Sunday, July 14, 2024

Curated crafts at the Little Red Wagon Winery Christmas market

Camilla Faragalli
Clarendon Dec. 8, 2023
The Little Red Wagon Winery hosted its fourth annual three-day Christmas market over the weekend.
From beekeepers and horticulturalists to the creators of handmade jewellery and fused-glass Christmas decorations, no end of specialized skills were on display on Friday, a well-attended first day of the event.
Ken Derouin and his wife Heidi Hall, owners of Freshwater Honey, were both present selling their honey and beeswax candles. While Derouin said it had been his wife’s idea to get into beekeeping initially, he is now fully invested.
“I originally wanted no part of it, but here I am,” he said with a laugh.
Going into their fourth season of beekeeping, it was the couple’s first time selling at a Christmas market, though their stock is regularly available at the winery.
Derouin explained that he and Hall own a farm in Freshwater, a small area of Calumet Island after which their company is named, but that they live in Shawville, and keep hives at Little Red Wagon as well.
“We live about a kilometre away and thought, ‘wouldn’t it be kind of neat to have beehives at a winery?’” he said, adding that during the summer he and his wife enjoy evening bike rides to the winery to check in on their bees.
Derouin noted that this is also the first year that the company has created candles.
“We’ve been stockpiling our wax for a while, so we decided to venture out,” he said, pointing out the assortment of small candles on display on their table.
“Strangely enough, bees don’t produce a whole lot of wax,” he said, adding that in a given year, a beekeeper might end up with 10 pounds of wax for 500 pounds of honey.
Also present at the winery’s Christmas market was Matches Seeds / Semences Allumettes, a local company selling about 70 varieties of seeds.
“We put them [the seeds] in little match packets, it’s kind of our signature,” said Michael Matishcuk, who co-owns the company with his partner, Gabriel Lortie.
The seeds, sold in colour-coded match-packets according to their yield, were neatly displayed at their vendor’s table along with a variety of products from other farms.
“All the markets have been really receptive, and we see them as an opportunity to get to know our community a bit more,” Matischuck said. “We’ve only been here a short amount of time.”
He explained that Matches Seeds / Semence Allumettes has been operational for about two years, and that this is their first year selling at Christmas markets.
“I enjoy chatting with people and meeting new people and helping people through their gardening journeys, because some people find it all intimidating,” he said.
“They want to be able to have fresh veg for their families but sometimes they just don’t know where to start. I find sometimes people just need to chat about it and be reassured,” Matischuk said.
“I see it as supporting the community through agriculture and horticulture.”
Roxanne Ranger, who attended the event with her husband, said they were impressed with the number of attractions offered to locals by the community.
“It’s really nice of the winery to open their doors to the local people doing crafts,” she said. “It’s some really great work, and this [the market] gives us a chance to come see it all.”
Ranger and her husband live in Ottawa but own a cottage on Lake Hughes, by Otter Lake.
The event was organized by Jennifer Dale, who co-owns the Little Red Wagon Winery with her husband, Scott Judd
“I love to support the makers and growers in our region in a small way by offering a space for them to showcase their creations,” Dale said.
“They are my people . . . The creatives and producers should be proud of themselves.”

Ken Derouin and his wife Heidi Hall sold products from their business, Freshwater Honey, at the Little Red Wagon Winery Christmas market on Friday. The beekeepers keep hives at the Clarendon winery, as well as at their own farm on Calumet Island.


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