About County Shores Farms
County Shores Farms is a family owned and operated farming operation. The name and brand were established in 2019 and the operations are presently managed by Todd, Andrew and Connor Foster, but the farm has been owned and operated by the Foster Family since 1836. Currently, the farm and campground are home to three generations of Fosters, but has been home to nine generations of Foster in total.
The farm and property have seen many changes over the years and generations. It was the original land grant of an in-law by the name of Daniel Way but was purchased in exchange for a horse and a bag of feed. The early years spent settling, clearing and “existing” on the land in the early 1800’s, houses, barns and outbuilding were constructed and life began on the homestead. The barley days of the 1860’s to 1890’s saw the farm prosper and grow. Mills and grainers were constructed. The Foster family home was expanded to what you see today. The farm is also home to the only original “Dutch Barn” left in Prince Edward County. The canning industry era of the 1890’s to 1950’s which saw the Foster Family growing more market crops such as sweet corn and tomatoes for the local canning factories and diversifying. A mixed farming operation was the game from the 1940 to the 1970’s with milking cattle and hogs being the main agriculture. The late 1960’s and 1970’s saw specialization and expansion along with trucking operations added. For the Foster Farm, it was cash crops like grain and hard corn. Bigger equipment and more acreage to offset the capital investments and costs.
The 1980’s and early 1990 saw the phasing out of farming and trucking and into tourism. Pasture fields and water front where cattle used to drink were found to be better suited for boating activities and camping. Fosters Fishing Centre was creating in the 1980’s and has transitioned from a fishing resort to a family campground in the last 10 years. Today the campground remains the principal operation on the farm. You can certainly see that today’s terms like “pivot,” “re-invent,” and “adapt” have been part of our way of life on the farm for generations.
The arrival of the latest generation of Andrew, Connor, and Bethany has sprouted new farming buds from the old roots of this farming family. Andrew was the first to step-up and try with a small-scale Maple Syrup operation that he started at the age of 11. Andrew became fascinated at the process for making maple syrup while on a class trip. A year later, he had tapped about a dozen or so trees of his own trees on the farm and had produced about ten or twelve litres of syrup in an old kettle. He sold his syrup to family and friends and re-invested his earnings into equipment and supplies to increase production. Now just ten plus years later it is a 600 plus tap maple syrup operation. Sap is collected using vacuum pumps and tubing. Modern wood fired evaporator and filtering processes are used to produce a high-quality product that is highly sought after.
Connor followed his brother into farming, also at age 11 with a small-scale chicken and poultry operation. A small corner of the existing barn was transformed into a chicken coop and a chicken operation began with 25 laying hens and 30 meat birds. Connor’s interest in agriculture also includes beef cattle and giant vegetables growing which he wants to pursue once he completes his studies at Ridgetown Agricultural College.
Today, these small-scale operations have grown into County Shores Farms. The farm now taps over 600 trees for maple syrup production it is a 600 plus tap maple syrup operation. Sap is collected using vacuum pumps and tubing. Modern wood fired evaporator and filtering processes are used to produce a high-quality product that is highly sought after. 300 pasture raised broiler chickens are raised annually and 100 laying hens are producing farm fresh eggs on a daily business. There are further plans for expansion, into “Farm to Table,” pork and beef products in the not too distant future.