DISCOVER THE BOUNTY OF OUR COUNTY
That’s a typical reaction James and Kirsten Richardson hear from those who visit their sprawling family-owned farm in Haldimand County. Situated on the fertile land between the Grand River and Lake Erie, just 10 km east of Dunnville, Richardson’s Farm & Market is a place brimming with nature’s bounty, growing and harvesting a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as producing fresh maple syrup, and offering several family-friendly agri-tourism activities seasonally.
Farming is the type of work that often spans many family generations. Richardson’s Farm & Market exemplifies this enduring commitment to tending the land and carrying on a proud family tradition. In fact, James Richardson is the sixth generation in his family to farm this land. He is passionate about educating the public on how their food is grown and about using environmentally sustainable and proven agricultural methods.
“Since 2008, all of our strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, and squash have been grown using Integrated Pest Management,” explains James. “We use all-natural products, like garlic, kelp, molasses, and organic sprays, wherever and whenever possible. We make every effort to keep the use of chemicals to an absolute minimum. It’s part of our effort to make our farm greener and our crops healthier for our customers.”
Of course, the proof is in the pudding – or, in this case, the produce. The abundant bounty grown, harvested and produced by Richardson’s Farm & Market includes fresh maple syrup, sweet corn, pumpkins, peas, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and bushels more. Of course, for the absolute freshest produce, nothing beats picking your own. “Our pick-your-own strawberry operation began back 1997,” notes Kirsten. “Since then, it’s grown to include garlic, raspberries, everbearing strawberries, and pickling cucumbers .”
Families have been coming back to Richardson’s to pick their own fruits and veggies year after year. “We have been coming here for strawberry picking for the last six years,” says one longtime visitor. “We keep coming back because everyone is so friendly and it’s just so much fun for the whole family. Everyone loves it and looks forward to it. And the berries couldn’t be fresher or sweeter!”
While summer is prime strawberry picking time, Richardson’s Farm & Market is also a great year-round destination. “Our family loves to visit in the fall for the pumpkins and spring for the sugar bush,” says another regular visitor. “We are lucky to have such a wonderful family place to visit with such friendly and hardworking staff right around the corner.”
The sugar bush tours have been a great farm attraction since 2009, taking visitors on a wagon ride to the sugar bush, and giving them the opportunity to see first hand how the Richardson’s boil the sap into syrup.
“This year we are offering two different ways to explore the sugar bush,” notes Kirsten. “For 2022, you can participate in a self-guided tour that gives visitors the option of an at-your-own pace stroll on our groomed trail and a taste of pure maple taffy. While walking through the bush story boards will teach you about the history and steps of maple syrup production. Or for those looking for a bit more, you can opt for the fully experiential maple tour. Where you will engage all your senses as you tap a tree, collect and boil sap in a hollowed log, , taste sap at different stages of boiling and ends with a tasty brunch topped with pure maple syrup. Giving the Maple Experience gives visitors an immersive tour to really experience an authentic maple syrup sapping operation. “
“Both options this year are great family friendly experiences that are fun, safe, and educational” adds in James. “We have heard time and time again that the sugar bush has become a family tradition – and we know people are excited to come back again this year. We are so grateful to have been a destination for family outings in the past and we look forward to opening the farm to visitors to me the sweetest smell on earth!”
The farm market at Richardson’s has hours that change seasonally. Currently they are open Tuesday- Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Making a trip out to visit? Call ahead or check their website to confirm! “We have pure maple syrup, fresh honey, delicious baked goods, hormone-free freezer beef, preserves, jams, and jellies,” notes Kirsten. “All of our baked goods, preserves, jams, and jellies are made from scratch, on our farm in our own health-inspected kitchen. Plus, seasonally, you can find our items at markets throughout the region, including Dunnville Farmers Market, Hagersville Farmers Market, Caledonia Farmers Market, and Hamilton Locke St. Market.”
For those with busy schedules who just don’t have the time to make it out to the farm, Richardson’s will happily come to you. A convenient option offered by Richardson’s is its Summer Food Box Subscription, also known fondly as the Box o’ Produce. “You’ll receive a box of fresh (or preserved) produce weekly for either a 15 week period or 24 week period,” explains Kirsten. “You can opt for the convenience of home delivery, pick it up at the farm or at any of the farmer’s markets we attend.”
When it comes to a delicious way to support local producers, you simply can’t pick a better place than Richardson’s Farm & Market. Indulge in the bounty of the county and enjoy all that they have to offer. It’s as fresh and natural as it gets!
Address: 131 River Rd, Dunnville, ON N1A 2W3
Phone: (905) 774-7507
Haldimand County gratefully acknowledges the support of FedDev Ontario for tourism businesses in Ontario’s Southwest.