(A Witch prepared to help customers make mix bags of pre-picked apples during Farmer Pete’s Halloween Extravaganza at Thiessen Orchards in Leamington, Ontario on October 19, 2019. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)
Ah, to be a kid again. There is a hay-covered ramp to the Hay Mow Barn at Theissens Orchards in Leamington. As Eyes on Windsor witnessed during its Halloween Extravaganza last Saturday, there seems to be no more fun for youngsters than rolling down the ramp.
And while it – and many more fun stations at the farm, including penned goats and pigs, a Jump Pad, tractor-pulled wagon rides – was highly popular the real stars of the event had to be the apples. It is that time of the year, a sure sign of fall and Theissen Orchards was ready with nine varieties, from the ever-popular Macintosh to the Japanese cultivated Mutsu, a cross between a Golden Delicious and the Indo apple.
The Orchard, which dates back to 1934, has been in the Theissen family for three generations and is currently operated by Andrew and Krissy. There have been some changes under their management including the addition of a pumpkin patch and a corn maze.
Second generation Peter Theissen, son of farm founder Jacob, has a growing presence at the farm, or, at least its mascot, Farmer Pete. It was actually Peter who set the stage for today’s farm and its entertainment venues. In 1969, when the market for his ten acres of apples didn’t develop as had been expected, his wife Carol put a wagon at the farm gate and started selling apples by the bag. A year later its pick your own operation was launched and the family has never looked back.
Just after Andrew and Krissy took over in 2013, the pair took advantage of the farm’s greenhouse, where chrysanthemums were first grown in 1949, by turning part of it into a modern-day year-round flower shop with designs by Krissy and her staff.
And of course, apple products, particularly pies, and other treats like hot dogs are on sale at its Kountry Kitchen. This weekend the Kitchen will be open daily then close for the season on Sunday, October 27, ending the annual eight-week run of apple picking and apple selling for the season.
The orchard is located at 400 Talbot Road East in Leamington. Its website is thiessenorchards.com
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.