Warner Orchard is a family run farm with a long history of growing wonderful things in Beamsville. Jim & Mary Warner have been growing fruit and other vegetables for over 40 years. Located 73.1 km’s from our market, Warner’s is often one of the main reasons people visit us each Saturday. You can often find line ups at their stall when some of the more popular fruits like Strawberries, peaches & cherries are in season. They often sell out.
Jim Warner has been farming for most of his life having grown up on a small family farm in Beamsville growing primarily strawberries with some other fruit and vegetables. The family would sell their produce door to door. In 1970 just prior to marrying his high school sweetheart Mary, Jim purchase their current farm. In the early days, post University, it was challenging to farm and keep up mortgage payments. The couple worked part and full-time jobs, while farming and raising 4 boys. But a love of healthy food for their family and a love of farming kept them at it. When their oldest son Jamie graduated university, despite having earned a teaching certificate, his heart, like Jim was drawn back to Beamsville. He asked to farm with his father and thus started a new chapter for this farming family.
Including land that they rent, the Warner family now farm over 100 acres of fruit and a few vegetables for local and market sales. They run a couple of farm stands including a self-serve farm stand that has been operating since 1972, and they can be found in a few farmers markets including Aberfoyle. They also sell their fruit via a shipper called Vineland Growers Co-op.
The orchard produces an extensive variety of fruit & vegetables and Jim & Mary are always expanding that list to try new varieties. Every year they remove and replant a percentage of their land to grow new things. Their latest venture is growing flat peaches which have the nickname of donut peaches. These peaches were previously believed to be a variety that could not successfully be grown in Ontario. Jim & Mary have clearly proved that they can indeed grow here and you can find these donut peaches at the market each year thanks to their persistence and innovation.
The current list of produce includes: strawberries, raspberries, black & red currants, goose berries, black berries, sweet & sour cherries, many varieties of apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums (yellow, red & blue), pears and apples. A popular item is Jim’s farmers basket. It’s a mixed basket of fruits that often includes plums, grapes, apricots and more.
Everyone knows that the fruit that the Warner’s grow is exceptional, but the real treat of purchasing fruit directly from the grower is getting to chat with this wonderful couple and gain a farmers perspective to the food you are bringing home. Mary is an excellent cook who is always trying out new recipes and loves sharing her wealth of knowledge with the customers. If you want to know tips and tricks to ensuring that your baking turns out right, or determining which type of fruit you should use for what, be sure to ask Mary. She also produces a large selection of jams which are available at the market. Talking with the customers about their passion is really what makes the farmers market experience truly rewarding for the Warner’s. They love showing people that food purchased directly from the producer that has been picked fresh and ripe has no comparison.
Visit their website for more info http://www.warnerorchards.com/
Visit them at the Aberfoyle Farmer’s Market from late May to late October on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm.
~Article written by Blair Moch