We are in the Beaver Valley just outside of Thornbury. This is our home farm, and we are celebrating our 103rd anniversary of family apple growing.
We started with the farm worker program in 1979. The seasonal workers arrive in the spring to help us prune, thin, plant trees, and do all the regular Orchard growing practices. The fall harvest is when the majority of our workers come. We presently have 60 Jamaican workers helping us. We consider these workers our family.
There would be very little horticulture in Ontario without the offshore worker program. We absolutely could not farm without our seasonal employees. The impact of not having their assistance would not only be felt by us.
We all get together for an annual chicken dinner after the harvest season and before the workers return home. A large number of our team will stand up and want to talk about themselves and, more importantly, their family at home. I’m always amazed at how they speak of the program and its importance to their families. The supplemental income has allowed them to provide a better education for their families. It is great to see how many of their kids turn out to be engineers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers – you name it. They are really proud of what they have been able to do for their kids, and that makes them proud of themselves.