70s and Tillsonburg’s sandy soil was a hot commodity for growing big, leafy fields of lush tobacco. Tobacco was a way of life in Tillsonburg, but after the market crashed, farmers and employees were left asking, “What’s next?” Soon, new businesses begin to emerge. Quickly, the people of Tillsonburg learned to use their unique soil and other assets in new ways. Here are just a few of the businesses in the greater Tillsonburg area that have succeeded in channelling their inner George Tillson to create something truly unique. Annandale National Historic Site No visit to Tillsonburg is complete without a trip to Annandale House, the former home of E.D. Tillson and site of his model farm. This elegant home, decorated in the Aesthetic Arts Movement Style, was inspired by a speech Oscar Wilde gave in Woodstock. With three floors of absolute beauty, you’ll love learning about all of E.D.’s entrepreneurial pursuits. Bring a picnic and enjoy a lovely lunch on the spacious front lawn, catch a lecture, or just take your time exploring. Y U Ranch Brian and Cathy Gilvesy of Y U Ranch know a lot about innovation. They started farming tobacco while Brian was still in university. When the tobacco market crashed,
Texas Longhorn Cattle
they decided to begin a Texas Longhorn cattle ranch with a focus on tall grass prairie and regenerative land use. Focusing on this native plant removes 1.5 tons of carbon from the air per acre annually. By using sustainable farming practices, the Gilvesys have created a ranching oasis with well-fed cows that produce the area’s best beef. Koteles Farm The sandy soil that surrounds Tillsonburg has also proven to have potential for a different type of crop. For almost four generations, the Koteles family has been farming fresh asparagus and selling it all over Ontario. Each year, they grow 90 acres during late spring and early summer. Visit their on-farm location during the season and you’ll
find local shoppers picking up their share of farm-fresh asparagus as well as their famous pickled asparagus. Coyle’s Country Store Starting way back in 1899 in King Lake, Coyle’s started as a small spot to grow and process fruits and vegetables to sell in the family store. In 1924, Aubrey James Coyle (grandfather of current owner, James Coyle) moved the shop to Tillsonburg where they made everything from car parts for Model Ts to instant chocolate powder. Today, they roast their own nuts on-site and offer fresh, house-made fudge. This landmarkshopping destination is steeped in a history of entrepreneurship that continues to grow every year.
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