Apples (Cortland, Gala, Honeycrisp, Jona Gold. Liberty, Novamac, Red Free, Rhode Island Greens, Russets, Spartans), Pears (Bartletts, Burre Bosc, Claps Favourites, Clara Frigs), Apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized, lightly filtered), Sweet apple cider. U-Pick at the farm, and products available at Halifax Farmers Market).
Credited with popularizing the first “apple U-Pick” in the area in response to the market decline of export apples during the 1960’s, the Boates began a tradition that we now take for granted in the Maritimes.
Demand for organic apple cider vinegar began the Boates new venture – they started collecting wild apples from the old trees in the surrounding forest to make the apple cider vinegar. These were unsprayed, in fact completely unmanaged, wild apple trees. With the popularity of the cider and the support of the organic and health food industry, the Boates decided to try organic apple farming on a larger, more purposeful scale. They started with a heritage organic apple orchard, and they have continued to expand their organic orchard by new plantings every year. They now produce tonnes of organic apple cider, apple cider vinegar, sweet apple cider and fresh apples and even organic pears. Both father and son of Boates Farm have decided that organic is the way they want to proceed – and they have since been working on transitioning all of the 25 acres of apple production into organics.
One of the biggest benefits of switching to a different customer base (from exporting to organics) was the switch in marketing techniques. The Boates are proud of their direct marketing – this way they can keep in touch with their customers and directly in touch with the consumer demand – hearing it directly from their customers at the Halifax Farmer’s Market. “We’re connected to our customers demands and desires – and we feel this is extremely important in our business.”
The Boates revel in the challenges of producing a better quality product: “our experience with direct marketing shows that ultimately, consumers want a better quality product (and it doesn’t necessarily need to be cosmetically better) and we are proud to be producing it for them!”