Hi there! My name is Charlotte Huitema and I am a member of the Haldimand/Norfolk Junior Farmers Club. From May 27th to June 2nd, I had the opportunity of hosting a delegate from Northern Ireland and got the chance to meet and get to know a total of 7 delegates from across the world. It all started on the Saturday evening when my cousin, Andrew Huitema, and I travelled to Matt Smith’s house to pick up our delegates. Once we arrived, Ethan from Australia and Hazel from Scotland greeted us. While we waited for our billeted delegates to arrive from the airport, we got know Ethan and Hazel. Once Laura from Northern Ireland and Severin from Switzerland got to the house, we left for our individual homes so that they could get some rest.
The day trips began Sunday, with Oxford County touring the seven delegates around to a dairy farm in Tavistock, Leaping Deer Adventure Farm, and a tour of the De Bruyn’s sow barn. The Sunday was concluded with a BBQ at the De Bruyn’s farm and getting back to host families. Four households hosted delegates during this week: Andrew Huitema, myself, Becky Mattice, and Matt Smith. Monday morning began with a tour of Bonnieheath Winery and Lavender Farm in Waterford. Next was a tour of St. Williams Nursery and Forestry, and then a walk of Backus Woods Forest and Turkey Point beach.
On Tuesday I had the opportunity to drive some of the delegates to Niagara Falls. We all received an Adventure Pass which consisted of a trip on the Whirlpool Aero Car, White Water walk, Hornblower, and the Niagara Fury. For lunch, the delegates got to experience the Rain Forest Café. Once everything was completed on the adventure pass, a couple of the delegates showed interest in ziplining across the Falls and afterwards they toured Clifton Hill! The day ended with dinner at Boston Pizza and then back to the Falls to see the lights.
Later Wednesday morning, the delegates had a tour of Charlotte’s family’s egg barn between Dunnville and Cayuga. The delegates got a better understanding of the kind of housing the Huitema’s installed in their new barn–enriched colony housing. They also saw how an egg packer machine works. After the tour, the delegates grabbed lunch at the crepe house in Port Dover, and took the rest of the day to run errands, go swimming, and ended the day off with a dairy goat farm tour in Wentworth.
Thursday, the delegates ventured further into the Wentworth-Niagara region visiting distillery’s such as Dillons, and Forty Creek! Here our delegates learned more about what goes into Canadian whisky, and got to try a selection of samples. The evening finished with experiencing the Starlite drive in where many watched movies and slipped in some naps too!
Friday, the delegates got to sleep in a wee bit and then ventured off to The Apple Place in Simcoe. They arrived just in time to see the apples being packed and got to see everything that goes into the processing right down to how the boxes are put together. After the tour, they were all treated to the Norfolk county’s official donut “apple cider donut”. From there, they all enjoyed lunch at the Simcoe Arms and then made their way to Sarah Judd’s garden which is able to feed just over 70 families. Here they also learned about strawberries, different types of varieties, and the different vegetables she grows. The busy Friday concluded at Van der Steege dairy farm for a BBQ, dance, and bonfire social.
Saturday was their last adventure day of the week with Haldimand-Norfolk & Wentworth-Niagara JF crews. Delegates were able to attend the Wentworth-Niagara Ag tour for the day going to many different places, and seeing all the diversity of farms and much more. Delegates packed their things, and ended the day with a BBQ, fire, and of course dancing. There was a great Junior Farmer turn out, designated drivers for each day that we are very grateful for, and a big shout out to our host families. We wish our 2018 delegates all the best as they make their way across the province, and that all have safe travels.