Powell's Paradise

It's such a thrill to discover a secret little spot, tucked into the rural tapestry of Norfolk County, off the well worn road to somewhere, idyllic in its own seclusion.

Such a place is Powell's Patch blueberry farm near Port Dover. If you talk to any of the locals, it seems like everyone knows Powell's, and it's no wonder because Chuck and Sheryl-Lynn Powell have been running it for more than three decades. In fact, it's not hard to find because signs south of Simcoe, on Highway 24, and east along the Radical Road point the way to this little piece of heaven.

And heaven it is. Horses feed lazily in a corral area close to the barn, chickens scatter when you walk by and rabbits look up quizzically from pens across the yard. A small retention pond is home to a few ducks who must feel like they've found their "forever" home.

As soon as you turn into the farmyard, chances are you'll be greeted with Chuck's friendly shout-out from the porch of their quaint little shop -- "Picking berries? Go right on through, pails are over there!" Within minutes, you find yourself in the middle of a berry-picker's shangri-la. Huge mature bushes in long rows are bursting with fruit sweetened by the summer sun.

Chatting with Sheryl-Lynn, I found out that the unusually dry summer this year has produced smaller berries than usual, but what this crop lacks in size, it makes up for in flavour. Sweet and succulent these berries do not disappoint and make "picking your own" well worth the effort.

But the real surprise at Powell's is the overwhelming sense of rural beauty and serenity one feels while filling that little pail. A rooster's crow, a chorus of birdsong, a gentle breeze in the trees and the feeling of warm sunshine on one's shoulders is the unexpected bonus at Powell's. As they say in that famous credit card commercial, it's "priceless".

Even though it's been known as Powell's Patch all these years, the sign really should read "Powell's Paradise"!

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