We are so fortunate that strawberries are grown and available right here in Algoma. The Thomson family has been growing strawberries on their 55-acre property on the western edge of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for nearly 50 years.
Wally and Martha Thomson bought the property in the early 70s and began to grow potatoes. Eventually, strawberries were added and they opened the property for customers as a U-pick operation. Their grandson Brad grew up on the farm and learned, while helping with every aspect of running a farm operation.
Today, after skipping a generation, Brad Morley, his wife Michelle, and their two children now live on the property and run the farm. Brad recently left his off-farm job and became a full-time farmer. Now he has more time to grow the business!
In addition to growing 15 acres of strawberries, the farm grows sweet corn, raspberries, and a variety of vegetables. Brad told me that they are in the process of expanding the farm operation with a new commercial kitchen to process value-added products like the many varieties of jams and preserves they sell. In addition, they’re building an on-farm market where they will be offering not only their own products for sale, but those from other area producers, including from Jardin Farms, Marshall Farms and wild blueberries from Algoma Highland Wild Blueberry Farm & Winery.
Not to worry, the pick-your-own strawberries will be staying! In fact, with the new day-neutral strawberries available, the season will run from July to September.
Thomson Strawberry Farm has a long history of welcoming families to their property for a fun on-farm experience. Customers came as children, and are now bringing their own kids to the farm for the delicious, fresh taste of locally grown strawberries and more. Kids are welcome to play on the playground equipment, while their parents walk into the fields of strawberries to pick. Customers of all ages are welcome to come and pick (or buy ready-picked) berries, pick up some freshly made baking like pies and gluten-free strawberry tarts, or just relax on the patio enjoying some strawberry lemonade.
Thomson Strawberry Farm also welcomes tourists. While their main customer base comes from the residents of Sault Ste. Marie and area, they see many Americans who come by to the farm to get some strawberries not available in their own areas. Many local customers will bring over visiting friends and family, which of course is an important part of the tourism mix.
Brad explained that they are not only expanding their on-farm operations, but they’re also expanding their distribution channels for their farm products. In Sault Ste. Marie, Thomson Strawberry Farm jams are currently available at Rome’s and Pino’s grocery stores as well as the Mill Market. They will also be making frozen whole strawberries available. Some local restaurants are using their products, and he wants to see more of this kind of support from local businesses. Brad says their jams are very popular, with six different varieties, and their Strawberry & Jalapeño Fruit/Pepper Spread is a best seller!
Both Wally and Martha Thomson enjoy coming back to the farm and greeting customers. They get a kick out of watching the kids play and of course keeping a proud eye on their grandson Brad and his family while they preserve the family farm tradition.
I asked Brad when Thomson’s will be open for 2017. He said their goal is Canada Day, July 1, for when they will be open and the strawberries ready. Watch their website and social media channels for the most up-to-date information. Can’t wait!
Thomson Strawberry Farm will be open July, August, and September seven days a week.
Monday to Friday: 8am - 7pm
Saturdays and Sundays: 8am - 4pm
They’re located at 4057 Third Line W. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.