They’re popping up all over the region and once you see them you know you can’t resist stopping in at a Hewitts Farm Market stand.
For 42 years, the Hewitt name has been synonymous with great sweet corn and eventually with other delicious produce. If you’ve never been to the family farm out in Warminster (just west of Orillia), you have definitely seen the stands on the side of the road or in parking lots around Simcoe County. Curtis Hewitt is the owner and operator of the six Barrie stands and is happy to be carrying on the family tradition that his parents started in 1976.
“Dad was growing and selling sweet corn back since 1976 and it became widely popular,” said Hewitt. “From there it grew into lots of different produce and baked goods that people just can’t get enough of; the corn and butter tarts are the most popular with the butter tarts being mom’s 35-year-old recipe.”
The famous blue roadside stands carry whatever is in season and a little more with green and yellow beans out now along with strawberries, cherries and of course sweet corn. Though anyone can go to the supermarket, Hewitt explains that the stands and family farm are more than just produce and goods; it is about a feeling of days gone by.
“I think people really connect with local farm fresh food,” said Hewitt. “There’s a bit of nostalgia that goes into it when you stop by and grab something on your long family drive or heading home from work; there is an experience. We hear it all the time too, people will always comment about being brought along with their parents or grandparents on trips and stopping in at a stand or farm.”
Hewitt helps run aspects of the business with his two brothers (Trevor and Adam) and being a family business, all the spouses are involved in some regard as well. When Ron and Linda Hewitt started there were two stands; there are now 14 stands between Curtis and his brothers along with a store on the farm, where you can get more than just food and baked goods. Candles, all natural meats, dairy, homemade preserves and many other items can be found at the farm along with activities to keep the kids busy. Hewitt says the main farm is important but that the stands are what most people really know and a lot of work goes into them.
“We have the Corn Buggies, which was dad’s invention, said Hewitt. “He felt we needed more room so he built them higher and allows us to carry more goods to the stands which we do everyday. We try to live up to our motto all the time which is Quality, Homemade, Local. That’s what is important to people most of all.”
While Hewitt is busy handling all those stands and deliveries, its people like Abi Fee who is the face of the stands. The 17 year old was at one Barrie east location this morning and smiling at the folks who were doing some shopping on the way home. In her second year now of summer work for the Hewitt business, Fee loves what she does and wouldn’t change a thing.
“It's great working here because its outside and you’re surrounded by fresh food,” said Fee. “It's nice too because people are usually so friendly stopping in to grab something and you even get used to seeing the same people from time to time; its just a really friendly place to work.”
For more information on Hewitts Farm Market, head over to their website.