Hi, It’s Farmer Joe,

My wife’s family has been growing apples for a very long time in the Port Stanley area (Elgin County). Her Opa came from Holland and purchased a farm just down the road from Great Lakes Farms in the 1950’s. He took what he learned in Holland, and started planting dwarf apple trees in Canada. He was one of the first in the area to do so. Opa sold his apples through the wholesale market.

His son, and my favorite father in law, took over the farming operations and purchased Great Lakes Farms in 2000 to expand the existing farm. My wife, along with her sisters and brother helped out with many different farm jobs from thinning apples to selling apple pie.   

In 2005 I came into the picture, marrying the oldest daughter. I grew up on a dairy farm, so I had a lot to learn about apples. Our 40 acre orchard is most plentiful in Gala apples with a total of 15 different varieties of pick-your-own apples throughout the harvest season. In addition to apples, we also grow peaches, strawberries, pumpkins and pears. Our passion for agriculture has allowed us to work hard with our children running Great Lakes Farms.

We love what we do and hope you enjoy our apples! 

Ontario Apple Growing Regions

The province’s major apple-producing areas in Ontario are spread along the shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. These large, deep bodies of water help moderate temperatures, which makes Ontario an ideal place to grow apples! 

Close to 20 different varieties of apples are grown on 16,000 acres across Ontario. The top five varieties in Ontario (based on acreage planted) are McIntosh, Gala, Empire, Red Delicious, and Northern Spy. 

What is the best apple variety for baking? How about fresh as a snack? Click here to find your favourite apple variety and see how best to use it.

Fun Facts:

  • During the California Gold Rush apples sometimes fetched more than $100 a bushel because of their versatility, durability and capacity to be preserved by drying.
  • Apples existed as a wild fruit since prehistoric times and have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years. The ancient Greeks, Etruscans, Romans and Egyptians were among its early cultivators.
  • The apple tree now grows (in thousands of varieties) in almost every corner of the globe from Japan to Madagascar to South Africa, New Zealand, Russia, China, England, France and across much of North America. 
  • One medium apple contains about 80 calories and is a good source of fibre and Vitamin C.

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