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Petrolia’s Harvest Fest celebrates farming culture, local food

By Melissa Schilz, Postmedia Network

The Town of Petrolia is planning its very first Harvest Fest, a celebration of local food and drink at the farmer’s market site that will feature cuisine and entertainment. It’s scheduled for Sept. 30.

Director of Marketing Laurissa Ellsworth said the three course meal will be prepared by local chef Mark Gravelle, who grew up watching his mother and grandmother in the kitchen and aspired to be a chef since a young age. They are aiming to utilize their local market vendors to the best of their ability.

Gravelle has a passion for delicious and wholesome fresh food. He studied at Niagara College and cooked under the guidance of Michael Mansfield at Olive’s Casual Dining. Gravelle now owns Fields to Feasts Custom Catering, which is based in Corunna.

Ellsworth said with a large farming population in the area, it’s important to support that industry. That’s where the idea for Harvest Fest grew from.

She said Dave Menzies and herself had been discussing a potential new event that revolved around the idea of local food and the farmers market for some time now, but Petrolia Line construction had caused a delay in bringing the occasion to the community.

“We could never really put our finger on exactly what we wanted to do,” she said. “This year we thought, let’s give it a go and see how it’s received.”

While still in its early phases, Ellsworth said they are also working on partnerships with a local brewery and winery, and those serving the meal will be Petrolia’s senior staff. The evening will also feature a silent auction for fundraising and dessert made by the Pie Lady.

“It will be a local meal that is sourced almost entirely from our farmer’s market vendors,” she said. “Following the meal we will have members of casts of previous Victoria Playhouse shows putting on a show and following up with music people are welcome to dance to.”

Ellsworth said they decided fall would be the best time of year to host the event because that time of year sees local foods in their prime and offers the biggest range and most vibrant selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s truly going to be a local meal with local entertainment with food prepared by local people,” she said. “The menu is starting to come together and it’s looking pretty awesome.”



When: Sept. 30

Where: Petrolia Farmer’s Market pavilion

Cost: $30. Cash bar with local beer and wine will be available

Entertainment to be provided by the VPP's Rockabilly Swingtime Band.