Old Thessalon Farm has New Owners

(L-R) Karl Jr, Karl Sr, and Jayden Vahrmeyer at Farm in Huron Shores.
(L-R) Karl Jr, Karl Sr, and Jayden Vahrmeyer at Farm in Huron Shores.

An old farm along the Thessalon River has been purchased and plans are in the works to the see the workable land reclaimed and turned into a stick farm.

Example of yellow dogwood used in fall display.
Example of yellow dogwood used in fall display.
photo by Karl Vahrmeyer.

Karl Vahrmeyer Jr, his wife Annie, and their 4 young children purchased the 175 acre property along River Road in Huron Shores, last year.

Karl (AKA The Stick Man) and his family are wholesale growers of decorative sticks and cut flowers in the Niagara area. Green Park Nurseries, owned by parents Karl Vahrmeyer Sr and his wife Wilma is a family run business, which their son Karl has taken steps to expand by purchasing a farm up north.

Karl and his family start the season off in early spring cutting 20 acres of pussy willow, then move into lilacs, mock orange, and spireria. However, the fall is their busiest season with Thanksgiving and Christmas arrangements in high demand.

Twins Mikayla and Courtney Vahrmeyer in the fields at Green Park Nursery.
Twins Mikayla and Courtney Vahrmeyer in the fields at Green Park Nursery.
photo by Karl Vahrmeyer.

Karl Sr. says, “Red and yellow dogwood is our biggest crop. We cut and bundle half a million sticks in the fall.”  The Green Park properties and staff are at full capacity for the Niagara season. However, by operating a farm in northern Ontario, the season will be extended in both the spring and the fall by about 3 weeks.

The biggest advantage of the Thessalon farm will be the early frost. The leaves will be off and allow the harvest of branches to start much earlier than they can in southern Ontario, which is a huge advantage. They hope to plant 20,000 yellow and red dogwood on the Thessalon farm, once the land is worked up.

The price and availability of farm land locally also had a part in expanding the business north. Property rates continue to climb in the south, deterring many farmers from increasing their operations. Karl had originally come to the Thessalon area looking at purchasing Flood’s Berry Farm, but are happy to see the new owners and now his neighbours, doing well.

The wet, cold spring made it impossible for the Vahrmeyers to get the fields cleared and worked up for planting, but they hope to work away at it this fall and get at least one field ready to plant. The property has 40 acres of workable land, but was left fallow since the 90’s so it will take some time and heavy equipment to get most of the fields back into shape.

Red and yellow dogwood.
Red and yellow dogwood.
photo by Karl Vahrmeyer.