From city to country to city and back again….
Hi, It’s Leslie
Let me tell you a story of a little boy named Jim who dreamed of becoming a farmer. Born in Toronto his yearning was indulged by helping with his family’s backyard garden. Not content to just eat what they grew, he’d pick , load up his wagon and start selling what they grew to his neighbours. And so a pattern began. Throughout his teenage years he’d work as a farm hand on a number of family farms in the Markham, Stouffville area, getting up early and hitchhiking from the city to get to the farm in time for chores and in the summertime boarding with the farm families.
Once he finished agricultural college and after a few years in the corporate world Jim struck out, leased some land and began a farm of his own. In 1972 Forsythe Farms was created. His farming evolved from cash cropping to growing fruits and vegetables – selling them from a roadside stand located at 14th Ave. and McCowan Rd in Markham.
Over the years he watched as the city developed and housing crept closer to the farm eventually moving him out in 1987. That’s around the time we met, fell in love and started a family becoming Forsythe Family Farms. We moved back to the country up to a farm at the northern edge of Unionville on Kennedy Rd. just N of Major Mackenzie Dr. That location allowed us to evolve into an agri-tourism destination for families to come out to the country and enjoy the fresh air and benefits of a farm – good food and time spent together with family and friends. In our on-farm market they could enjoy produce fresh from the fields, pies hot out of the oven and locally made preserves. Outside activities included farm animals to visit, wagon rides and our Enchanted Forest. We were able to stay at this location until the developers terminated our lease in 2013.
We’re back to the country in Greenbank! Located just east of Uxbridge, Jim was actually able to buy a farm to call his own. His dream come true.
We have spent the last 5 years re-imagining ourselves and growing with the times as the times they are a changing. The GTA has exploded in population size and is largely urban. People seem more stressed, cook less, stay inside more and are more connected to technology. In contrast, farms are hands on, immersed in the natural world and in tune with the climate and cycles of the season. We need to connect. We are trying to offer you an opportunity to slow down, ditch the video games for a while and open up to the beauty of the countryside and the benefits of being out in a natural environment. The farming landscape stretches out from our market patio for as far as the eye can see. We have some beautiful sunsets here.
As the years have passed our goal here in Greenbank is to be sustainable in all aspects – Community, Environmentally and Economically. As part of transition planning we incorporated the farm in 2009. We are still people and family focused offering activities that will engage your imagination and relax you. We encourage community supporting each other through our Giving Garden, a 1 1/2 acre plot of land that people can help cultivate, grow and harvest vegetables to give to those needing a hand up. Jim has always farmed keeping the health of the soil and crops in mind and using only what he needs to treat pests and disease. We have also ventured out to farmers markets to get our produce closer to you.
Jim’s passion may be farming but mine is education. Watching farmland turn into roads, houses and business’ and ourselves being displaced by urban sprawl a couple of times, the importance of keeping people connected to the land became essential. In the 27 years+ we have hosted groups our aim has been to have the best school tour ever! No classroom activity can replace being on the farm – the smells, the sounds and the sights. Through the dedication and ongoing learning of our farm educators we strive to keep our tours relevant to the teachers objectives with inquiry based learning and open play areas.
Eat Fresh from the field – Eat Local has been a mantra that has focused attention on agriculture that surrounds you. We encourage you to take the time to come out and explore our farm and all we have to offer.
Greenbank, a beautiful spot in Durham Region!
Come out and enjoy our on-farm market, fun farm family activities, school tours, field trips and birthday party programs that are now at our home farm in Greenbank, located in Durham Region just 10 minutes east of Uxbridge.
We’ve been establishing our roots here since 1997. Celebrating the harvest with our seasonal festivals are still highlights in our growing year. You can still find us at the Markham Fair which takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving.
We’re bringing the farm closer to you. Check out the farmers markets we attend and our CSA (community supported agriculture) programs.
A guiding principle in all we do –
It is important for everyone to stay connected to farms, knowing and caring about where their food comes from. Our school tours and field trips were developed with this mission in mind.
Many of our activities for the public provide opportunities to reconnect to agriculture and nature through our pick your own crops, farm animals, a fun farmyard, forest trail and our on farm market with produce fresh from our fields.
Our own education is ongoing. We are continually seeking out new ideas and better ways of doing things through tours, conferences and suggestions from our staff and customers. This way we strive to keep our farm fresh and fun for our family, staff and our customers.
Thanks for the memories –
For many of you, visiting our Markham farm location was a long standing tradition. Each new season we reconnected; watching your kids grow and over the years come back with families of their own. This tradition continues here in Greenbank and it is what makes our farm so special to us.
We thank you for being a part of our lives. Join us on our journey. Stay in touch through our farm news. Sign up here!