from left: Emily Mann, Megan Monteith, Jeff May & Anne Burnham
One of the quality experiences of living in Cobourg and environs is steering the old family auto into the parking lot beside the Burnham Family Farm Market. Located on Cty Rd 2 – between the last stop light out of Cobourg and the turn for the Drive In, the emporium of Eat Local Live Better and Smile At the Same Time food stop offers more than your average produce shop.
You’ve got your berries. Strawberries and raspberries. Grown on the spot – well, maybe not at the counter but just a field for two away (you can pick your own if you are in the mood). You got your apples. Dozens of varieties (you can see them growing as you walk in). You got your corn. I could go on about Burnham’s corn. But I won’t. The season is almost upon us so you will find out soon enough just how dee-lish it is.
Then there are the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the garlic, the lettuces, the peas, the beans, (insert laundry list of your favourite seasonal veggies) arranged attractively and sourced from Burnham’s, nearby farms, Ontario farms or occasionally from Quebec.
If buying local and buying fresh out of the field isn’t enough to cause your car to skid to a stop, consider the bakery located on the premises. Seven folks toil in the bakery keeping the ovens humming from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bread. Buns. Cakes. Cookies. Again, I could go on but I will gain weight if I do. Because just thinking about Burnham’s cookies means I have to go there this very afternoon.
According to Anne Burnham who you can see working alongside her staff throughout the week, the store opened in 1994 with 2 employees (now there are 20!). The store is in its 23rd year of operation. On busy days 400 people visit. On slower days a mere 180 folks push through that screen door at the front.
Should you feel a need to extend your shopping beyond the raw there are countless varieties of jams and pickles, relishes, sauces, chips, honey and maple syrup. Then there is the freezer section. Don’t get me going again! I can’t live without Burnham’s stir fry. All my veggie food groups sliced ‘n diced ready to take home. Half a bag a day with my main course and I am a healthy man! Should you look deeper in the freezer you will see homemade soups, meat pies, Sheppard pies, ice cream, cheese from select producers. Sunnyside sausages are there. Frozen chicken is coming soon.
No mention of Burnham Family Farm Market would be complete without mentioning the man at the tractor wheel. Paul Burnham, husband of Anne, shy and often seen smiling, oversees the production of the field crops for the store and the farm’s cash crops. You won’t often see him in the store but you might catch a glimpse of him driving a tractor along Cty Rd 2.
The Burnham’s are almost an institution in the area. Along with their successful store and farm they are massive supporters of the Northumberland United Way running events in support throughout the summer.
Says Anne, “the United Way is such a good organization. It covers so many factors in the community. It covers poverty. It covers health. It covers children.”
Along the way during the season, the store supports many other causes like the upcoming Alzheimer Society fund raiser July 24th.
Oh, I forgot to mention the pumpkins. Yes, the humble pumpkins. The Burnham pumpkin patch is a sight to see especially when its contents are all dragged in front of the store in the fall. Probably one of the most popular spots in Ontario to pose your adorable four year old with his or her favourite orange critter.
Did I mention Burnham’s crazy corn maze that will get infested with Halloween characters in a couple months?
I am sorry I can’t keep talking about the Burnham Family Farm Market. I have to go visit right now. Like at this moment! The newest cookie edition- a brownie cookie – is calling my name and I can’t resist….