Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.
To be a part of the re-emergence of family-run, organic farms promoting sustainable agriculture for generations to come.
Transparent, environmentally conscientious, ethically driven, and determined to produce and bring the same food to your table that we serve our own family.
The desire to purchase and establish a farm found its origins in a genuine commitment to transforming our personal health, lifestyle, and to source our own food. Building a farm from the ground up also represents the fulfilment of a dream not only for us but our family as well. The shift from city life to the rewards of farming has already enriched our lives more than we could have ever predicted.
Seven Fields Farm and Orchard is a new beginning and a major undertaking. Both of our families are emigrants who came to Canada for a better life, and we are looking to continue that dream by putting our roots down in a province and region close to our hearts.
While our roots inform the move to agriculture, our sincere desire to establish a farm that employs organic and environmentally conscience principles is very much the vision we pursue. The early years of our farm will be spent creating sustainable and viable farming practices that provide a successful foundation to eventually partake in Ontario’s many smaller scale family-run farms.
The next few years will also see a transformation in land use and rehabilitation. We now care for a large black walnut orchard, apple orchard, and supervise the production of hay and the raising of beef cattle with neighbouring farms. Ultimately, we hope to bring excellent organic produce (i.e. vegetables, apples, honey, etc.) to tables across the province and, with the help of family, friends, and those who wish to participate in building a healthier future, Seven Fields Farm & Orchard will be an asset to the Township of Stone Mills and the County of Lennox & Addington.
Our Little Piece of Lennox & Addington County
The land on which the Seven Fields Farm & Orchard lies can trace its history as a farm back to the early 19th century based on county registry records. Originally granted to John Clark in 1846 by the Crown, the farm then constituted 100 acres of the western portion (plots were traditionally granted in 200-acre plots – east and west) with a homestead abutting a creek near the rear of the property. We have found remnants of the early stone foundation and hope to rehabilitate it in the years to come. Our own personal research into the history of the area indicates a predominance of dairy and cattle farms settled first by United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American Revolutionary Wars, and then Europeans (settlers from England, Ireland, and Eastern Europe) in the ensuing decades. The area has largely retained its history through a continued reliance on farming and remains a beautiful blend between the Canadian Shield to the north and the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario lowlands to the south.
The arrival of the railroad (which traverses the very northern boundary of our property) in 1912 split the original property in two: 30 acres north of the tracks; and 70 acres south of the tracks. While largely used for cargo transport now, the railway brought considerable success to the hamlet of Enterprise and the surrounding area by connecting it to the rest of the province. The earlier Bay of Quinte Railway which had a station in Enterprise (see picture above) fuelled the lumber and livestock industry in the area. The Seven Fields Farm & Orchard now sits on the 70 acres south of the tracks near the village of Enterprise and is neighboured by large cattle, dairy and beef farms. One can still hear the distinct train whistle in the distance when the trains pass through town.
We recently discovered that a large portion of the forested parts of our farm, and indeed the 30 acres north of the CPR tracks severed many years ago, had significant maple syrup production. While many of the grand maple trees were cut for wood years before we acquired the property, many maple saplings were put in place inspiring us to perhaps revitalize maple syrup production in the near future. We will continue to research the rich history of our farm, the County and of the hamlet of Enterprise. The more we uncover of our history, and that of the area, the richer our experience as new farmers will be.
In a description on the Lennox and Addington County website, our area is described as follows: “Lennox and Addington County is situated in southeastern Ontario, midway between Toronto and Montreal. Conveniently centred between the cities of Kingston and Belleville, the County is within two hours travel time of the nation’s capital, Ottawa.
The County covers a sprawling area of 2,777 square kilometres, stretching from Lake Ontario northward over 130 kilometres to Renfrew County. The northern half of the County forms part of the Canadian Shield and as such is rugged, rocky, covered with a maze of lakes and forests. The southern half of the County is essentially rural, with the exception of urban Napanee and the suburban community of Amherstview within Loyalist Township. The rural area is dotted with a number of villages and hamlets which function as commercial and tourism centres for the surrounding area.
Settled at first by United Empire Loyalists and later by American and European pioneers, the County is alive with reminders of a rich past: the family names of the earliest pioneers endure, and hundreds of grand Victorian homes and farmsteads still stand as symbols of an era of hard work and bustling growth, their survival and vitality a testament to the vision of the founders.
The County’s strategic location, in close proximity to one-third of North America’s population, its attractive mix of farmland, its open spaces, forests, lakes and its stable, thriving communities provide a friendly environment for significant economic growth in the 21st Century.”
The Hamlet of Enterprise
Enterprise’s history is closely linked to the region’s United Empire Loyalist heritage, and indeed a close relationship to agriculture and lumber. Enterprise was settled around 1830 by United Empire Loyalist Orin Jackson, who built a sawmill (only a few remnants of this sawmill remain). The community was first known as Thompson’s Corners after Robert Thompson, and Irish emigres who opened the first corner store. When the post office was established in 1854-55, residents felt their community should have a more suitable name. A visitor remarked that the hamlet was a ‘most enterprising place’ and Thompson suggested that Enterprise should be its name. Enterprise was known locally as ‘Shirttail Corners’ until the 1930s but has fully embraced its current name.
The following is a section taken from the History of the County of Lennox and Addington by Walter S. Herrington in 1913. It describes the early history and founding of Enterprise, Ontario.
“The village of Enterprise has fully justified the expectations of its godfather by growing into a neat well kept business centre, not boasting of any extensive manufacturing, but well equipped with a number of stores of every description calculated to provide for all the wants of the thrifty farming community in the centre of which it is located. Fifty-seven years ago it was known as Thompson’s Corners, so named after Robert Thompson, the first merchant to open up a general store at this place. This store was located on the north-west corner of Concession and Main Streets opposite the store now occupied by Dr. Carscallen. One Adam Scott, a cobbler, had a bench in the same building, and mended the soles and patched the boots of such of the inhabitants who were not able to perform this service for themselves. Thompson sold out to one Joseph Campbell, who for some time continued to carry on business at the corner.
The leading inhabitants had for years been agitating for a post office, as the nearest one was at Camden East and, when the petition was granted the question arose as to the name, as it was felt that Thompson’s Corners, while it had served the purpose as indicating the location of Thompson’s store, was not at all suited as the name of an important distributing point of Her Majesty’s mail. Thompson, who was looked upon as the sage of the neighbourhood, took the matter in hand and called upon his friend Mrs. Edward Cox, mother of Colonel Robert Cox, to discuss the question. They had both been school teachers in the Emerald Isle and therefore were qualified to dispose of it, and after a consultation they agreed upon the name “Enterprise,” and Enterprise it thereafter became and probably will remain, as the inhabitants are rather proud of the appellation and are doing their best to fulfil the prophesies of those who bestowed it. At first the post-office department provided only a weekly service; and the first mail carrier was a one-legged man, who, mounted on a shambling nag, with a mail-bag over his shoulder, fully realized the confidence placed in him by Her Majesty and announced his approach to the village by several loud blasts on a tin horn which he carried slung over the pommel of his saddle. This custom evoked from the village sage the following:
“Blow ye the trumpet blow.
The gladly welcome sound.
The mail of Enterprise has come
So get your news and start you home.””
Note: Images courtesy of the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives