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Meet Pfenning’s Organic: Industry Leaders Since 1981

By OCO Staff

Pfenning’s Organic Vegetable Farm has been proudly growing certified organic vegetables since 1981. Situated between New Hamburg and Baden on some of the most fertile soil in the world, the farm now stretches over 700 acres. Best known for their delicious carrots, they also grow over 40 other varieties of vegetables such as leafy greens, brassicas, squash and root veggies that grow best in their region.  

Pfenning’s grows over 40 varieties of vegetables on 700 acres in New Hamburg, ON

Local Hub for Ontario Organic Growers

Besides managing farm operations, they also serve as a hub for an expansive network of local certified organic growers. Produce is purchased in bulk and packed under the Pfenning brand or the growers’ own label according to their preference. This mutually beneficial partnership allows smaller growers access to a wider market they otherwise would not have, and in turn, allows Pfenning’s to increase their offerings.

Their focus is local first, but the year-round and seasonal import program fills in the gaps for items that are out of season or do not grow here at all. This program, as well as packing out local storage veg into the winter months, keeps a core group of about 45 employees busy throughout the year. This number grows to 140 in peak growing season and harvest time. The teams consist of Jamaican migrant workers, local seasonal employees, students and more.

Pfenning’s supports Ontario organic growers by providing a pathway to the wider market.

Industry Leader: Shaping Organic Standards from the Beginning

Since 1981 when the Pfenning family arrived in Canada, they have been unwavering in their commitment to the organic industry. Wilhelm Pfenning, the patriarch of the family and founder of the business, was involved in the initial creation of the organic standards from the very beginning.

As the industry evolved, so did the farm, expanding from the original 100 acre family farm into the 700 acre, multi-faceted business it is today. 

Wilhelm Pfenning, founder of Pfenning’s Farms. 

Above & Beyond

Their commitment to the principles of organic extends beyond the food they grow. With every decision they make, the present and future impact of their actions on the environment and communities are carefully considered. 


It all starts with the soil. Nurturing it with compost, cover crops, and crop rotation ensures it stays full of life. Healthy soil is full of tiny, naturally-occurring microorganisms & fungi which help direct nutrients into the crops, in addition to helping the soil retain water and reduce runoff. When the soil is healthy, so are the plants.

Healthy soil is of utmost importance.

The health of surrounding ecosystems also plays a pivotal role, and the farm operates with the balance of nature in mind. Natural areas on the farm are conserved and enhanced in different ways. Fencerows are added and reinforced to provide habitat for birds and beneficial insects, in an effort to prevent wind erosion and runoff.  Additionally, two restoration and renaturalization projects are underway that are converting frequently flooded fields back into the habitats they once were. These projects provide homes to wildlife and beneficial insects, serve as a natural stormwater management system, further enhance the local ecosystem, and more.

Sustainability and land stewardship are top priorities and a way of life. We must be able to meet our needs without compromising the ability of present and future generations to meet theirs. Every operation on the farm has this goal in mind.

Read more about Pfenning's sustainability efforts here.

This wetland was once a farm field that frequently flooded. Now, it is home to fish, amphibians, birds and insects. 

This frog is enjoying newly restored wetland habitat.

Feeding Communities

Food loss is a problem many farmers grapple with. Too much edible food is lost due to industry standards that are based on appearance alone. There has been a positive shift to making a difference and reducing unnecessary waste, but there is still a long way to go. To help this shift, Pfenning’s has partnered with Second Harvest Food Rescue, which gets “ugly” food to hungry bellies. In the first year of this partnership, they rescued and donated over 300,000lbs of edible food.  Pfenning’s also donates weekly to local food banks.

“Ugly” produce now destined to fill hungry bellies, instead of compost piles.
In one year, over 300,000lbs of ugly produce went to Second Harvest


In 2005, the Pfenning family turned to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) for the first time. The farm was growing in scale and they were struggling to find skilled local workers to return reliably season after season. In order to meet this need, they turned to the TFWP.  

Currently, the farm employs approximately 40 migrant workers from Jamaica each year. They usually arrive just in time for spring planting, and stay until after harvest is finished. They come here under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), which is a branch of the TFWP.

There are many benefits to the TFWP, but there are also systemic injustices that occur within this system. Pfenning’s is committed to ending these injustices within the farming community. They participate in the NFU Migrant Workers subcommittee, media interviews, and engagement with Members of Parliament. You can read more about their advocacy work here.

Migrant workers spend up to 8 months each year growing, tending and harvesting food for Canadians to eat. They deserve safe & dignified work conditions like everyone else.

Pfenning’s has also been an active advocate within general farming and organic industries.  Long-standing members of the Organic Council of Ontario, the Canadian Organic Trade Association, Canadian Organic Growers, the National Farmers Union and more, Pfenning’s is a constant presence in the pursuit of lasting, positive change.  

Jenn Pfenning can be often found in the media advocating for positive change.

Respect and care is at the heart of everything they do. Respect for the environment that sustains us all, for each other, and for generations that will follow. 

Where to Find Pfenning’s Produce

They are a wholesale operation and therefore not open to the public. Their produce can be found all across Southern Ontario in grocery stores and food box companies.  For find somewhere near you, use their Store Locator.

Food creators use their produce too! Check out this list of restaurants, juiceries and more that make all sorts of delicious and nourishing treats with Pfenning's produce.

Sweet Pfenning’s carrots - taste the difference!

Find them online:


Facebook: @Pfenning's Organic Farm

X: @pfenningsfarm

Instagram: @pfenningsfarm


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