Russett Farms started when Donna and Gerald bought the dairy farm at Wellmans Corners in 1959. Through the years Russett Farms have diversified and it now covers 800 acres. They bought an apple orchard in 1997 and built their new house. They now run a beef farm and apple orchard with their son Darrell and his wife Sandra and their children Ashley, Jennifer and Rodney.
The Russetts used to milk 25 Holstein cows. They sold their quota in 2012. They rear around 600 beef cattle. The beef operation is both a cow-calf operation, which means they rear their own calves, and have a finishing operation. They buy stockers (young cattle) at the Hoards Sale Barn from local farmers and finish them along side there own calves. They sell most of them at the Ontario Stockyards Inc at Cookstown, north of Toronto, and keep some for the local market. Russett Farms have cattle of different breeds but they favour Charolais. The Russetts have a great reputation for rearing quality beef animals.
Each year Russett Farms rears a steer for the Stirling Agricultural Society’s auction at the Stirling Fair. A number of people, including the Russetts contribute to the cost of the steer. All the money raised at the auction goes to a bursary for a local post secondary agricultural student.
Around 15 years ago the Russetts bought an 18 acre apple orchard from Frank Bailey. It used to be owned by the late Burton Morton, who was a well-known apple grower. Darrell Russett said he didn’t want to grub up the orchard because he recognized all the work that went into establishing it. He wanted to keep it going so the Russetts set about learning about growing apples. They do spray with Sunlight soap in the spring after it rains to stop fungus forming on the trees, The orchard is one of the historic orchards in Stirling-Rawdon. and they have gradually replaced many of the large old trees with smaller ones. In the old days one used to climb long ladders to pick the apples. It is much easier to pick apples from now semi-dwarf trees. They try and buy three year-old trees as they start producing quickly. They have recently planted Imperial Gala and Honey Crisp, which are newer varieties. They have Macintosh, Cortland, and Northern Spy and next year they will plant Russet apples. Clarence O’Connor of Bonarlaw keeps his bees at Russett Farms. Bees are very import in an apple orchard as they pollinate the blossom. Sandra started selling apples at Bargain Baileys in 1998, and at Hoards Sale Barn.
In 2000 Sandra started taking apples and beef to Campbellford Farmers Market. “Campbellford is a unique town and people like local food and want to know where their food is coming from,” said Sandra. She is the secretary treasurer of the Wellmans Corners Cemetery as well. Donna Russett is very involved with the Federation of Women’s’ Institutes and is a part president and is a member of the Wellmans Corner Women's Institute. This year, she is the president of the Stirling Festival of Sacred Praise held in Stirling in April each year. She also sells beef, apples, home baking and crafts at the Stirling Farmers Market. She makes beautiful quilts.