Avonmore Berry Farm has been a mainstay in Avonmore for almost 40 years. It’s a place where community means everything – where family and friends are never too far away and everybody looks after one another. And it’s just a short, scenic drive north of Cornwall along Country Road 15.
Pam Phillips and her late husband David took over Avonmore Berry Farm from David’s parents in 1991, and what started as a small farm with only a few acres in 1981 is now a 20-acre paradise. David was a grower from the beginning, while Pam was a graduate who fell in love with a farmer and married into the lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle she didn’t plan for but one she can’t live without.
As with many of the farms in South Eastern Ontario, it’s a family affair at Avonmore. The Phillips’ children—Megan, Alex and Andrew, along with Andrew’s fiancee Laura—are all active on the farm. All hands are on deck year-round, with Andrew now overseeing all the cropping.
The family prides themselves on providing the community with fresh food and quality you can only find from a local farm. “Everything revolves around customer satisfaction,” says Pam. “Quality is of the utmost importance to us. Freshness and quality. And then just seeing our customers satisfied with what we’ve done.”
Of course, that passion is mirrored throughout the community, with residents choosing family-owned options over large corporations and Big Box alternatives. When asked what makes Cornwall and SDG Counties such a special place, Pam was quick to reinforce the love-local sentiment.
“It’s the welcoming people of our area. The support and kindness of the people is overwhelming.”
It’s A ‘Berry’ Awesome Place, From Spring To Fall
Originally, Avonmore Berry Farm started as a pick-your-own strawberry farm, but it’s evolved into a hotspot for fresh fruit and great-tasting vegetables. This includes an extensive garden with seasonal produce such as:
- asparagus, carrots, onions and garlic
- cucumbers, peppers and lots of sweet corn
- tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries
The farm also offers fall favourites such as apples and pumpkins, while wagon rides are given to those interested in touring the grounds and learning about the ins and outs of farming.
Prior to the pandemic, farm-to-table dinners were held a few times a season at the farm’s on-site pantry. The dinners included a cocktail hour poured by a local brewery or winery; a catered meal cooked by a local chef featuring the Avonmore’s produce and protein from another nearby farm; and the events were concluded with a make-your-own strawberry shortcake for dessert.
Everything is available for purchase in person on the farm, and Avonmore operates a roadside stand in Cornwall, too, while attending several farmers’ markets during the summer and early fall. This includes:
- Seaway Valley Growers market in Cornwall;
- Maxville Farmers’ Market;
- Long Sault Farmers’ Market; and
- two Ottawa Farmers’ Markets (Lansdowne Park and Ray Friel Centre in Orléans).
The farm is open from mid-June—when strawberries are ripe for picking—until Halloween. The farmers’ markets and the roadside stand typically operate until Thanksgiving. Hours of operation are 9AM–5PM daily, with extended hours during the pick-your-own strawberry season – farmers’ market hours vary, so be sure to check their websites before visiting.
Celebrating 40 Seasons In 2022
Despite the hardships of the pandemic and recent family tragedy, Pam and her children are dedicated to continuing the Avonmore Berry Farm tradition. It’s been a journey marked with growing pains, but that’s just life on the farm. Pam’s son Andrew said it best, “I hate how much I love this business.”
A farmer’s life is dictated by unpredictability, with fears of drought and frost ever-present. But when the crops begin to thrive and the hard work starts paying off, it’s a life most growers can’t give up.
“I feel that’s just it for a lot of people in agriculture. It’s just in them. They love what they do, even though it’s early mornings and long days – and always on the weekends.”
Next season marks the farm’s 40th harvest, and Pam is looking forward to celebrating the milestone with the community. She was reluctant to give any details, but she did tease bringing back the farm-to-table dinners in The Pantry.
To stay informed, you’re encouraged to like Avonmore Berry Farm on Facebook. The team actively shares what it’s like running a farm, including maintaining the grounds during the off-season, pruning and irrigating, caring for the crops and preparing to welcome visitors during the harvest.
If you’re passing through Cornwall this summer or during the fall, be sure to take a quick drive off the beaten path to Avonmore.
“You can taste the difference when you buy it where it’s grown.”
To learn more about Avonmore Berry Farm, visit their website at avonmoreberryfarm.com.