You could say going from a ‘regular’ job to farming runs in the Wynn family. Owners Sarah and Jim Wynn are now in their 10th season operating the farm, but the orchard was originally planted by Jim’s grandfather over 35-years ago.
The late Mr. Wynn was Crown Attorney in Napanee, but the desire to live life in the fields was irresistible and led him away from the courthouse. He and his wife Joan took up apple farming instead and started serving the Lennox and Addington region with a fall-friendly pick-your-own agritourism experience.
“Going from being a lawyer to a farmer is pretty impressive,” says Sarah. “He is the one who had the vision. He planted all those original trees.”
Jim spent the majority of his life on the farm, instilling in him a love for farming, while Sarah grew up as a city girl in Peterborough. The two met when Sarah was in school studying to become a registered nurse, and never in her wildest dreams did she expect to own a farm. But when the opportunity blossomed, the decision was an easy one. For Jim, it was a return to his agricultural roots; for Sarah, it was a lifestyle change she’s come to love.
Keep Growing – One Year After The Other
To say the Wynn family have their hands full is an understatement. While running the farm and raising three children, Jim works full-time as a mechanical engineer and Sarah continues to work as a part-time registered nurse.
Still, that doesn’t stop them from following their passion for farming, and since their first harvest in 2012, they’ve added a little something new to the visitor experience. Sarah and Jim like to keep things fresh and fun, all while adding to the ambiance of a fall farm.
- The legendary Wynn Farms’ corn maze was the first addition back in 2013;
- Caramel apples, which are a huge hit on the farm, were added to the mix in 2016;
- The pumpkin patch was planted between 2017–2018; and
- Flowers and farm-fresh popcorn started poppin’ off their roadside stand in 2020.
Education is a big part of the experience at Wynn Farms, too. From pruning and planting to maintaining and harvesting, Sarah and Jim love to pass along their knowledge, whether to guests of the orchard or their impressive social media following.
Come September, the learning continues, with the farm playing host to several school groups up until November when things begin to wind down.
An A-Maze-Ing Experience For The Whole Family
The maze is hand drawn by Sarah on graph paper ahead of time, and then after a lot of math and mapping, Jim does the planting and cutting. Each year, the maze features a new theme –Canada’s 150th anniversary featured a beaver and a maple leaf, while last year was centred around the pioneer days.
“I’ve always enjoyed learning about pioneers,” admits Sarah, “and with COVID, people are baking more and they’re at home with family. It’s been more of a community-focused time, so it was a really great opportunity to educate people about how pioneers lived.”
Throughout the maze, Sarah spaced out learning areas to educate guests about the lives of pioneers, including the roles of each family member and the types of transportation use. She even supplied old fashioned cornbread and apple crisp recipes for guests to collect, take home and cook up whenever they want.
True to agritourism, this takes an on-farm experience and lengthens it by keeping visitors engaged even after they’ve returned home. For Sarah and Jim, it’s one of the things they love most about the business – educating others and connecting them to a lifestyle that’s different from their own.
This philosophy continues into the off-season, too. The Wynns enjoy staying in touch with customers online, updating everybody on what’s happening at the farm and sharing pictures of the stunning apple blossoms in the spring. They even receive the odd call or email about how to prune an apple tree or whether or not a mysterious bug is harmful, and they’re happy to provide advice to these backyard growers.
We love engaging with customers and helping locals troubleshoot. It’s a special connection – you can’t call a large grocery store and ask them about a tree problem, but you can call your local farmer.
The relationship between a family-run farm and local residents in South Eastern Ontario is special, indeed. The Wynn family is adamant about their pride in the area for that reason, especially Lennox and Addington. They believe firmly that it’s a community where people care about people, and the people care strongly about the small businesses in the region.
Sarah, for one, adores the community and everything it has to offer.
You can drive 30-minutes in any direction and still have a really great time and still feel that sense of rejuvenation. You can still feel like you got away on a mini-vacation.
So whether you call the area home, or you’re just passing through South Eastern Ontario, be sure to stop by Wynn Farms. Pick a few apples, enjoy some popcorn and lose yourself in one of the most memorable mazes you’ll ever see.