heated on cast iron stoves in copper kettles before being spread out to cool on marble. Some of the most popular flavors include:

  • Canadian Maple
  • Irish Cream
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Oreo
  • Double Chocolate
  • And more!

Fudge Factory

NFHBlog6.jpegLocated on Clifton Hill, the Fudge Factory features over 20 different flavors of gourmet fudge, all of it made fresh, right there. They also have a Candy Bar that allows you to purchase over 50 different types of candy and chocolate in bulk and at bulk-rate prices, which means you won’t have to choose between satisfying your craving for delicious fudge and your craving for Sour Soothers. Perhaps the best thing about the Fudge Factory is the fact that it’s open every day of the year, and during the busy season from June to September, they don’t close down until 1 a.m.

Reg’s Candy Kitchen

Situated in the Rainbow Bridge Plaza, Reg’s Candy Kitchen has been wowing visitors to Niagara with delicious fudge since 1967. Homemade by Reg Wall, the fudge at Reg’s is always creamy, rich, and sweet — just like their famous peanut brittle — and all of it is made on-site at the Candy Kitchen through a traditional process that can be watched when you stop by to visit. 15 flavors are always available, including:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate Walnut
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Rocky Road
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate Pecan
  • And more!

Ye Olde Fudge Pot

Since 1976 the Smith family has been crafting and selling fudge at festivals, fairs, craft shows, and events all across the Niagara region and Canada. All-natural ingredients and traditional fudge-making practices make sure the fudge at Ye Olde Fudge Pot is some of the best you’ll ever taste. The next time you catch an event or fair in the Niagara region, be on the lookout for the Smith family’s fudge, since they’ll likely be in attendance.

So, come up to Niagara and fill up on fudge this holiday season — it’s just one more reason to love visiting no matter what time of year it is.


The Best Niagara Wines to Serve With a Turkey Dinner

NFHBlog1.jpegAll across Canada, the United States, and throughout much of the world, families and friends will soon gather to celebrate and mark another holiday season. In between catching up with one another, opening presents, and taking long and treasured walks down memory lane, the activity that’s bound to receive the most preparation and attention is definitely holiday eating. While every get-together will have its own spin on the classics, whether you’re indulging in latkes or Christmas cookies, one solid standby that will appear on almost every holiday table is roast turkey. This year, let that bird shine, by pairing it with a perfectly chosen glass of Niagara Peninsula wine.

Regardless of how you feel about wine the rest of the year, if you’re planning to head up to Niagara around the holidays, take some time out to shop for a handful of wines that will make your holiday turkey even tastier. From a subtle pinot noir to a lively riesling, here are some pairing suggestions you can only find in the Niagara Peninsula.

Pinot Noir

A good pinot noir is a great choice for turkey, especially if red wine is the go-to preference of the family and friends with whom you’ll be dining for your holiday meal. Higher in acid and lower in tannins than other reds, a pinot noir won’t overshadow the flavors in poultry the way a more tannic wine like a cabernet sauvignon would. Also, a pinot noir pairs well with traditional side dishes like potatoes and gravy and a rich, herby stuffing. Some great Niagara pinot noirs can be purchased from the following wineries:

  • Flat Rock Cellars
  • Five Rows Craft Winery
  • Inniskillin

Riesling

NFHBlog2.jpegA little bit of sugar can be a great help with the saltiness that often accompanies a holiday meal, and a crisp and off-dry riesling is often seen as turkey’s best companion. Especially if you can find something that has a bit of fruit it in, a riesling can sit next to turkey as well as the finest of cranberry sauces. Some of the best rieslings in the Niagara Peninsula come from the following wineries:

  • Cateau des Charmes
  • Flat Rock Cellars
  • Thirty Bench
  • Ravine Winery

Red Zinfandel

Zinfandels can be a little tricky to find, which is a shame, because as far as holiday turkey pairings go, they’re a great dry choice. Lush, fruity, deep without being heavy, a good red zinfandel (or a blend that includes the grape) can work well with both turkey and the cheese plate that precedes dinner. Look for a zinfandel that has a little higher alcohol content, as those tend to be a bit more complex. A couple Niagara Peninsula vineyards and wineries that can be counted on to produce these wines include:

  • Reif Estate Winery
  • Inniskillin

Make the most of your trip to Niagara this holiday season. While you’re taking in the sights and sounds, be sure to stop in at some of the region’s award-winning wineries and grab a bottle of wine or two to enjoy with loved ones while you indulge in a turkey dinner.


For Cheese Lovers Only: What You Need to Know About the Upper Canada Cheese Company

image001For the average eater of cheese, cheddar is cheddar and a gouda is indistinguishable from provolone. To the cheese lover, however, there are worlds of difference to be experienced even within the same variety of cheese. No two gorgonzolas or comtes are alike given the fact that everything from where the cheese was made to how long it was aged can all heavily influence a cheese’s outcome.

For a while now, the Niagara region has been a destination for oenophiles, but increasingly, cheese fans are finding the place a wealth of flavor as well. The artisanal cheese scene is flourishing in the Niagara Peninsula, and here is a look at one of the area’s crown jewels: the Upper Canada Cheese Company.

Origins

Founded and built by Wayne Philbrick, the Upper Canada Cheese Company got its start when Philbrick’s summer travels though Quebec awakened his interest in artisanal cheese. A construction contractor who had also tried his hand at winemaking, ever since that summer trip, Philbrick has been gung-ho over cheese. He has undergone extensive training as a cheesemaker, and, today, his cheese shop not only sells the two artisanal cheeses they produce in-house, but the Upper Canada Cheese Company’s store also features scores of products from local and international makers, making it a great stop for visitors to the Niagara region who want to know more about the foods, wares, and cheeses produced in Niagara and throughout Ontario.

The Cheese

The skilled and careful cheese makers at the Upper Canada Cheese Company make two types of cheese, and they are both of the semi-soft variety. One is called Comfort Cream, and it is remarkably similar to a French Camembert. The other is called Niagara Gold, and it is based on a type of cheese made by Trappist monks in France’s Loire Valley. Occasionally, a ricotta cheese is also made and sold.

The Milk

image003Behind the excellent cheese and craftsmanship of the Upper Canada Cheese Company is the milk that’s used to make their cheeses. Only milk from Guernsey cows is used, and the ones that supply the Upper Canada Cheese Company come from the herd that resides at the Comfort Family Farm. Guernsey cows are rare — there are only six Guernsey herd in all of Canada — and they are known for producing a golden milk that’s higher in butterfat and, therefore, richer in flavor. They also enjoy a storied history that reaches back into the 10th century onto a small island in the English Channel called the Isle of Guernsey.

Bred there by militant monks charged with keeping pirates at bay, the Guernsey line developed from two French cattle breeds: Norman Brindles and Froment du Leons. First introduced to the Americas in 1840, the Guernsey line became a part of the Canadian landscape when a bull and two heifers were brought into the country in the middle of the 19th century.

For anyone who delights in cheese, a stop at the Upper Canada Cheese Company is a must. They are located in Jordan Station — just a short 20-minute drive from Niagara Falls — and are open seven days a week.


3 Reasons to Spend the First Weekend of December in Niagara

image001Whether you’re at work or going back to graduate school, autumn can be a very busy and hectic time, as the easy, breezy skin of summer’s lull is finally and fully stripped away. Add the holiday squeeze of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s to that, and the months of November and December can begin to feel downright overwhelming for some of us.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, the continual press of obligations that accompany the holiday season can make getting away from it all a boon to your attitude and energy level. If you’re dreading the holiday rush, here are three reasons to spend the first weekend of December getting away from it all in Niagara.

1. Heritage Farmhouse Christmas

Held at the esteemed restaurant, Windows by Jamie Kennedy, the Heritage Farmhouse Christmas Dinner is an event that looks deep into the past in order to bring diners an experience of Christmas dinner similar to what would have been commonplace 100 years ago. Held on Friday, December 4, the evening begins with a cocktail reception that includes canapés and wine and the company of Chef Jamie Kennedy and Chef Jay Jackson. Following the cocktail hour, guests will move into the Windows dining room, which features one of the best views of the waterfalls in all of Niagara for a five-course meal your great-great grandmother would have been proud to serve. Each course is paired with wine from Colaneri Estate Winery. Tickets are $125 per person.

2. Christmas on Ice

Whether or not you’ve always been a fan of figure skating, the Fallsview Casino’s Christmas on Ice will give you ample opportunity to marvel at the beauty and grace of numerous national champion ice skaters. The holiday-themed program is perfect for families, couples, or friends looking for a delightful way to spend an evening where athletic prowess and sentiment combine. There are shows at 9 p.m. on December 4 and 5 and at 3 p.m. on December 5 and 6 so that almost any schedule can be accommodated.

3. Port Colborne’s Annual Lighted Santa Claus Parade

image003Unlike most parades, the Port Colborne Annual Lighted Santa Claus Parade takes place in the evening, which transforms the seemingly commonplace experience of attending a parade into a magical experience that’s perfect for the holiday season. Head to Port Colborne on December 5 by 5:30 p.m. to get a good spot, and bring along some hot cocoa or cider, as well as some non-perishable canned goods if you’d like — the Port Colborne Optimist Club will be collecting them along the parade route. The parade gets underway by 6:30 p.m., and after it’s over, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy Port Colborne’s charming downtown. Grab a bite of international and Asian-inspired fare at The Smokin’ Buddha after the parade, or, if you get to town early enough, grab a fresh fish lunch or afternoon snack at Minor Fisheries.

The Niagara region is bursting with good fun and easy relaxation all winter long. Get away from it all before it all overwhelms you by scheduling a relaxing holiday trip to Niagara for the first weekend in December.


3 Places to Continue Your Yoga Practice When You Visit Niagara Falls

image001Whether you’re a serious student of yoga or just beginning what you hope will be a life-long practice, going on vacation can throw a wrench into the spokes of your well-meaning routine. After all, isn’t that why we go on vacation in the first place? To rest from our labors, reawaken our delight in the uncommon, and jolt ourselves out of our habitual endeavors? Unlike many of the habits of daily life, however, yoga isn’t something that clouds our vision or adds stress. Instead, it brings the practitioner more fully into the present, which actually makes it the perfect companion to a vacation.

Don’t forego your yoga just because you’re on vacation. Come to Niagara Falls where you can have your cake and eat it, too. You won’t have to miss a beat with your yoga practice thanks to these three fantastic yoga studios.

1. Niagara Falls Yoga Center

Situated in the center of town on Lundy’s Lane, the Niagara Falls Yoga Center has classes for almost every skill level and interest. Unlike some centers that either feel like they’re housed in a gym — or actually are housed in a gym — the Niagara Falls Yoga Center feels like a home or retreat center, which makes it an ideal space to practice yoga away from what you’re used to. From beginner yoga to Vinyasa and restorative classes, there is plenty to choose from each and every day. Purchase a package of five if you’ll be in town for a week, buy a single class when you walk-in, or plan your trip to coincide with a special workshop, such as the “Backbends and Heart Opening” workshop that’s taking place on November 18.

2. Shine On Yoga

image003A teacher who found her way to yoga first via the practice of Kundalini Yoga, Diane Manjeet Herring opened Shine On Yoga in Niagara Falls in 2011. A deep interest in yoga as therapy has driven and continues to drive her practice and instruction, and she is a tireless advocate of yoga for everyone, regardless of age, income, or ability. Especially if you’re new to the practice or have worried about past injuries or limitations, taking a class at Shine On while you’re vacationing is a great idea. The yoga studio is beautiful and welcoming, and a wide variety of different types of yoga classes are available. Shine On Yoga also offers a free yoga class for the community and visitors now and again at the Niagara Falls Museum.

3. Leela

A yoga studio and massage center, Leela is a great place to take in a yoga class if you want that class to culminate in a relaxing and restorative massage. Centrally located, Leela offers classes on eight- and six-week course schedules, but anyone is welcome to drop-in at any time. While their schedule doesn’t offer as many class options as the other two, the studio is smaller, which, can help a newcomer feel more at ease. Especially if you’d like your yoga practice to double as a spa day, Leela is ideal.

Keep up with your yoga practice over vacation. Head to Niagara Falls, and take advantage of these three great yoga studios.


3 Reasons to Celebrate (American) Thanksgiving in Niagara Falls

image001For many people, the holidays are often more stressful than fun, prompting many to take to the roads and skies in search of destinations where fun can be had without any feelings of accompanying obligation. However, especially for Americans who have only a short four-day weekend with which to mark their gratitude at Thanksgiving every November, getting out of town is often more trouble than it’s worth. But if you don’t venture too far out of the way, Thanksgiving can be a great holiday to experience in a new location.

Niagara Falls is an ideal place to celebrate American Thanksgiving. Not only will it not include Aunt Sally’s Jello® mold, but it will include plenty of ease in a location that’s a cinch to get to and a cinch to enjoy. From the Winter Festival of Lights to the excellent food that isn’t turkey, here are three reasons to head to Niagara Falls to celebrate Thanksgiving this November.

1. The Winter Festival of Lights

The Winter Festival of Lights is one of Canada’s most impressive festivals, and it kicks off on November 21. Over a million people pass through the illumination between November and the end of January each year. Set along a three-mile route that includes portions of the Niagara Parks, tourist districts, and Dufferin Islands, the Winter Festival of Lights includes millions of lights, stunning lighted displays, and the world’s largest illuminated American-Canadian flag. There is no charge to drive or walk through the illumination, although donations are gratefully accepted to offset the cost. It’s certainly an experience that can’t be had on Thanksgiving in the United States.

2. There’s So Much More Than Turkey

image003Eating in the Niagara region is one of the highlights of any knowledgeable foodie tourist. The farm to table movement is alive and well in the Niagara area, which means there is plenty of local, delicious produce available for area chefs to work with — even in November. Regardless of what you like to eat, you can find an entirely new Thanksgiving menu to enjoy when you spend your last Thursday of November in Niagara. Skip the cranberry sauce, the dressing, and the turkey, and choose one of the area’s award-winning, farm-centered restaurants instead — many of which are located at area wineries, including:

  • Riverbend Inn
  • Trius Inn at Hildebrand
  • Treadwell
  • Peller Estates Winery
  • Ravine Vineyard
  • And more!

3. No Pressure

Perhaps the greatest reason to travel to Niagara for your American Thanksgiving this year is due to the delightful lack of pressure you’ll experience throughout your stay. Whether you travel with family, a good friend, or alone, Niagara has a wealth of fun to offer, and none of it includes any expectations. Take in a show. Go to a movie. Eat poutine every day for lunch. Visit a giant indoor waterpark. Head to an arcade or casino. Wander among vineyards plump with grapes that will be harvested for icewine. Niagara is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the world around you.

Spend your American Thanksgiving holiday in one of the most beautiful and entertaining destinations in the world. Head to Niagara Falls, and find yourself truly giving thanks.


How to Drink Beer in Niagara Falls

image001Summer is great for fruity frozen drinks; winter needs deep, warming cocktails; but autumn is indubitably the beer season. Fortunately, Niagara Falls is an excellent destination for a beer-cation, especially during September and October when the regional hops fields are being harvested and the local brewers are hard at work fermenting new ales and lagers. This year, you shouldn’t bother trying to scrounge up tickets to Belgium or Germany — Oktoberfest is happening right here in Niagara Falls.

Old Falls Street Oktoberfest

For the sixth year in a row, Niagara Falls, New York is celebrating Oktoberfest in a big way on Old Falls Street, the main thoroughfare of the American side. All along the street, visitors can fill up their steins with new brews and old favorites — as well as a smattering of delicious regional wines. There will also be familiar German foods on offer: bratwurst, pretzels, apple strudel, and more. Throughout the day, you can drink and dine while listening to live entertainment from the Bergholz German Band, the German-American Musicians, and the Edelweiss Dancers; plus, there will be a number of festive street vendors to explore and enjoy. You can even bring your kids, who will stay busy at the petting zoo, bounce house, and arts and crafts tent.

The Old Falls Street Oktoberfest occurs on the afternoon of Saturday, October 3, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free, but you definitely don’t want to come without a generous budget for beer.

Niagara Brewing Company Oktoberfest

On the other side of the border, the brand-new (and highly rated) Niagara Brewing Company is hosting this year’s Canadian Oktoberfest. Drawing inspiration from the traditional Bavarian celebration, the brewery is offering premium, German-style beers expertly paired with authentic German cuisine. Brewmaster Gord Slater, the genius behind the magnificent tastes at Niagara Brewing Co, will be attending the affair, providing insight and answering questions about brewing and beer. True beer aficionados are likely to revere this Oktoberfest event.

The Niagara Brewing Company Oktoberfest is scheduled for Friday, October 16. Tickets to the dinner (with drinks included) cost $79, but you can save on your trip by bundling the event with hotel accommodations.

Niagara Beer Trail

image003If these two events don’t provide nearly enough ales and lagers, you can round out your Niagara beer-cation with a tour of the Niagara beer trail. Though the region is known better for its excellent wineries, Niagara is quickly becoming a craft brewer’s paradise due to the plethora of fresh ingredients for beer-making.

Thus, beer tastings, like wine tastings, are becoming a popular activity for natives and tourists who enjoy the often complex, distinctive flavors of beer. The beer trail includes seven outstanding local breweries that specialize in different techniques and styles of beer and provide delectable dishes to pair with them. Of course, there are more bars and breweries in Niagara, but we believe these seven stand above the pack:

  • Merchant Alehouse Restaurant Brewpub
  • Oast House Brewers
  • Silversmith Brewing Company
  • Niagara College Teaching Brewery
  • Niagara Brewing Company
  • Taps on Queen Brewhouse and Grill
  • Syndicate Restaurant and Brewery

4 Reasons to Eat Niagara Fruit

image001The entire Ontario region is known throughout Canada and North America as an area that excels in producing fruit and vegetables of a wide variety, but it’s the area’s tender fruit production that keeps Canada in everything from peaches and pears to cherries and plums during the summer and autumn months. And with orchards and farms scattered all over the countryside, Ontario’s bounty is almost always exceptional.

While central to the stellar fruit-growing reputation of Ontario, the Niagara region doesn’t always receive as much attention for its fruit-growing prowess by the millions who visit the area every year. Tourists are often too busy enjoying the many wineries and the stunning waterfalls to marvel over the wealth of fresh and delicious fruit available during the growing season. However, to really experience Niagara, it’s essential to bite into some of its ripest seasonal offerings during a visit.

If you’re headed to the Niagara region anytime in the next couple of months, the tender fruit will be ready for you. Here are four reasons to include some time for fruit on your Niagara vacation’s itinerary.

1. There’s So Much of It!

Ontario enjoys its reputation as a powerhouse of agricultural productivity, but when it comes to tender fruits — peaches, plums, pears, sweet cherries, sour cherries, apricots, strawberries, prunes of all colors, and raspberries — over 90 percent of what is grown in Ontario is actually grown just on the Niagara Peninsula. The same rich soil, mild climate, excellent drainage, and abundant water that allows for the region’s robust grape production also contributes to the abundance and quality of everything grown in the area, but the fruit crop is particularly superb.

2. It’s Beautiful

image003Driving around the Niagara Peninsula is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon, and it’s not just because the grape vineyards are so lovely. Interspersed throughout the region are the scores of farms and orchards that keep Canada in fruit, and the meticulous care the trees and bushes are given helps account for why the area is so postcard perfect and picturesque. Don’t just get a photo at the Falls when you visit Niagara, be sure to snap a few along the roadside in front of a field of cherry trees or pear trees, too.

3. It’s Delicious

Fresh fruit picked the morning you sink your teeth into it is a delight unrivalled during the summer months, and in Niagara, it’s a welcome rite of passage for locals and visitors in the know each and every year. The roadside stands dotted along the Niagara Parkway are a great introduction to Niagara’s freshest fruit, and you can also usually buy jams and pies at them as well.

4. You Can Pick Your Own

Especially if you’re visiting Niagara as a family, look into the many orchards and farms that offer pick-your-own fruit opportunities. It’s a great way to get outdoors and experience a little bit of the working farm life in the region. A few of the best places to pick your own fruit include:

  • Parkway Orchards
  • Bry-Anne Farms
  • Cherry Avenue Farms
  • Two Century Farm
  • Town and Country Farms

Head to Niagara for a world-class vacation, and while you’re there, be sure to eat the fruit.