They include two couples and the grandfather of Ontario’s cider industry
The grandfather of Ontario’s cider industry and two hard-working couples are the newest inductees into the Quinte Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Grant Howes who pioneered cider-making at his County Cider Company at Waupoos in Prince Edward County, as well as hardworking dairy couples Marvin and Shirley McComb of Castleton in Northumberland and John and Mary Lou Sonneveld of Napanee, Lennox and Addington were inducted at a ceremony at FarmTown Park on the weekend.
Howes first produced cider commercially in 1996, planting cider and heritage apple varieties for the express purpose of making cider, his citation read. He was a founding member of the Prince Edward County Wine Growers Association, the Ontario Craft Cider Association and taught wine technology at Loyalist College.
He also “worked tirelessly for fair taxation for Ontario wineries, cider producers and small distilleries.
Grant passed away suddenly on Jan. 21, 2017 and his wife and business partner Jennifer Dean said the business now covers almost 100 acres and produces 250,000 litres annually and employs upwards of 50 seasonal employees.
Dairy farmers Marvin and Shirley McComb were co-founders of Northumberland County’s long-running agricultural awareness event, Rural Ramble. Shirley was a two time Northumberland County dairy princess and ran the ambassadorial program locally for many years while Marvin left his stamp on the ag community at various times chairing the Northumberland Federation, helping guide the successful integration of the dairy (Record of Performance) ROP program to come under the umbrella of Dairy Herd Improvement at the provincial level, and serving on local council. Their Combview herd is now operated by their son and grandson.
And the Sonnevelds operated Pynacker Holsteins, a high production, high type herd with John at various times heading the local Holstein, dairy, soil and crop and fair boards. He served on Ontario Holstein Branch, and showed cattle at the Napanee fair. He was also the first chairman of Quinte Community Pasture and renowned as the author of many a light-hearted local theatrical oration about his various community involvements. Mary Lou was described as a “talented and effective organizer,” working within and outside of the agricultural community, on local council, ag awareness. Both were 4 H leaders.
Most recently John has become known for his barbed wire art installments and books of poetry.
The hall of fame is housed at the volunteer run Farm Town Park; a historical museum showcasing the agricultural history, commitment and visionaries who have driven the industry forward. About 50 people have been inducted since 2006.
A photo and biography of each Quinte Wall of Fame inductee is displayed in Farmtown Park’s dairy building. It recognizes agricultural and food leaders from the counties of Northumberland, Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox and Addington “who have made an outstanding contribution to the agriculture and food industry at the local, provincial and/or national level.”