Fun & fundraising in the corn maze

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Thanks to everyone’s entry fee to our farm’s 2016 corn maze and the sale of the grain corn in the maze $5,800 will be donated to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Special thanks to Burkholder Farms for harvesting the corn and Reesor Elevators for trucking and drying the corn at no charge. Thanks to Grahame, pictured above on the left, for designing and cutting the maze.

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Everyone had a ton of fun figuring out how to get out of the maze.

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Harvest thoughts

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by Jay Reesor

After our farm market opens for the season in June the summer seems to go by so quickly! It seems like we just got the planting done, but now it’s harvest time. Our high school and university students have gone back to school and now fall is here.  Even though summer is a lovely memory, fall brings us good things like fresh apples and pumpkin pies. Speaking of pumpkins, it looks like a good crop, especially of small and medium-sized pumpkins. Their size reflects the dry summer that we had.

We are still picking great sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans and sunflowers. So it is a busy season around here and it makes me grateful for the quality staff that we have, not just at the farm and farm market, but also at our kitchen and our town market. I hope that Fall 2015 is a wonderful time for you!

Corn maze now open

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Follow the straw path through the field southeast of our farm market where you can explore our corn maze. It’s fun and challenging for all ages, so bring the whole family.  Check out this year’s new design–we think it’s better than ever. We charge a small fee to enter the Corn Maze with proceeds in 2015 going to the Canadian Food Grains Bank.  ($3/person or $10/family)

Ready-picked pumpkins are now available in our farm market and a little later on at Reesor’s in Stouffville.

Bring your camera for photos in the pumpkin patch and with our giant strawman.  It’s free to enter our pick your own pumpkin patch which will open about Oct. 1.

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After you make it through the corn maze you’ll walk beside rows of beans, beets and sunflowers where you can pick your own to take home. Prices are posted by the field or ask in the market.

Read more about pumpkins & our corn maze on our website:  http://www.reesors.ca/pumpkins/

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Hoping for a wonderful warm autumn

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by Jay Reesor

It has been an unusual growing season. It started off late, stayed cool for most of the summer and now we are receiving some beautiful fall weather. Most farmers in our community are very happy to have this stretch of good weather to ensure that their crops are ready for the season’s first frost.

I remember, clearly, 40 years ago in 1974 when our area had a very unseasonably early frost around September 8. The morning after that fateful night, immature corn was totally destroyed. The fields even smelled bad! It does not appear it will be a year like that, but crops are susceptible this time of year.

Do you still have some tomatoes, peppers or corn in your garden?  Keep hoping for some warm weather and keep the blankets handy to cover them up if necessary. Here is hoping for an amazing fall with a long stretch of Indian summer!

Celebrate Ontario’s harvest with the warmth & comfort of a fall meal

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Cooler autumn weather means hearty and comforting Ontario fall harvest foods are ready for you at our Stouffville and 9th Line locations. We’ll have our sweet corn until Thanksgiving at both locations too!

What’s new? Our Gingerbread Spice Muffins–they’re baked every Wed. They’re delicious and also gluten-free. Black Bean Burrito Casserole–stone-ground corn tortillas with a flavourful tomato, brown rice, bean, cheese, and black olive filling. Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Soup–sweet red peppers blended until creamy and smooth with potatoes, cream and spices.

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Our gingerbread spice muffins are gluten free & dairy free.

At our Main St., Stouffville market you’ll find our complete selection of ready-made fresh and frozen soups, entrees and salads including Harvest Gold Soup, lentil sausage soup, chicken pie in various sizes, Penne Alfredo, pumpkin & fruit pies, and Iced Pumpkin Squares.  Here’s a link to a list of all of the Entrees, Soups, and Salads that we make.

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If you’re cooking soups or stews you’ll want beautiful Ontario Nantes carrots, kale, squash, potatoes, organic stewing beef, sausages or chicken. Packing school lunches? Try our natural cold cuts, our own breads, our best-selling molasses crinkle cookies, salads, and crunchy apples to fill the gap. At Reesor’s on the 9th Line come and be inspired to cook from our complete selection of  Ontario-only fruits and vegetables: several varieties of apples, pears, plums, squash, beets, kale, leeks, onions,  and on and on!  Our freezers carry a selection of our most popular soups, entrees, and frozen meats too. And of course we have shelves full of  pies, bread, muffins, butter tarts and cookies.

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Your fall colour tour starts here

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Does your front porch need some colour now that summer flowers are ending?  We have all you’ll need to decorate naturally at Reesor’s Farm Market on the 9th Line at Elgin Mills.

We are bursting with colourful mums, corn stalks, decorative corn, straw bales, all sizes of pumpkins from mini to extra-large ready-picked or in our pick your own patch, gourds and garden mums.

At Reesor’s in Stouffville you’ll find a selection of mums, cut flowers, fall planters, and also pumpkins a little later in the season.

Are you on Pinterest? We’ve pinned some of our favourite fall decor ideas here:  http://www.pinterest.com/ReesorsMarket/autumn-decorating/

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We have lots of ready-picked pumpkins or you can pick your own pumpkins beside our Corn Maze.

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Jacob is part of our farm team chopping down corn stalks for front porches and party decor.

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We have all sizes of pumpkins from mini to extra-large.

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Mums & straw bales.

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Gorgeous gourds in all sizes & shapes.

Reesor’s Corn Maze is now open

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Our corn maze at Reesor’s Farm Market is fun and challenging for all ages. This year we’re charging a small fee to enter the maze and the proceeds go to the Stouffville Food Bank.

Come on into the maze, have fun and get up close and personal with corn!

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Seeds–really small, but really important

by Jay Reesor

For those of you who follow us on Facebook you already know that we received some of our seeds to plant for this year’s crops at our farm. In the shipment boxes were sweet corn, bean, pumpkin and squash seeds.

I select vegetable seeds for many different characteristics. For example, I evaluate sweet corn seed based on the number of days from planting to harvest, the corn’s eating texture and flavour, its vigour when growing, its cob size, its disease resistance, its husked appearance, its unhusked appearance, its ease of picking, its tip cover….. you get the idea.

Every variety of sweet corn seed has a large number of traits and I need to select the seeds that are just right for our Markham growing location. The trait selection list is also lengthy for the other types of vegetable seeds that we grow.

By the way, none of the vegetable seeds that we plant or the strawberry plants that we grow are GMO. The seed varieties that I choose to plant are superior strictly because of the old-fashioned plant breeding techniques that have been around for generations.

GMO seeds and the food they produce are a topic of considerable debate for some people. Food is such an important issue worldwide and I am committed to learning more, and invite you to learn more, about food systems….from every perspective.

Now that I have these amazing small seeds in the shed I am starting to get very anxious to get on the land and get the growing season started!  Those seeds may be small, but like so many things in life that are small, they are really, really important.

Happy seed selection to all you gardeners. Choose some good ones!

It’s quieting down on the farm and in the fields

by Jay Reesor

This is the time of year when our farm market gets its hatches battened down and the corn wagons are parked for  the winter.  Our late summer planting of winter cover crops of rye and oats and clover are well established and we can seriously think about the quieter winter months. One of the final late fall jobs is to uncover the big piles of straw in the berry fields and chop the bales over the strawberry plants to protect them from the very cold winter temperatures. That same straw will help keep the weeds controlled, the berries mud free and make it nice for picking next summer. Seems so far away doesn’t it?

I know that each year many of our farm market customers stock up on as much Ontario produce as they can when the market closes at the end of October.  I am pleased that this year we will be offering as long as we can, Ontario fresh and preserved fruits and vegetables at Reesor’s Market & Bakery in Stouffville, so that we can all continue to eat as locally as possible, year-round.

Pumpkins—It’s time for their 15 days of fame

by Jay Reesor

Yep…it’s that time of year again. Pumpkin season! It is always fun in late August to go out to the pumpkin field and check under the leaves to see what is developing there. This year we were very pleased to see nice, large, well-shaped pumpkins.

And now it’s time for those pumpkins to head to the market for sale. They will end up on peoples’ doorsteps, some in pie, and perhaps some on desktops.

When I was a kid back on the farm, we always used to grow some pumpkins in our garden for carving up for Halloween.  They were pretty, but not nearly as attractive and robust as the varieties we grow now.  That is what good plant breeding will do for a vegetable and pumpkins are no exception. So many crops have benefited from good plant breeding to make them tastier, more disease resistant or more adapted to various climates. Something to be thankful for!

A pumpkin in many respects is associated with bounty and Thanksgiving. I hope that all of our readers have a meaningful and happy Thanksgiving.