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Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee (DAAC)

2009 Farm Tour

On September 17, 2009, DAAC hosted its seventh annual farm tour. Over 100 participants representing government, public agencies, education system, media and the public attended the event.

The tour was organized around the theme “Redefining Agriculture”, centred on the City of Pickering, showcasing the following four farms:

  • Hy Hope Farm – Family owned/operated since 1976, the business is diverse producing: a variety of vegetable crops; apples, plums, pears, blueberries, other tender fruits; cattle (freezer beef), chicken (meat and eggs). The use of intensive pest management techniques, minimize chemical application. Current crop varieties assist to achieve better yield and returns. In addition to the family, Hy Hope Farm employs 9 seasonal employees. The operation is supplemented by a road side store where produce from the farm as well as jams, preserves and baked goods made on the farm are sold.

  • Greenwood Mushroom Farm – Established in the early 1960’s near Greenwood in Pickering. In 1993, a property was acquired in Ashburn to house the main production site and head office. The Farm produces organic certified white mushrooms marketed by a subsidiary company, Windfill Farms Ltd., supplying national grocery chains. Greenwood Mushroom Farm is one of the 3 largest mushroom producers in Canada. The operation employs approximately 250 people, making it the largest agricultural employer in the Region.

  • Dutchmaster Nurseries Limited – Family operated business founded by Henry Tillaart Sr. in 1970 at a location south of Brougham. The operation was relocated to the present site, east of Brougham, in 1979 to take advantage of the artesian water supply for irrigation. Dutchmaster owns approximately 1,200 acres. Most of the land is dedicated to the growing of large (deciduous and coniferous) caliper trees. This is supplemented with a wide range of shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennials. At the seasonal peak, the operation employs 100, including approximately 40 labourers from off shore.

  • Alsar Farms Inc. – Established in 1994, this operation consists of over 1,000 acres of cash crops (corn, soybeans, wheat and barley). Alsar undertakes all tillage operations but relies on custom operators for spraying and combining. In addition to the full time manager, there are 3 seasonal part time employees.