Spectacular, scenic, epic is a great way to describe the drive on Hwy 17 North, from Sault Ste. Marie to Wawa. Along the eastern coast of Lake Superior, it’s been touted as one of the most beautiful drives in Canada.
My driving destination was the Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Farm & Winery on a warm July summer morning. I had been wanting to visit the farm for a few years now, since hearing of its operation. I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to do so recently.
The sandy soil in the Algoma Highlands is perfect for growing not only wild blueberries but, I learned, strawberries, raspberries, and haskap berries, as well as potatoes and rhubarb.
Back in 2006, Trevor and Tracy Laing saw the potential of a piece of real estate just outside of Wawa, Ontario and decided to take the plunge and become famers on more than 640 acres of raw land. It already had a large building on the property, once used as a tree nursery. More importantly, the land grew many acres of wild blueberries as a natural crop.
It’s located just south of the Town of Wawa on Highway 17 (1 Pinewood Drive) in the northern regions of Algoma. Trevor took us on a walking and driving tour of his farm.
I asked a little about his background and he said he was born and raised in the Wawa area, has a degree in geology, was a forestry contractor, and has extensive experience as a real estate investor.
The Laings, along with their four children, are now first-generation farmers, increasing their farming operation since 2012 with plans to continue to grow the business.
The farm employs about 37 people during peak season, which until recently was for just a month during blueberry season. Now with the addition of strawberries and raspberries, they are able to offer more than two months of employment on the farm.
The value-added products from Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Farm keeps their in-house commercial kitchen busy producing a variety preserves, including; BBQ Sauce, Blueberry Syrup, Wild Blueberry Jam, Wild Blueberry Jalapeno Jam, Wild Blueberry Moose Radish, Wild Blueberry Sugar Free Jam, and Wild Blueberry Strawberry Butter.
Their products can be purchased individually, by the case or in a unique wooden gift packaging from one of the outlets listed on their website or online. www.algomahighlands.com