Sep 07, 2022

By Christine Ross

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They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. And this is definitely the time of year to pick the juicy red fruit as farms across the GTA are now open for the season.

Fred Archibald

“The two busiest years in our entire history were 2020 and 2021, the last two COVID years and it just happened to be the right place at the right time you know where picking apples gives you plenty of potential to social distance,” says Fred Archibald, owner of Archibald’s Orchard and Estate Winery in Bowmanville.

His business has been growing apples since 1968 and pick your own for almost 40 years offering ten varieties from over 10,000 trees and our tastes have changed over the years.

“The most popular one is by far Honeycrisp, Red Delicious used to be our most popular variety and now we’re down to just one row.”

Half the income of this mom and pop plus one — Fred’s wife and daughter help run the business — comes from their winery on site.

These days, orchards are branching out as agritourism grows.

Watson Farm

“We did start out as a pick your own farm, but definitely over the years we’ve been increasing the different options that families have when they visit here,” says Mariah Bradley who is operations manager at Watson Farms also in Bowmanville.

“We have playground, a petting zoo, we offer tractor rides as well.”

Watson Farms offer 22 apple varieties including a new once called Rave.

“So it’s a newer variety that’s only been around for about 15 years but we just started growing it here and people do compare it to a Honeycrisp and it’s definitely a sweeter variety,” says Mariah.

Good luck getting your hands on one! Watson Farms is already sold out of the new variety.

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