This fall, families and individuals will trek to Orchard Hill Farm located on Fruit Ridge Line in Central Elgin to collect their vegetable share, chat with the grower and enjoy the view over the ridge. It will mark the beginning of the farm’s seventh generation as Ellen Laing and her husband take on management of the Fall Garden. Ellen chatted recently about her parents’ farm and her return to Elgin County.
In 1969, Rien Van Brenk had completed an education in business and pomology (the study of tree-grown crops) in Holland. He knew he wanted to grow apples and after looking at farms in Australia, the US and Canada, he was determined to pursue his dream in Canada.
Rien’s son Brian says, “Dad went all over Ontario digging holes looking for the farm he wanted. (It’s important for an orchard to possess uniform soil texture throughout.)” In London Ontario, Rien also met wife-to-be Helen, a nurse from Australia traveling abroad. They married, purchased 135 acres on Erin Line and started their farm and family near Wallacetown.
Read the Ven Brenks' story in the Holiday Edition of Relish Elgin magazine.
Franz Seeberger wanted wholesome bread and pastries that were prepared with whole grains; bread that would rise properly, perhaps a bit heavier but also rich in flavour with perfect nutrition. Over the years, what was once a side project has developed into a small business as Franz soon discovered his family and community also had a strong interest in nutrient-dense "real food".
Read Cindy’s article on the Franz Seeberger farm near Aylmer, along with her recipe for Red Fife Buttermilk Biscuits …
Elgin County’s guide to bringing home unbeatable flavours from local producers has evolved over the years, from a line drawing to a full-colour map/guide. In 2010 it was also rebranded with a new logo and the “Buy Local, Buy Fresh” name. On August 20th, the network launched a brand new interactive website version of the map, linked to individual farm pages, Facebook and Twitter.
Photos by Mark Girdauskas
All of the contestants at Clovermead’s 10th Annual Bee Beard Competition exhibited nerves of steel, gaining the crowd’s respect along with a few pounds of chin-adorning bees. Each also won money for their favourite charity and two became this year's Judge's Choice and People’s Choice Champions.
Those who had been curious about what goes on inside the massive greenhouse of Ontario Plants Propogation just West of Talbotville had opportunity to find out during a recent Open House. The family owned and operated business celebrated its 10th anniversary by inviting the public inside to tour and learn about what they do.
Ontario Plant’s President Jack Vanderkooy was moved by growing demand in the 1990s for greenhouse vegetable transplants, to start a vegetable propogation operation in 1999. In 2002 Ontario Plants Propogation was created near Shedden. With frequent expansions, the facility has reached 18 acres, plus will see completion of a 3-acre addition this summer.