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Agricultural Hall of Fame

Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association (2019)

Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association

The Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association was nominated by the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture.

The Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association (NFGA) was established by Mr. James E. Johnson in Simcoe on March 26, 1906. Together with 17 charter members, Johnson set out to organize Norfolk County’s numerous small-acreage farmers into a solid and knowledgeable force that could realize the benefits of pooling their product and employing a competent manager to market it.

In the early years of the Association, growers packed their own apples in barrels right in the orchard, under the supervision of Association appointed inspectors. Grades were randomly verified by traveling inspectors and growers were paid according to the number of barrels of each grade they shipped.

The Association’s success was reflected almost immediately in two ways: apple acreage increased and apple quality improved.

Today, through the NFGA’s state of the art facility, they are able to grow, store, pack and market apples for not only the grower members but others within the industry. The NFGA continuously aims to improve and maintain the quality and quantity of fruit as well as ensuring a uniform system of packing, storing and marketing. They are committed to providing consumers with high quality apples twelve months a year, regardless of where they live in North America.

NFGA Fast Facts:

  • Processing plant holds 160,000 bushels (or 3,050 metric tonnes!) in cold storage

  • 80,000 bushels in common storage in Norfolk County

  • Exports apples throughout Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Central and South America, and the Caribbean

  • The Ontario McIntosh is the top seller and recognized as the best apple in the world having been grown in Norfolk since 1798

The industry has undergone many revolutionary changes in how producers grow, treat, handle and market apples. One thing, however, remains constant – the Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association’s dedication to providing top-quality Ontario apples to fellow Canadians and to the rest of the world. Over 110 years of expertise, respect for consumer concerns, and a never-ending diligence to improve its products are a testament to the NFGA’s success, both now and in the future.