Agri-Food & Culinary Tourism

Agri-food and Culinary Tourism

Agri-food & Culinary Tourism

The agri-food sector includes primary production of food and beverage, food and beverage processing, distribution, and wholesale. Culinary tourism encompasses those activities that draw visitation to the area primarily for food and beverage, and include fine dining, food service, breweries, wineries, and farmers’ market vendors.

SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS: Collingwood Real Food Market

Getting Started

The Collingwood Real Food Market is a family run business that started as a wholesale produce business servicing the Georgian Triangle area since 1953, and in 2014 expanded to a retail market which seemed a natural extension.

They specialize in locally sourced products, organic options and fresh produce.  More importantly though, the Market presents an option to consumers in the Collingwood area.    Maria say, “We are homegrown and proud of it.  We believe that our community is made stronger when we stand together. To this end, we are especially proud to showcase products made by our neighbours.  We carry raw treats and sprouts from Raw Yoga Girl, a lovely local woman with a desire to offer a superior product.  We carry Meredith’s Ginger Syrups, where quality really matters.  We carry TeaFrog Teas, a company with local roots and a caring and knowledgeable owner.  We are the only retail carrier of JD Boss Sauce, a superior hot pepper sauce made in authentic Trinidadian tradition right here in Collingwood.  Additionally, we carry Miller’s Milk, Kolapore Springs trout, Dinner at Home Meals by Nadine Hughes, Dragonfly Grass Fed Meats, Mum’s Original, High on Hemp, My Little Chickpea, Not Yer Granny’s Granola and much more.”

Collingwood Real Food Market now has 7 employees and in the summer of 2015, they further expanded by participating at 3 local farmers’ markets.

Why Collingwood?

The inspiration for this family owned business is local. Maria says there is an abundance of quality, locally grown and manufactured products that can be sourced here, and many suppliers that do not have a venue to showcase their offerings. Couple that with the great outdoor lifestyle Maria and her family take advantage of like enjoying the trails and snowshoeing as well as a thriving, diverse downtown shopping experience – it’s the perfect location for them!

Looking to the Future

Collingwood Real Food Market are proud to partner with local entrepreneurs and they envisage a future of continued positive growth that benefits both the entrepreneurs and the surrounding community who prefer to purchase local quality product and enjoy the wide range their unique business can offer them. Visit



Getting Started

Dags & Willow Fine Cheese and Gourmet Shop opened for business on December 15th, 2005.

The store’s owners, Kelly Siskind and Steven Epstein, began their endeavour by selling artisanal cheeses at the local Collingwood Farmer’s Market during the summer of 2005. They haven’t looked back since. Their love of food and drive for excellence has transformed Dags & Willow into a must-visit destination.

Over the years the shop has evolved, now offering a range of products and services: fresh and frozen prepared foods, breads and bagels, giftware, gift baskets, a host of gourmet packaged goods, and, of course, an astonishing selection of cheeses. Dags & Willow has also developed a thriving wholesale business, distributing both cheeses and foodservice products to local restaurants and Ontario cheese shops.  Today, a trip to Dags & Willow is an adventure! Tasting is not only allowed, it is encouraged , and they pride themselves on expanding each visitor’s cheese knowledge.

Named after the owner’s dogs – Dagny, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, and Willow, a Collie/Shepherd cross – Dags & Willow Fine Cheese and Gourmet Shop boasts the largest collection of artisan cheeses in the Collingwood area. This coupled with their unique personal approach, makes them a favourite downtown Collingwood destination.

Why Collingwood

The Collingwood area is a four-season destination spot that attracts individuals seeking intimate service experiences, greater quality of life, and access to some of the best golfing, skiing, hiking, and biking in the area. As owners, we chose to set up our business in the part of Ontario where we could see ourselves living a more meaningful life. The fact that it is home to our target market was an added bonus. Not only do we get to enjoy days snowshoeing and nights at top restaurants, but we also get to interact and serve customers seeking quality products.

Looking to the Future

Dags & Willow is both a destination retail spot that focuses on educating its customers about fine cheeses and gourmet foods, as well as a niche distributor of fine cheeses to shops in central and northern Ontario. We pride ourselves on our knowledge and customer service. As we move into the future, our goals are to continue broadening our range of products to keep Dags & Willow on trend with foods accessible in any major city.


Getting Started

Located at what was known as the ‘Old Georgian China Building’, The Candy Factory was started in 1972 by Richard Brown with the idea of preserving old fashion recipes and candy making in traditional ways by using proven methods and ingredients.

The current owners, Joe and Mary Dale Matanowitsch purchased the business in 1986. Prior to that, Joe worked at Blue Mountain Pottery until its closing and Mary Dale was a Registered Nurse at the Collingwood Hospital.

Joe and Mary kept the tradition, and the recipes used today are the same, tried, tested, proven-successful recipes from those early days. They invested in more equipment, moved their growing business to the heart of Downtown Collingwood on Hurontario Street in 1990.

Today, there many facets to this fast-growing business. Stepping into the Candy Factory is like stepping back into a time when going to a candy store was a special event. It’s filled with everything imaginable to satisfy the sweet tooth from custom truffles and novelty chocolate shapes, to lollipops, fudge and a range of corporate giftpacks and baskets. The creation of the viewing room where the public and school groups are invited to watch as the treats are handcrafted. And then they became importers – importing chocolate and distributing to an extensive network of manufacturers they developed for future processing.

Why Collingwood

Joe says the lifestyle of living in Collingwood and the future of tourism and recreation potential in 1986 made the decision to get into the business and stay in the municipality easy. “Local residents support us and the tourists have sweet cravings too! In the same manner, we enjoy giving back to our community by supporting fundraisers and other programs.’

The Future

The demand by local corporates for custom gifts has grown and to meet that, new products and flavours are always being developed . A great recent example would be our very successful “Collingwood Whisky Truffles”, says Joe. More consistent growth is anticipated with recent medical health studies identifying the health benefits of dark chocolate. And it seems the Candy Factory will be around for a long time here in Collingwood – with one of the next generation of the Matanowitsch family having joined the Candy factory team, with plans to proudly carry on Joe and Mary Dale’s legacy for many years to come.