Toronto - February 14th, 2022 - On a gorgeous Saturday in July, I was in Guelph for an appointment. But of course, prior to departing for said appointment, I made a list of nearby farms and markets that I could visit on the way. First only my list is a farm I found in the very beginning of my Harvest Hunters research, so I was very excited to finally pay it a visit. After venturing a few main roads, I finally made it to 10 Side Road (one of the most beautiful, peaceful roads I have driven down). On my left hand side I spotted a long, dirt driveway that was the obviously the entrance to Wheelbarrow Orchards.
As I slowly drove down the drive, I took in the gorgeous surroundings of tall trees, green grass, chirping birds and singing crickets. I finally made it to the large, red barn (the Wheelbarrow Orchards market) where a man was working on the market signage and greeted me with a gentle smile. The inside of the market was even more rustic than its exterior, lined with wood. The market had local Ontario apples, fresh baked goods, Wheelbarrows Orchards own fresh press apple cider, and their own licensed hard cider sparkling waters. The market also displayed eggs, honey, maple syrup, jams and other preservatives, and foods branded under their Harvest Goodies label.
Wheelbarrow Orchards is a family owned and run farm; and is only one of the several businesses this family has under their belt. No one can deny that the farming community roots of Brad, Heather and Peter Fraser of Fraser’s run generations deep. Brad grew up on and operated the nationally-recognized Spring Farms, a premier Holstein breeder and Heather grew up on Burntrock Farm, a leading Limousin breeder. But when they purchased Wheelbarrow Orchard in 2005, it was a fairly large leap from their collective livestock experience.
This new venture quickly became successful and in 2007, they further diversified their business by starting Harvest Goodies, an on-farm processing facility specializing in local food products. Over the last 11 years, Harvest Goodies has grown exponentially, making over 80 products and supplying 60 wholesale customers. With a focus on showcasing the natural deliciousness of Ontario-grown produce, Harvest Goodies strives to make a quality product using simple, local ingredients. The Harvest Goodies kitchen is famous for being not famous. They do a lot of work on sauces for some of the greatest local made companies that they have been asked to not tell us about. They also offer private label packaging to other brands.
It was in this line of thinking that the idea of Fraser’s Beverage Company started. As a family that has always enjoyed showcasing their homegrown products, the bounty of Ontario, and let’s be real - enjoying a drink every now and then - the progression to cider-making seemed inevitable. So, in 2016, Peter Fraser started to experiment with cider-making and hone his skills at a local craft cider artisan. Two years, a cider-making course, several recipe revisions and taste tests later, production was scaled up and Fraser’s Beverage Company was officially off the ground. Made on the farm and using just two ingredients- local apples and yeast- the Fraser’s have crafted a cider that is easy drinking, dry and refreshing.
There is so much to do, see, and try at Wheelbarrows Orchards. We can’t wait to go back in the fall months to pick our own apples! Visit their website for more information.