Edible City is where I muse about urban gardening and share tips from my new book City Farmer

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Royal Decline at the Fair

When I was in university, I skipped class to go to the Royal Winter Fair. Arriving back at school for a late-afternoon tutiorial, I sat in the room thinking "what's that smell?!" It was me--the barnyard odour had seeped into my sweater and there was fresh manure on my shoes. I didn't mind. These are the sorts of things you should take home from an agricultural fair.

A few days ago, I returned home from the Royal Winter Fair with a bag full of sanitized, processed, packaged goodies (cheese crackers, skin cream, birch syrup), and zero in the way of animal smells--unless you count the dwarf-goat slobber on my palm, from the petting zoo.

The Royal is now, pretty much, a marketplace of fudge and funnel cakes, where you're hard pressed to find Ontario's agricultural bounty. Sad.

But I did delight in the poultry, once I managed to look past the display of chickens dyed baby blue, pink and yellow (yes, I'm serious). I met a farmer who raises Chantecler chickens (a uniquely Canadian, heritage breed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste) and I plan to contact him in the spring to get a couple of hens. So all was not lost in this outing to the fair, but something significant has certainly been lost if the smell of french-fry grease in the Royal's food court overpowers the smell of soil and barn.


  1. How sad to find an agricultural fair so thoroughly cleansed of its own odors! But good to hear about the chickens, so aptly named. Chaucer would be pleased, I think.

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