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Heritage Village, Vineland, Ontario

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Rural Neighbours

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Local Farms

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Ontario’s largest fruit production takes place at the base of the Niagara Escarpment, in our Village back-yard. The growing area extends east-west some 45 km along the south shore of Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Our microclimate is ideal for tender fruit such as apples, peaches, cherries, grapes, pears and plums.  Annual crop values for tender fruit and grape in Niagara total about $90 million.

Some of our residents  are in Heritage Village condos named after the local fruits, nuts and berries.  If they are suburban refugees, our rural setting is a foreign land. Here’s some recent farm news,  to teach you the agri-culture.  We hope to inspire you to visit the local farm markets and get to know your rural neighbours.

Cherries:  sweet & sour

Signs for "Cherries - Pick Your Own" go up about June 25 and the Toronto hordes arrive for Canada Day.  Fortunately, Heritage Villagers live around the corner and can watch the fruit rippen.  You don't want the first pick.

The oldest farm is the Moyer property dating from 1799 called Cherry Avenue Farms 4303 Cherry Ave., Beamsville.  They are open Monday to Saturday 8 a. m. to 7 p. m. Sundays and holidays 8am-6pm.

Sweat cherries are best eaten fresh but if you want Cherry pie, try this local recipe: http://www.cookingnook.com/cherry-pie-recipe.html 

On 4230 Victoria Avenue, Vineland, we have Cherry Lane Frozen Fruits, a farm and food processor since 1907.  They are Canada's only supplier of  brine sweet cherries and a top producer of red sour pitted cherries.  Their Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate is reported to reduce pain of arthritis, gout and headaches.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Cherry Festival takes place after Canada Day. The festival is held at St Mark’s Church, a national heritage building founded in 1792.  It served as a hospital during the War of 1812.

Hazelnuts: a tough nut to crack

This spring (2010) the Vineland Research Station (on Victoria Ave., near the lake)  planted a test crop of hazelnut trees, searching for a  variety resistant to the blight fungus, that wiped out previous efforts near Delhi. If successful, the nut harvest in 2014 will trigger a new industry to replace hazelnut imports from Turkey.  The Ferrero Rocher plant in Brantford, uses 6,000 tonnes of hazelnuts annually to make chocolate confections. There are about 50 acres of hazelnuts grown in Ontario but Ferrero needs the crop from 15,000 acres, which may take 15 years.

Peach Trees:  get fresh or get canned

When CanGro Foods of St. David’s shut their doors on June 27, 2009, peach farmers who were growing the canning varieties like “clingstone” had to scramble to switch their crop to fresh-market varieties.  But it takes two years to grow a peach tree from  sapling and the farmers need thousands.  There are some 150 growers in our peach region and it will take some five years for the first commercial crop.  Farmers are searching for nursery stock as far away as Washington State. Some land will be left fallow. 

pearPear Trees: New kid on the block

Canada has a new pear: Harovin Sundown, since 2008Known by the code #HW614 during the 35 year R&D, this new variety joins Harrow Gold and Harrow Crisp, introduced to Canada in 2002. This oval fruit ripens at the end of the season when the red blush on the green fruit changes to an orange-red. It takes a decade for seedlings to bear fruit so breeding takes many years.  The fruit is juicy and sweet and resistant to “fire blight” bacteria which can destroy pear orchards. Look for it in the farmers’ markets about a month after the Bartlett pear is harvested.  It has received rave reviews by restaurants for preparing desserts.

There are more than 5,000 pear varieties with only 5 common to Canada: Bartlett, Flemish Beauty, Anjou, Bosc and Clapp's Favourite.  Canada supplies less that 1% of world production: China supplies 50%.  The name “Harovin” is coined from “Harrow” and “Vineland”, the location of two Ontario agricultural research stations.



 

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