The Scenic Route

Welcome to our Big Backyard!

Cultivate Big Backyard

Hi, my name is Jeff Bray and I am the co-founder of Cultivate Festival. That's me and my daughter doing the tour right up there. We are a Northumberland family and we love where we live!

Our festival was born out of our appreciation for what is going on in our “ Big Backyard”. We are surrounded by wonderful farms, great restaurants, award winning breweries and world class markets. It’s also one of the most beautiful places on the planet during the fall. So here we are - celebrating greatness. Thank you so much for supporting! 


Whether you are taking it all in on foot, by bike or in your car, I am confident you are going to have a great time checking out our favourite places, tasting new food and drink and becoming more familiar with our Big Backyard. 


By this time, you have probably picked up your backpack and you are ready to hit the road! If you haven't refer back to your confirmation email for all the details.

We’ve got a lot of great suggestions and some wonderful routes, but this is all about you. Take my advice or experiment on your own! Try new things and get what works for you. Gather along the way and finish it all off with an extravagant picnic, or taste as you go. There are many ways to enjoy it.


However you decide to do it, let us follow along. Share your tour with us on social media for a chance to win. Tag Cultivate Festival on Facebook or Instagram with the #cultivatesbigbackyard for your chance to win weekly prizes including tickets to our secret winter concert series (shhh), an overnight staycation and plenty more. 


Have the best time and say hello to everyone for me along the way. 




The Scenic Route

Cultivate Big Backyard

Enjoy this tour from east to west, or the opposite! Either way, the options of an end-of-the-road picnic are extraordinary. Haute Goat has unrivalled views (and you can spend the night with the Alpacas if you’d like). In Grafton, head to the Nauwatin Nature Sanctuary, the Barnum House Creek Conservation or head a little further east to Wicklow Waterfront Trail


Take a car, bike or a motorcycle and soak in the fall foliage, follow along with the scavenger hunt bingo and enjoy the tour. You’ll be hitting up a few of my favourites on a route that has so much more to offer than the stops you’ll make. 


It’s apple season, so pop by Moore Orchards and grab a few. Dancing Bee is Canada’s largest beekeeping supply store with so much more to offer than just that. Grab some honey to dip those apples in! The corn maze at Burnham Family Farm is a must do and Red Tractor Farm  just west of Grafton has your needs for fall produce, pumpkins or even Christmas trees, depending on when you make your way through. 



Ok, without further adieu, here are my picks for your Big Backyard food tour!


Haute Goat - 1166 5th line, Newtonville


Haute Goat is one of my favourite places to be. The property brings instant calm. The views are amazing and the treats are unique. If you are planning on grabbing and going, I would suggest the Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar. It’s an award winning cheese from just up the road that will have you reconsidering what you thought goat cheese was. It’s a top five cheese for me. Alternatively, grab a coffee and get yourself going, or splurge on some Udderly Delicious goat milk ice cream. Make sure to walk the property - the kids will love the alpacas, goats, horses and chickens. You’ll want to move in by the time you have to leave. 


Little known fact - The fine folks of haute Goat let us store our festival wares in their barn. Such good people! 


Happenstance Bakery - 135 Peter St, Port Hope

Cafe Happenstance - 203 Third St, Cobourg


Happenstance filled a void in Port Hope. We were desperate for freshly baked bread and espresso based beverages. They have delivered. The options are plentiful, but I typically lean to a well done americano and a ham and cheese croissant. If you’re organized, order ahead on weekends and grab one of their famous breakfast sandwiches (downtown Port Hope only). If you are feeling really adventurous, put together a pizza kit with their sourdough pizza dough and homemade sauce. We do this weekly and our kids LOVE it. Finally, bread! Depending on how you want to set up this tour, bread could become the perfect conduit for many future choices. Sourdough for days!


Little known fact - While I don’t want any credit, I pushed owners Nick and Erin to open a coffee shop for ages when they first moved here. You’re welcome, Port Hope. 


Ganaraska Brewing Company -  33 Mill St South, Port Hope


Ganaraska Brewing Company just opened. It’s been years in the making! They may only have a couple of options at this point, but you can trust they will be great! They will have a little something for everyone, including food, so don’t feel like you need to have a beer - but, it sure sounds good to me! All of the beers pay homage to the history of Port Hope. I would suggest the Hazy Rapids New England IPA. Take it up to the rooftop patio and pair it with a view of those rapids. If you look straight over the river, you can see the Memorial Park bandshell - the home of Cultivate Festival, and a great picnic location. 


Betty’s Pies and Tarts - 7380 County Rd 2, Cobourg


Award winning butter tarts. What more do I need to say here? Betty’s Pies and Tarts have been a staple of the community for ages. And they do make very nice pies. Even an apple crumble tart that is quite a wonderful treat. But I am here for the butter tarts and you are too. Let’s be serious. For me, it’s all about the classic plain. Raisins? Nope. No chance. But that’s just me. You do you. 


Little known fact - Betty’s won the award for best tart at the Royal Winter Fair in 2014. A HUGE honour. They also have a gooey centre, so I would suggest not taking your first bite while behind the wheel. I have made this mistake so you don’t have to. 



The Mill Restaurant and Pub - 990 Ontario St, Cobourg


The Mill Restaurant and Pub is a great place for a fall treat. If golf is done, ask if you can walk  the golf course. It’s beautiful this time of year. Check out the dam, too. It might not be too late to see some huge salmon. For food, grab a patio table and order some fresh cut fries with basil mayo. Fries won’t travel too well, so enjoy the cool air and falling leaves on the best patio in Cobourg. If it isn't fries, dive into a warm soup. Chef Isaac is a soup master - you won’t be disappointed! 


Little known fact - Cultivate co-founder, Amelia Sheffield, is the General Manager of The Mill. Make sure you say hello!


Market & Smor - 39 King St E, Cobourg


Market and Smor has been delighting the palettes of downtown Cobourgers for a couple of years now. They are focused on healthy, beautiful food as well as zero food-waste and easy, to-go items. For me, it’s all about the charcuterie. Chef Sean is doing amazing things with whole animals from the farms of Northumberland. This is the only place making charcuterie around, so don’t miss out! Look closely - anywhere you see “Market” on the label, will assure you that it was made in-house. Their charcuterie mixed pack offers something for everyone. I would also urge you to get the country pate. Take your time to explore - you’ll find a lot with your name on it, and M&S will become your favourite market in Cobourg.


Little known fact - Although the owners' names suggest they came from the USA (Lucas Cleveland and Montana Desjardins), they actually sold all their belongings and moved to Cobourg from Alberta with the dream of selling fresh produce to downtown Cobourg. Dreams can come true!


The Lass & Ladle - 10831 County Rd 2, Grafton


Downtown Grafton has never been so lucky. The Lass & Ladle opened up this past year and has been a revelation for locals. Fresh coffee from Cold Creek Coffee Roasters (Castleton) and fresh bread from Millstone Bread (Cobourg). All this before you even get into the pastries and hot food that has taken the township by storm. For the sake of this tour though, I am going to suggest their Cheesecake in a Jar. Always partnered with a seasonal filling and topped with a graham cookie, it makes the perfect takeaway dessert - one that could be enjoyed anywhere. Most recently, we took them down to Nauwatin Nature Sanctuary and enjoyed them on foot while checking out the swans, turtles and dozens of bird species.

Little known fact - If you happen to choose the Jamaican Paddy, it was made by my best bud and  groomsman, Jeff May. Yes, our names are wild close. We also share the same middle name.



I hope you had the best time! Don't forget to share your experience for a chance to win weekly prizes! Tag Cultivate on Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #cultivatesbigbackyard

I hope you had the best time! 


If you have no need for your backpack, return it at the end of your tour and we will donate $5 to Green Wood Coalition, a radically inclusive, street-level organization based in Port Hope.


Disclaimer - We recommend taking the tour between 11am - 4pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Having said that, the certificates don't expire. You can do this at your own pace! However we strongly urge you to check out the participating businesses hours of operation. These places are small and independent, so things can change quickly.

There is no g
uarantee that my suggestions will be available. These are small, independent businesses and things change. They will always have delicious options though. 

Cultivate's Big Backyard is proudly sponsored by: