Opinion Column

Fresh and local fare top the menu at The Farmhouse

Brittany Doner, Special to the Examiner

Chef Chris Gardiner adds a special touch at The Farmhouse.

Chef Chris Gardiner adds a special touch at The Farmhouse. SUBMITTED

With all of the veggies for its Zero Mile Salad grown only a few feet away from the kitchen in an urban cultivator, Barrie’s newest restaurant, The Farmhouse, certainly has a commitment to serving local.

While The Farmhouse may be new, the couple behind the restaurant certainly is not. Randy Feltis and his wife Sarah Jackson-Feltis have more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry and were the owners of Barrie’s popular resto-lounge Oscars, which recently closed its doors to make way for the couple’s new venture.

“Randy grew up on a family farm and we have always had a commitment to serving as much local produce, meat and fish as possible,” said Jackson-Feltis. “Since having a child, we developed a strong desire to build something for the whole family; a place that provides fresh locally-grown food in a warm and cheerful environment.”

“The Farmhouse, like other restaurants in Simcoe County who are purchasing locally-grown food and food products, help grow our economy at a faster rate,” said Robert Lamb, manager of economic development for the County of Simcoe, and a member of the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter Steering Committee. “This is because a majority of the economic impact from that spending stays within our local economy,” he said.

The Farmhouse supports many local producers.

In addition to chef Chris Gardiner frequenting the Barrie Farmers’ Market in search of the freshest local foods, the restaurant works closely with a variety of local suppliers including Edencrest Farms, Cookstown Greens, Nicholyn Farms, Barrie Hill Farms, Kawartha Dairy and Randy’s father’s farm Feltis Farms.

“When individuals or businesses buy from local farmers they can guarantee the quality of their produce, meat, dairy and other food products,” said Lynda Van Casteren, owner of Nicholyn Farms, and president of the Simcoe County Farm Fresh Marketing Association. “Not only is local food fresher and richer in nutrients, but Ontario farmers also follow strict standards to ensure that food is produced in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way.”

“There are so many options locally, I don’t see it presenting any difficulties,” said Jackson-Feltis, when asked if serving local presented any challenges.

“Of course seasonal changes will require us to update our menu a few times a year, but we view that as an exciting opportunity to shake things up and give our patrons more variety and new experiences.”

To learn more about The Farmhouse, visit at thefarmhouse.ca, or visit simcoecountyfarmfresh.ca for more information on local food producers, and restaurants serving local near you.


Brittany Doner is project manager, Simcoe County Food & Agriculture Charter, and Simcoe County Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy.

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