The Howe Family has been growing strawberries south of Aylmer for 5 generations. The Howe family has been farming in Elgin County since 1861 when William Howe from Kent, England settled in Elgin as a general farmer. Today, William’s great grandson Glenn Howe, his wife Monica and their 3 sons Ryan, Rick and Kevin continue to grow a large acreage of strawberries.
Howe Family Farms has always believed that the trick to growing a perfect strawberry starts with variety. Over the years they have grown countless varieties; some that grow vigorously, some that bear an unbelievable amount of fruit, some that can store for long durations, but the most important characteristic is flavour. Glenn loves to experiment with numerous varieties of each crop to get that perfect flavour.
Only until recently were strawberries only a short-lived summer treat in Ontario. Now that a new variety of strawberries called “day neutral” have been developed, we can now enjoy strawberries for 5 months giving us access to summer-fresh strawberries through to October. Watch the video below to learn more.
Choosing a flavourful variety isn’t the only trick to growing a perfect strawberry. Care must be taken from planting to harvest. Irrigation during frosty nights and dry weather conditions are extremely important practices on the farm.
However, possibly the most important part of growing strawberries is the harvest as strawberries do not have a very long shelf life. Tricks that they have picked up over the years to prolong the shelf life of our strawberries include an extremely stringent grading policy – the saying ‘one bad apple spoils the bunch’ holds true to strawberries as well.
A second trick to prolonging our strawberries shelf life is to cool their strawberries to 36 degrees Fahrenheit immediately after harvest. “The quicker we can cool a strawberry, the longer the strawberry lasts,” says Glenn.
In addition to strawberries, Howe Family Farms also grows watermelons, cantaloupe, squash, pumpkins, beans and variety garden vegetables that they sell at their Farm Market as well as delivery via thier weekly C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture) food box program.
Located 15 minutes East of St. Thomas, 15 minutes West of Tillsonburg and 35 minutes South-East of London, the Howe Family Farm Market is open Monday to Saturday: 9am to 6pm and Sundays: 11am to 5pm.
Howe Family Farms48556 John Wise Line R.R.#5 Aylmer, Ontario N5H 2R4Market Phone Number: 519-773-3779E-mail: [email protected]
- Seeds found in Europe show strawberries existed in prehistoric times. The wild fruit was originally picked for its medicinal value. The leaves were boiled and made into poultices, the fruit prescribed as a remedy for “the redness and heat of the face.”
- To pick the perfect strawberry, gently hold the stem between thumb and forefinger. Carefully pinch and break the stem to release the berry without squeezing the berry itself.
- Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium and fibre as well as being low in calories.