Our History...From 1995 to now.......
In 1995 we purchased our first property near Lucknow, Ontario with a house and 5 acres with a few apple and pear trees on it. At the time, Mike was working full time at a nearby Hog Farm operation. Wanda was a stay at home mom with 5 children. Wanda wanted to earn a little extra money while staying home with the kids, so we decided to invest in one 20' by 100' greenhouse and try to grow and sell bedding plants. Wanda was no stranger to the greenhouse as her parents had owned and operated a large greenhouse operation in Simcoe, Ontario. So by the spring of 1996 our first greenhouse was up and running, and we were open for business under the name of 'Hillsview Greenhouses'.
That first summer, we also decided to try our hand at the local farmer's market nearby in beautiful Goderich, Ontario. We bought some local produce off of Wanda's brother in the Holland Marsh near Bradford, Ontario, and sold it at the farmer's market along with some of the flowers that we grew in our greenhouse. We fell in love with the market life instantly. From there over the next couple of years, we went on to put up two more 24' x 100' greenhouses, doing several other farmer's markets and growing more and more of our own produce to sell.
By 1998 we had a full fledged Garden Center in operation. Mike had quit his job at the hog farm, and we were renting land to grow more produce on, and we were doing more and more markets. We also now had 6 children. We had expanded our farm name to 'Hillsview Greenhouses & Market Produce'.
In 2004 we decided to do a test plot to try to grow our produce without any chemicals. By this time we were growing about 15 acres of produce, and we now had 7 children. Our older children were now getting to the age that they were being a big help around the farm and at the markets. Our test plot was a huge success, and the following year we changed everything over to Chemical Free.
Then in 2007 our oldest daughter, Brittany, got married. So we lost one of our main greenhouse help and after 11 years we decided to close up the Retail Garden Center part of our business. In this way we were better able to concentrate all of our efforts on the growing of our produce, which was being more and more demanding on our time and energy.
In the fall of 2009 we decided to expand again, this time with adding an on-site kitchen to put our 'extra' produce to better use. It was really bothering us that there was so much wasted produce that could not be used to sell at the markets because it was not #1 quality. So by the spring of 2010 our kitchen was ready to go. We started with jams, pickles, salsa, spaghetti and chili sauces and organic cookies. Over the first year we added other organic baking, organic granola, Gluten Free products, and we constantly experimented with other products as well. We had decided to remain completely nut free, and to continue to make everything home-made right on the farm to make as much items as possible from Ontario Grown products.
We once again changed our farm name to fit more with the current situation, so we changed it to just plain 'Hillsview Farms' - HVF - and the kitchen was called Hillsview Farms Country Kitchen. However, after only 3 years, we had to close the kitchen part of the business because we did not have enough help to keep it going, and for some reason...Wanda couldn't do EVERYTHING by herself!!
We then started opening produce stands locally around Huron County. We now have stands in Seaforth, Clinton and Goderich. And we are happy to say that our daughter Brittany has since returned to work with us at our local stands, and many of you have grown to love and appreciate her almost as much as we do! And in the fall of 2014 her son Gideon was born and now 'helps' her at those stands as well!
In response to our desire and much needed land, in 2012 we purchased another 25 acres of land near St. Helens. This has been an amazing boost in our ability to produce more and more quality organically homegrown produce to supply all of our loyal customers. This has also helped because most of our field hands are from our Amish neighbors, so now they do not have to travel as far to get our field.
Then, as our children were getting older, they started getting married off. In 2012 our oldest son, Justin got married. And in 2013 our next daughter, Alanna, got married. Although we welcomed them all into our family with open arms, we were losing more and more of our workforce! But... as the rest of the kids still at home were getting older, we still had lots of work for them too. And now Justin also has had 2 more children to maybe add to the workforce someday!!
It was getting harder and harder, and more dangerous, to travel by tractor back and forth from our first property to the new property. So in 2015 when the property beside our new field came up for sale, we purchased that property of 25 acres as well, and moved over there. So now we live right beside our 25 acre field, and have another 25 acres to develop as well over the next few years. This has been a great move for our family as we now have full access at all times to our fields and more control over everything that happens there.
We look forward to seeing what happens over the next several years as we keep striving to serve you to the best of our abilities!