Nothing says summer like picking fresh, juicy berries at a family farm just outside of the city.
With the sun shining and the season in full swing, it’s time to round up the kids and take a short, ten-minute drive from downtown Kingston to Fruition Berry Farm. Owners, Christine and Ken Paul, invite you to enjoy a pick-your-own experience that can’t be found at your typical grocery store. And generations of families have done just that since the urban farm opened in 2006.
Of course, the Paul family is synonymous with berry farming, as Ken’s parents operate the long-standing Paulridge Berry Farm in Napanee. Having grown up on the farm, it’s no surprise berry growing is in Ken’s blood, but Christine’s experience was acquired through marriage—and by running the business for the past 16 seasons. She wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love the way of life – being your own boss, being outside, meeting all the people and seeing the generations of families. It’s really fun!
The community aspect of farming is another reason Christine is so passionate about her business. Local residents eagerly await to visit the farm every summer, with many being long-time customers, while the surrounding farmers are happy to lend a hand whenever needed.
A Day On The Berry Farm
Fruition Berry Farm is open from June until the end of October with a short break in August. June-bearing strawberries, which produce fruit for three quick weeks in June, make up the bulk of Fruition Berry Farm’s products. They also offer:
- Raspberries and blueberries in July and early August;
- Pumpkins and apple cider in September and October; and
- A corn maze for families to explore during the fall months.
School tours throughout the fall are also a big part of the business, where kids get a taste of the farm life with hands-on experience in the fields. Tours were put on hold in 2020, but that didn’t stop Christine from posting educational videos online and delivering pumpkins to some of the schools in the community. She remains hopeful the tours will be available in the fall of 2021.
Picking your own food from a local grower is an experience that’s been around for generations, and creating memories and sharing stories are common for all who stop by Fruition Berry Farm. Groups from seniors’ residences will often visit for a few hours, with individuals soaking up the sun and reminiscing of the past when they would pick strawberries as kids.
It’s very much a family tradition for a lot of people. I have pictures from year one and two of parents and their babies – those babies are now 14, 15 and 16 years old.
Customers will often tell Christine about how they’re passing along the tradition by bringing their kids to a pick-you-own farm—just like their parents once did. And the Pauls happily employ those kids, as hiring locals and supporting the South Eastern Ontario region is an important part of the business.
The region’s residents have continued to support the farm over the years, too. In the past, it was common for people to pick litres and litres of berries to make their own jams and preserves or to freeze and use through the winter. Now, the farm is just as busy, but it’s more of a tourism experience with families coming out for the day, picking one basket and enjoying an hour or so in the fields.
Fruition berries are purchased from local Kingston businesses as well. Mio Gelato scoops up baskets in bulk and mixes fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries into their tasty gelato. The Paul’s relationship with Card’s Bakery dates back to the 1960s when Edith Card bought berries from Ken’s parents at Paulridge Berry Farm. Edith’s granddaughter, the current owner of the bakery, continues the tradition by buying berries from Christine and Ken as often as possible.
Plan Your Visit This Summer
Fruition Berry Farm is located just outside of Kingston between Ottawa and Toronto, making it the perfect pit stop on your drive to the cottage this summer. Or if you’re looking to escape for the day—whether you live in Kingston, Gananoque or one of the surrounding communities—Christine and Ken love meeting new people and seeing familiar faces.
There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment picking your own berries. And we want customers to leave with happy memories and full baskets!
The farm is open throughout the week, but with the berry season at its peak, calling ahead or reaching out online is recommended. To learn more, visit the Fruition Berry Farm website or send them a message on their Facebook page.