Farming is planted in the genes for the Simmons family, and brothers Douglas and Ian are continuing the farming tradition started by their grandfather here in the early 1900s. Their parents, Eldred and Florence Simmons, were mixed farmers. Ian recalls his mother selling eggs and plants from the front door when he was growing up. Today, Ian and his family still live in the original farmhouse.
Ian built a small greenhouse on the property in 1986 while home from college and he started growing plants as a hobby. It wasn’t a hobby for long; demand for his plants grew and in 1989 he built greenhouse #2. In 1990, Eldred, Douglas and Ian started Kool Breeze Farms. Through a lot of hard work and dedication, with the help of their families and staff, they’ve grown the ever-evolving business to where it is today. Expansions over the years include 14 additional greenhouses, a 14,000-bird hen barn, two wind turbines, farm market, Christmas Store, Ice Cream Barn, and Da Mama’s Kitchen food truck.
A significant portion of the farmland is now used to grow corn, pumpkins and other types of squashes and grain crops. There are two types of corn grown, feed and sweet corn.
The farm is now a four-season operation. Starting in spring, the garden centre is in full swing. The farm market features fresh fruits and vegetables as soon as they’re ready to harvest here on PEI. The corn maze opens in late August, with a fresh design every year.
Fall brings the annual Scarecrow Festival which coincides with Open Farm Day on PEI. This fun family event is free to the public and draws approximately 3,000 people each year. The day’s activities include wagon rides, games, music and everyone enjoys a frolic in the field. It wouldn’t be possible without the participation of our local business partners and community groups like the Summerside Lions Club and Generation XX. Autumn also brings wagon rides to the field for pumpkin picking. The Haunted Farm begins in the weeks leading up to Halloween. The Simmons family donates the space along with a portion of the corn maze for this important fundraising event put on by the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts.
Snow blowing services and wood pellets are offered during the winter season, and it is then that the garden centre transforms into the Christmas Store with seasonal décor for inside and out.
The Y Service Club of Summerside sells fresh, PEI-grown Christmas trees here at Kool Breeze Farms in December; it’s an important annual fundraiser for this local community group in support of their good work in the community.
The Simmons brothers farm with the future in mind. They have been recognized nationally as leaders in environmental farming practices by decreasing the farm’s carbon footprint. There is always a breeze here they took advantage of that by installing wind turbines on the property. Most of the farm’s energy is generated from the two wind turbines. Each turbine produces approximately 6000 kilowatts of green energy per month. The first was erected in 2008 and the second one was added in 2011. The turbines are also used by the Holland College Wind Turbine Program for training purposes.
Douglas and Ian also participate in the province’s ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) program, building waterways and berms to control water runoff from their land. The manure produced from the hens is used to grow corn.
At Kool Breeze Farms, we know what it means to garden. We share your excitement in the first blooms of spring, the smell of fresh-cut grass, and that first harvest of vegetables from the garden. We understand the pride in creating a beautiful landscape and the contentment of a job well done. We can tell you what trees grow best, what shrub goes where and how to deal with that problem area in the yard or garden.
From seeds to trees and everything in between, you’ll find it here, along with the knowledge it takes to grow them. Because your success is our success. We are The Green Thumbs People.