The 2019 Arysta Golden Apple Award was presented to Tom Chudleigh at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association banquet on February 19, 2019, according to a news release from the Ontario Apple Growers.
Chudleigh and his wife Carol are apple growers in Halton Region and probably best known for their signature apple blossom dessert that is sold by retailers across Canada. In the Greater Toronto Area, Chudleigh’s has been a leading agri-tourism destination and pick-your-own location for generations of consumers, first opening to the public in 1967.
Chudleigh was raised on an apple farm in the Milton area and graduated from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College in 1963 with an agriculture degree. His father was an apple innovator who had been importing rootstock from Britain since the late 1930s, and Chudleigh built on his father’s legacy, planting new varieties and always trying new apple growing methods.
In the early 1970s, the Chudleighs began selling donuts and cider to their farm visitors and when their donut supplier retired, they started baking and selling apple pies instead. After a devastating fire in 1990, they were able to relocate into a full-scale commercial bakery in nearby Milton and now produce about one million of their popular apple blossom desserts every week.
“Tom Chudleigh is an innovator and a risk-taker who has built one of the largest apple pick-your-own operations in Canada. He understood what the market wanted and his marketing skills are superb,” says Ontario Apple Growers Chair Charles Stevens. “Tom has always been positive about the industry and a willing teacher and mentor of pick-your-own for other growers, which has been instrumental in helping to build this aspect of our industry.”
The Arysta Golden Apple Award is presented annually to a recipient who has made outstanding contributions to the Ontario apple industry. The Ontario Apple Growers represents the province’s commercial apple farmers.
Source: Ontario Apple Growers, February 22, 2019 news release