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agriculture & agribusiness

Farming in Middlesex Rome was not built in a day. Nor were Middlesex farms. Although the county’s potential for agricultural development was clear to early settlers and government officials, it took many generations of farm families to make their vision realized on the ground. When historians talk about the early years of Upper Canadian settlement, they often start with a discussion of “Simcoe’s Plan,” referring to the geographical and social design the colony’s first Lieutenant-Governor, John Graves Simcoe, spearheaded in the early 1790s. Simcoe, born and raised in England, sought to establish in Upper Canada a “British” system of trade, where farmers lived and worked in the countryside and took their goods to market in towns and

cities, just as they had in the Mother Country.

This is what developed in Middlesex. Farmers near London brought their produce to the city for quick sale, where it fed the urban population and soldiers at the city’s Garrison, or was traded for export. Those who lived farther afield sold their goods in Strathroy, Delaware, Glencoe, Lucan, or Dorchester. Farmers also traded with one another and with nearby General Stores, regularly selling produce, livestock, and finished goods within their own neighbourhoods. This meant rural Middlesex was heavily connected to local and international trade networks from its very inception. Few households in the region were isolated or cut off from wider economic contexts. Pioneer farmers raised pigs for

the salted pork trade; harvested wheat to send first to local mills and then to other buyers; grew grain for the colony’s breweries and distilleries; and gathered hides and skins for regional tanneries. When the Grand Trunk and Great Western railways arrived in the 1850s and 1860s, trade increased even more. In the following decades during the “Agricultural Golden Age,” new technologies arrived in southwestern Ontario, including gang plows, mowers, and threshers which farmers adopted quickly to increase their productivity. Each allowed them to extract the potential Simcoe and his contemporaries had seen in the soil. By this time, urban populations had grown to become key sources of income for rural families. They needed large

Your Farm for Fun, Food and Family! Apple Land Station is the family farm enterprise of the Muzylowsky family. The Station is located north of the village of Dorchester on Richmond Street. Apple Land Station is ‘Your Farm for Fun, Food and Family’, which features a gift store, bakery, fall harvest of apples, pumpkins, squash, gourds and more. Families enjoy the train ride into the heartland of the farm to pick, visit the animal barn, play on sand castle mountain, relax and enjoy the splendour of an autumn day. Come, we’ll meet you at the Station!

Dundas Street East, 4 km east of London. Watch for the signs. 329 Richmond St., Dorchester Mid August to Christmas Mon-Sat 9-5, Sundays and holidays 10-5; January to June Saturdays 9-5

Phone 519-268-7794

Middlesex Business Matters Magazine • Volume 1 ~ Issue 2

Middlesex business matters vol 1 issue 2 fall winter 2015  

The second issue includes articles about the history of farming in Middlesex, Bill 18, Manufacturing in Thames Centre and The Evolution of t...