With the region’s rich agricultural heritage and abundant food offerings, Kelly Kurtz knew the opportunity was there.
So the Midland resident did something about it and opened Midland Food Tours earlier this year.
Since starting over the summer months, Kurtz says participants have really enjoyed the experience.
“People enjoy my food tours because they get to try lots of delicious food and drink,” Kurtz explains. “They also get to know the stories behind the food, the people who make it and where it’s made.”
And the feedback has been especially positive as one recent participant of the Downtown Midland Food Tour noted.
“We all thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and meeting so many friendly and passionate business owners,” Leslie O. wrote. “What a wonderful community you have in Midland!”
Midland Food Tours showcases and helps to support several of the outstanding, local, independent restaurants and food shops in the area.
“My tours help to draw visitors to our area,” Kurtz noted. “Many tour guests also make other purchases from the places we stop at on tour and at other businesses.”
To date, Kurtz has partnered with 14 local restaurants and food shops in Midland, Penetanguishene, Lafontaine and Perkinsfield.
And Kurtz’s passion for what she does is very real.
“I love food and I love food tours,” she said. “Whenever I travel I always look to see if a food tour is offered in the area.”
Before launching Midland Food Tours in July, Kurtz taught at area schools for 26 years.
As for her latest venture, Kurtz is the lone employee, but is thankful for the help from her family and friends. Her daughter Grace looks after her social media accounts while her husband Jamie serves as her photographer.
She adds: “Friends have helped with the production of tour videos and feedback on all aspects of my business from my website to my tours.”
The first tour Kurtz offered was the Day-Tripper Self-Guided Driving Food Tour. She partnered with five local restaurants and one local food shop for this tour, including Cafe Kittyhawk, Captain Roberts’ Table, The Elegant Gourmet, Farm2Door, MegaMindful Living and Wendy B’s.
“This self-guided tour was designed to run safely during COVID when indoor dining was not an option,” she explains, noting the tour’s final weekend is Oct. 8-9.
And then in September, she launched the Downtown Midland Food Tour.
“I guide this tour in person,” Kurtz said. “In the span of three hours, we stop at nine local stops: Dino’s, Georgian Bakery, Grounded, MegaMindfulLiving, Noble Hops, Olde Town Library, Olive Oil Co., Operation Grow and Uncle Roy’s.”
But Midland Food Tours aren’t just for visitors.
“They are great for locals as well to really get to know our area through food,” she explains. “I am certain that even locals who do one of my food tours will try food or drink or eat somewhere that is new to them.
“We also get to meet many of the owners and I share stories about the area’s history and culture too.”