Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Whittamore's Farm Redux

Last week I contacted Whittamore's Farm in Markham for allergy information about their food offerings.

While I never heard back from my email request, we decided to give the farm a go for DJ's birthday anyways, with the idea that we would just enjoy the activities and bring our own snacks in case we couldn't get anything safe there.

With an antique tractor to climb on, a sand lot full of play tractors and a dirt track with ride-on pedal tractors it's a great place for transportation loving tots like DJ. A barn bouncer, goats to pet and a wagon ride through the farm's pick your own fields helped round out the day.

After all that playing, we were all looking forward to a snack. With a teen aged boy running the concession stand, I was hesitant to even ask about the allergy content of their offerings, thinking I just didn't feel like getting into it with someone who wouldn't understand.

Happily, I was wrong. My question was quickly countered with a sheet detailing all of the ingredients in all of the menu items. None contained any nuts. While we were assured that only canola oil was used in the deep fryer we were also cautioned that they couldn't guarantee the items hasn't been in contact with nuts at the manufacturers. However, given the stringent labelling requirements, to me it seems like any cross contamination concerns would have been evident since the ingredients were lifted directly from the packaging.

We ordered fries and DJ ate them without incident; that's if you don't count the ketchup in his hair.

Without ingredient labels and lots of nutty items available, all of the baked items in the store were clearly off limits. Still, there was a great selection of fresh fruits and vegetables to pick from (and you can pick your own if you've got the energy - we didn't) so it's not like you have to leave the store empty-handed without a treat if that's what you're after.

While we'll definitely head to Whittamore's again, a little more responsiveness from the company - like an answer to my original email - would be nice, especially considering the facility is geared towards kids.

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