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Where Freshness Makes the Difference – Herrle’s

They’re known for their sweet, tender corn.

All across Waterloo Region and beyond, people travel to St. Agatha to sample it.

But Herrle’s is more than just a corn stand. Their farm market has so much more to offer.

Howard and Elsie Herrle first began selling sweet corn in 1964 and the seasonal family business just celebrated its 55th anniversary.

“When customers came to the farm, they would go out to the field and pick it,” says Michelle Herrle.

“Our commitment to freshness continues to this day with all of the products that we offer. Our motto is, “Where Freshness Makes a Difference!” Today we offer a full array of fresh Ontario produce, along with baking, preserves, salads, beverages, cheeses and meats – everything that families need for fresh summertime eating.”

Howard and Elsie first began growing a few acres of sweet corn and sold it from their garage.

It didn’t take long for the Herrle name to become known for its ‘fresh from the field’ sweet corn.

Shoppers choosing fresh corn, Photo: Barbara Geernaert

In 1988, the farm market was built and the season was extended to October 31. Field production also expanded to include sweet corn, peas, beans, cucumber, beets, spinach, zucchini, squash, and pumpkins.

In the same year, a bakery was built in the farm market where customers are greeted with the aroma of freshly baked pies, muffins, butter tarts and cookies.

In 1995, the Market expanded with a beautiful post and beam addition which was hand notched, pegged and constructed by a team of local Mennonite craftsmen.

The following year, the season extended into June to include fresh strawberries, with a “Pick Your Own Patch” for customers wishing to head into the fields.

With an indoor train for youngsters and an outdoor corn maze and play area, a visit to Herrle’s has something to offer the entire family.

In 2005, Herrle’s Country Market expanded its cold storage and retail floor space to better support the growing demand of fresh summer foods.

It also extended its product lines to include: salads, cheeses, dairy and frozen barbecue meats such as sausages, hamburgers, and chicken.

In early December, 2016, Howard Herrle, co founder of the family business, passed away.

Today, the family run farm market offers fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, breads and fresh baking, cold grocery and frozen meats, homemade jams and preserves, honey, maple syrup, fruit juices, snack foods, and decorative wooden crafts from early June to October 31.

Operated by Howard and Elsie’s adult children, the family tradition continues.

Herrle’s employee bundling fresh beans, Photo: Barbara Geernaert

“It is something that we as family members, are all grateful for – the opportunity to work together,” Michelle said.

“And many of the next generation of Herrle’s are also involved in the family business, working in the fields and in the market.”

Today, the farm grows 120 acres of corn which is harvested from mid July to mid October, weather permitting.

And what is the secret to the ‘sweetness’ of Herrle’s corn?

“It’s fresh from the field”, Michelle says.

“It’s not GMO and we grow yellow and bicolour varieties that fall into two main classifications.”

The first is sugary enhanced (sweet and tender) which is 20 – 30 per cent sugar content and is best eaten fresh. The other is gourmet sweet (very sweet and tender) and is 30 – 50 per cent sugar content. It can be refrigerated for up to a week.

“With regards to early or late corn, there are a few distinctions – slight variation in flavour and sweetness but generally, the quality and sweetness are consistent from start to the end of the season,” Michelle said.

“We invite your family to come and enjoy our market, in it’s beautiful agricultural setting that we are proud to call home.”

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