Fun loving apple farmer will be missed by many

 In Obituaries

Bob Giffen is being remembered as the force behind Giffen’s Farm Market and a pillar of the local agricultural community. To his family he was the dedicated dad who worked hard all his life to provide and protect.
Giffen died following a farm accident earlier this month at the age of 77. Son Mike Giffen remembers him as a man who had no enemies, and knew no strangers. He took his work very seriously, but always made time for family and friends.
Bob’s father Frank drove by a derelict farm and apple orchard while en route to Hamilton Brothers in Glen Huron in 1939. He purchased the property and replanted the trees, thus launching the family apple business. Bob and his five siblings grew up working on the farm, tending not just the orchard but livestock as well. Mike says his grandfather was a big believer in diversification so there was always a fallback in a bad crop year – a value which Bob grew up embracing.
One of Frank’s first goals was to build a storage and packing facility, to handle not just the apples from the Giffen farm, but from neighbouring growers as well. Bob was in his early 30’s when his father was claimed by a farming accident in 1976. He took over the reins, determined to keep working to realize his father’s dream. When the current Giffen’s Country Market building opened in 1982 the retail space consisted of apples set out in bins. In the early days, Bob’s mother Eileen would bake treats for the workers doing the picking and packing. Over time, these became a mainstay of the retail offering. Today, Giffen’s Country Market is a destination for foodies, famed for buttertarts baked from Eileen’s recipe and an outlet for local beef, dairy products, honey and fresh pressed cider.
Starting with his early days in the Junior Farmers organization, Bob developed a strong network within the farm community. He was a long-time member of the now defunct Ontario Apple Commission, an active participant in the Southern Georgian Bay apple scene, and for many years ran a thriving chicken and cattle business. Throughout his career, Mike says he was very supportive of other local producers.
Much as he worked hard, Bob also liked to have fun. He will be remembered for his ready smile and infectious laugh. Bob was an avid curler and represented the Creemore Men’s Mixed league at many bonspiels. He was a big camping and motorcycle enthusiast. In recent years, Bob would head to the family property in Florida after the harvest each fall and stay until time for spring planting. He loved to spend time there golfing and cruising about in his pontoon boat.
Bob Giffen was predeceased by his parents, Frank and Mary “Eileen”, his sister Margaret and his first wife Colleen. He is survived by his children Mike and Lori, his wife Mary and her children Trista and Tracy and his grandchildren William, Lucas, Jack, Zoe, Blaise, Leonardo and Mike. Son Mike says family members have been humbled by the tributes that have poured in for his late father and promises that the next generation of Giffens is committed to honouring his legacy, and to keep moving forward.

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