Changing seasons and looking back

by Jay Reesor

As is our tradition in the fall, our farm market closes the first Saturday after Hallowe’en.  I am really glad that we have chosen that date to close because this year, November’s weather was, well, less than ideal! The combination of  some very cold,  sometimes snowy, sometimes wet and almost always grey weather has made it difficult to get fall work done.  Everything from getting the straw on the strawberries to getting everything stowed away for the winter was challenging.

And for my neighbours, who have crops still in the field waiting to be harvested, this fall’s weather has being very frustrating.  I’m hoping that the brunt of winter can hold off until at least Christmas.

Looking back, it was a great farming season with excellent crops of strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins and squash. Sure, a couple of our minor crops were a little disappointing, but there’s always next year.  We’re always thankful for our wonderful customers stopping by regularly to support us.

At this point, southern Ontario is fortunate to have fairly steady and consistent weather patterns, favourable to growing good crops. I am very grateful for good soil and reasonable weather to grow our crops. I’m also grateful for amazing people with whom to work helping us to grow good food. Not everyone in our world has this privilege!

A fresh start

by Jay Reesor

It’s a new season! A new season filled with its own unique weather issues and questions.  Will it be too hot and make it a difficult strawberry season?  Will it be too dry? Making it a challenge for our sweet corn crops.  Will it be too cold and not let the pumpkins mature and making them stay green until late into the season?  Will it be too wet and not let us get our field work done on time? It will probably be a little bit of all of these challenges, but every year that I have been farming we’ve always had some kind of a crop.  I’m grateful for that!

And with the new season comes a new group of young adults to work along with us in the farm market and in the fields. Getting to know our new young staff and reconnecting with returning staff is one of the pleasures of a new season. I’m hoping we all have a safe and productive season working together.

I hope this new spring season is a good one for each of our readers. Thank you for your patronage to our farm and store through the years. And if you are a gardener, remember, the best food is the food you grow yourself. So, get growing!

Inspecting the spring strawberry fields became more fun recently with my grand-daughter at my side and my visiting Alberta cousin Art Reesor, on the right.

Farm Market News

You’ll find familiar and new faces ready to serve you this summer at our farm market. Last week the staff came together for training and they’re eager to stock our shelves with Ontario produce and help you find your favourite fruit pies, cookies, frozen meats, Reesor’s own frozen prepared foods and more!

This week we have lots of asparagus, rhubarb, greenhouse vegetables, baking, preserves and hanging baskets and as the summer goes on, more and more Ontario goodness will be here for you.

New this year are pretty hanging baskets with a unique green moss-like basket and chain.

Key Dates for Ontario Produce

Depending on the weather, here are some seasonal produce start dates to keep in mind:

  • Asparagus: Now
  • Rhubarb:  Now
  • Strawberries:  About June 15
  • Pick Your Own Strawberries: About June 21
  • Peas: Pick Your Own & Ready-Picked About June 21
  • Green beans: Late June
  • Sweet Corn: About July 21
  • Pick Your Own Pumpkins: Early October

Celebrating a good crop year

It has been a good year here on the farm. All of our  main crops did really well including the strawberries,  sweet corn and pumpkins, despite some very wet weather in the spring and very dry weather in the summer.  Our early green bean crop, however,  was totally rained out in the spring and was almost a total failure.


Usually seen on a tractor in the summer, Jay spends some time helping out at our town market in the winter. 

I am grateful for our successes and for all of the people who helped with our crops including my farmer nephew Grahame, and neighbours Jacob Reesor and Peter Reesor. These guys all worked really hard in the strawberry, sweet corn and pumpkin fields to contribute to a successful cropping year.

What do we do with our failures?  Our green bean crop was so bad most of it was not worth harvesting.  We can quit and feel sorry for ourselves or we can learn from our failures, make improvements and move on. That’s what we’re doing with the green beans and I have found that’s the best recipe for success with personal failures as well.

I hope all of our readers have a wonderful Christmas season and a peaceful and rewarding new year.

It’s time to pick your own strawberries at Reesor’s Farm Market

reesors-pick-your-own-strawberries
Come see how strawberries grow and enjoy a farm experience while you have fun picking our juicy, delicious Ontario strawberries. It’s our 30th year of Pick Your Own (PYO) strawberries and it’s so much fun to meet grandparents, parents and children who make it a tradition to pick strawberries together in our fields.
No time to pick? We have plenty of ready-picked strawberries available by the litre and by the flat in our Farm Market and at Reesor’s Market & Bakery, Main St., Stouffville.

We plan to have PYO strawberries available until early July, but strawberries are very sensitive to the variables of heat and rain, so please plan to pick soon. Our planned PYO hours for June 18 and June 20-25 are 8 am-5 pm, but may change according to the weather. Please call 905-640-4568 for a pre-recorded message about hours and picking conditions for the day you plan to come pick. Please remember we are closed Sundays.
Here’s what to expect when you pick strawberries at Reesor’s:

  • Free admission to the field.
  • Straw between the rows and under the berries making it more comfortable for you and keeping the strawberries cleaner when it rains.
  • Helpful, friendly staff at the fields to assign you rows of strawberries from which to pick, so you can pick more berries more quickly.  You won’t be picking from picked-over berries.
  • Bring your own containers or purchase baskets from our staff in the strawberry fields.
  • Convenient field-side parking.
  • Hand washing & toilet by the field.
Find out more about our strawberries and pick your own on our website:

Back on the land

reesors-jay-may-2016

by Jay Reesor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. At least it is for farmers because it’s the beginning of a brand new season. Over the winter Grahame and I were  planning seed varieties, new crops to try, new equipment for those crops and now we finally get to put our plans into action! What’s terrific is that Mother Nature has also been cooperating with a generous amount of drying weather so that we can be on the land.

Here it is just May 6 and we have sweet corn and green beans planted and already out of the ground, as well as a good chunk of our new strawberry plants transplanted. So, it’s an exciting time of the year. (Look closely in the photo above and you can see the green bean plants staying warm under the corn-based, biodegradable plastic.)

reesors-tractor

Thanks to our transplanting team, Grahame on the tractor, Peter, Doc and Lukki our 2017 strawberry crop is in the ground. Thinking about planting a garden this year? Just remember, the best food is the food you grow yourself. Plant on!

It’s quiet time on the farm

jay-reesor-and-tractor

by Jay Reesor

Mid-December is a very quiet a time around the farm compared to any other time of the year. Sure, there are some things to do in the farm workshop and a few details to take care of at my farm desk, but with the last jobs in the field complete, it’s time for a change of pace. I am looking forward to doing those jobs in the shop and thinking and preparing for next season.

It is remarkable though how quickly another farm season comes around because in about two and a half months it will be time to frost seed the wheat field with red clover seeds to follow the wheat crop. And every year many farmers tap their maple trees in February. But in the meantime I am looking forward to the Christmas season with my family and enjoying the slower pace that winter provides me as a farmer. Wishing everybody a wonderful holiday season!