Located in Bruce Grey County, just outside the tiny hamlet of Ayton, Ontario you can find one of the oldest organic farms in Canada, Filsinger’s Organic Foods. Founded by Alvin Filsinger in 1953, this farm has stayed true to its roots over the years and has become world renown; Filsinger himself was honoured with the Lifetime Organic Hero Award in 2004 by the Canada Organic Grower’s Association, and his methodologies are studied at McGill University, The Australia Soil and Health Association as well as academic institutions around the world.
Deb worked on the farm from 1985-1990 and became a big advocate of Filsinger’s philosophy, leaping at the opportunity to purchase the property in 2006. Since that time, she has added 1,600 apple trees to the 3,000 already there, as well as currants, pears, rhubarb and numerous other vegetables.
The Farm is certified organic by OCIA International; the soil is treated with seaweed extracts, minerals and compost, everything grown without the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides. The practices utilized on the farm are proof that it is possible to be sustainable, organic, healthy for the workers, the land and the consumers, and profitable. And the product itself is second to none.
Filsinger’s organic pear puree is made from tree-ripened pears grown on their farm, no sugar added, and perfect as a spread or a sauce with pork, duck or poultry. Similar care goes into the apple cider vinegar and the unpasteurized and additive free apple butters and applesauce.
The sweet apple cider, fresh-pressed on the farm, is made with a variety of apples and devoid of preservatives or additives, bottled unfiltered. Served chilled or hot, at skating rinks or in après ski cocktails and toddies, apple cider is a Canadian classic. With the recent proliferation of “brown liquor” cocktails, a hot mulled Apple Jack is both classic and hipster chic.
For the last four years, Filsinger Farms has been holding an Apple Blossom Festival in late May, usually the weekend after Victoria Day, and plans are well underway for the fifth annual festival which features a tour of the farm, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting and craft fairs. If nothing else, the sight of thousands of apple trees in full fragrant blossom certainly sounds worth the trip. In the meantime, you might want to try a Hot Apple Jack. After all, spring is still a few months away!
Hot Mulled Cider Recipe
makes 8 cups
1/2 gallon of apple cider
4 3-inch sticks of cinnamon
15 allspice berries
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
7 pods of cardamom
1 Pour apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high. Quarter the orange and add to the cider with the rest of the ingredients. Heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer. Cover, then reduce heat to low, simmering for 15-20 minutes. Strain, discarding solids.
Makes 8 cups.
Hot Apple Jack
-1 ounce Jack Daniels
– mug of hot mulled cider
-garnish with cinnamon stir stick
more information about the Apple Blossom Festival can be obtained at