A visit to Springridge Farm

It’s been almost a week since I had the chance to visit an Ontario berry farm at the height of strawberry season…and since I’ve been travelling, it’s been hard to find time to get this blog post put together.

But better late than never…and certainly before the end of strawberry season!

I was on the road with a group of food writers, recipe developers, cookbook authors, nutritionists and home economists last week through the work I do with AGCare and the Ontario Farm Animal Council.

We toured two Ontario farms – one of which was Springridge Farm in Milton.

Springridge is a strawberry farm in the spring, a pumpkin patch in the fall and a great farm adventure destination at all times in between.

Owners John and Laura Hughes (left) run this family business, along with son Tom and daughter Amy, as the sixth generation of fruit farmers.

Springridge celebrates its 50th anniversary in Milton this year; John’s parents moved there in 1960.

Originally, the farm produced cherries, pears and a multitude of other fruits, but today, economics have dictated that the Hughes’ concentrate on strawberries and pumpkins as the principal crops they grow.

They also sell fruits and produce from neighboring farms, including peas, raspberries, cherries, peaches and more.

In addition to their produce sales, the Hughes’ also offer a petting zoo, kids birthday parties, bakery and cafe (incidentally with absolutely the BEST strawberry pie I have ever tasted – courtesy of Springridge chef Jesse Lauzon), and gourmet food and gift shop.

Springridge also has a strong commitment to education, hosting thousands of school children on their farm every year and teaching them how strawberries are grown, how to identify different types of pumpkins and gourds and letting them visit with farm animals.

Strawberry season should last approximately until the end of June or early July, so you still have time to get some locally grown Ontario strawberries – buying their ready picked baskets or picking your own in the strawberry patch!

And if you can’t get there in real life, check them out on Facebook.

One final photo – and this one is quite thought-provoking when we spend a few moments considering the future of food and farming in Ontario, particularly close to urban centres.

The photo doesn’t quite do the reality justice, but in the background you can clearly see the urban encroachment coming ever closer to Springridge and its rolling hills and fertile soils – that’s Milton, and further in the distance, Oakville, Mississauga and Toronto.

We are lucky to have farms like Springridge so close to us, but I can’t help but wonder how much longer that will be the case.

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