Organizers of Timmins Urban Park Market say Apple Fest on Thursday was the perfect way to end another successful summer season.
"Despite COVID-19, I think it was a way for people to get out and be outside without having to worry about having a mask on, even though a lot of people did," said Brianna Grimaldi, project assistant for Downtown Timmins. "Just being outside and being around other people and having that atmosphere back we missed out of our lives."
Marion Veens, of Sunrise Orchards and Produce in Smooth Rock Falls, comes from an apple farming family in southern Ontario and she's happy to bring a taste of the south to the north.
"We bring Apple Fest up here because a lot of apples don't grow up here and this just allows for people to really see what kind of apples are out there and try them," she said.
While organizers said there are thousands of varieties of apples throughout the world, at the Timmins event there were more than a dozen types to sample.
"There's sweet, there's sour, there's some for cooking, some for eating, whatever, there's all kinds of apples," Veen said. "One apple's called Jerry Gold. It's a cross between a Russet and Golden Delicious and my dad invented that apple. So you do not see that very often. We have Jonah Gold and Northern Spies --those three are hard to get."
Apple Fest vendors said there are only three farms in southwestern Ontario that grow Northern Spies, and demand for them dropped about 20 years ago. But they said interest in them is starting to pick up again.
At least one customer was very happy to find them.
"I'm going to try and make an apple pie like my grandma used to make, because she used Northern Spies and I wanted to pick some up," said Erin Auger of Timmins, who stopped by the market to buy some apples.
Apple season is a sure sign summer is over, but Downtown Timmins is looking forward to hosting local farmers again for winter markets.