Milford Bay Trout Farm begins with the Uhde family and 200 acres of land outside Bracebridge. Rolf and Edith Uhde moved from Niagara Falls with their four kids in 1973 to seek a healthier, more self-sufficient lifestyle. They wanted to provide a place where people could fish, and there was an excellent wellspring on the site that was just perfect. In 1974, Milford Bay opened to the public!
While the family got the trout farm on its feet, Rolf worked off the property in his other field of expertise, woodworking and cabinetry. Many local restaurants and cottage interiors still show off his work! During this time, Rolf was also advancing in the art of aquaculture, and loved to cultivate the gardens on the site. The focus in those early years was nurturing tens of thousands of young fingerling trout to make them the best breeders possible. The farm’s record trout was a 13½-pounder that was actually caught by a famous Montreal Canadiens player in 1978, legendary Steve Shutt!
In the early ‘80s, word began to spread. The singular quality of Rolf’s smoked products made them especially famous. The fishing pond’s popularity and the sale of live trout to other breeders took a back seat to the products coming out of the smoker. Rolf and his sons saw the need for consistency in the product, so the next big move was a processing facility in 1986. They went all out on a modern smoke-oven and equipment to deal with the ever-increasing demand for their specially smoked trout.
With Milford Bay firmly on its feet, Rolf and Edith decided to retire in 1996 and sold the operation to their son Ralph and his wife Wendy. It was the perfect chance to step back and witness everything they envisioned coming true. While Milford Bay’s main focus is still wholesale distribution to more than 50 fine food stores, we always keep to our original vision of offering a place for families to come and experience fishing together.
The demand for our smoked products continues to grow. Word of mouth keeps people coming out to try our handiwork, and things just keep growing. More and more retailers are jumping on board with our products. Demand has grown so big we needed to ramp up production, so this summer we’ve got eight student employees and Ralph’s sister-in-law Katja as part of the team. Things are only getting bigger from here. We’ve got construction plans underway on our next phase, so stay posted for all the exciting things that’ll be happening in the next year.