Alvin Filsinger came to organic farming, well, organically.
He was born in 1924 on a farm in Ayton, Ontario, and he always loved apples even when he was a small child. When he came of age, he bought 400 apple trees from a local nursery, and started his own apple farm. After a visit from a chemical salesman from BC, Alvin agreed to buy a load of insecticides that, he was assured, would dramatically improve his crop yields. After the first application, though, despite wearing all of the protective gear, he felt unwell, and his wife – who was driving the tractor, and never came closer than 40 feet from the spray – was so sick she couldn’t eat for two days! Two days after applying the spray, he went to check on a couple of bird’s nests that he had noticed during spraying, and he was horrified to see the babies dead in their nests, and the parent birds half paralyzed. That was all it took to convince Alvin that organic farming was the only way to go.
Certified organic since 1953, Filsinger has been known since then for consistently producing amazing apples using entirely organic methods. By the end of the decade, he was shipping apples nationwide, sending bags of apples by rail to every Great Atlantic & Pacific (aka A&P) supermarket in the country. By the end of the 1960’s, they had gone international and Filsinger apples were also being sold in almost every state in the United States! The farm always hewed to the principles of organic farming, not only adhering to a strict policy of never using chemical herbicides or pesticides, but also doing all of the growing and processing onsite, growing apples on standard-sized trees and doing all of their processing right on the farm.
The business continued to expand, and in 1999 they added a cider press, bottling plant, and cold storage facility, which allowed them to launch Filsinger’s Apple Cider and Apple Cider Vinegar. Shortly afterward, they started producing Filsinger’s Apple Sauce, using their own tree-ripened apples, and the addition of Bosc and Bartlett Pear trees allowed them to start producing Filsinger’s Pear Sauce.
Alvin Filsinger passed away in 2010, but the business is still going strong. Today it’s being run by another local family, who are putting in the same effort to maintain the values and quality that has made Filsinger’s synonymous with delicious, local apples. Even if you can’t make it up to the orchard, you can treat yourself to some of their amazing products – drink their classic Apple Cider by itself or in a fruit punch, try their Apple Cider Vinegar in salad dressing or as a marinade, and treat yourself to some of their scrumptious Apple Sauce pancakes!
As Alvin was fond of saying, “we all need to care”, and you can taste that care in every bite or sip of amazing Filsinger’s products!