Adventures on Sumas Prairie

By: Robyn Roste – a friend of Mrs. Abbotsford

As I studied the Circle Farm Tour map I noticed although the self-guided tour is spread well across the city, the farms seem to be grouped in threes. I decided visiting farms in groups of three would be an easy and fun way to explore my city.

Granny & Grumpa's Antiques

I started at the beginning. In this case, Granny and Grumpa’s Antiques located on Sumas Prairie.

Turns out this impressive collection housed in the heart of the Fraser Valley is only 13 kilometres out of central Abbotsford. And even if I hadn’t seen the giant sign from the road I could have followed the traffic. It seems everyone else had the same idea as me.

I had no idea what to expect, but after the initial shock of how huge this place is (multiple barns, filled with every antique you can imagine) I wondered what treasure was hidden within for me. Wandering from barn to barn I scanned thousands of items like wheelchairs, a room of dolls, and a wall of 2,300 different pop bottles.

Upon exiting Grumpa stopped to make sure I enjoyed my visit. We chatted for a bit until another visitor approached, looking to barter. Grumpa waved me off as he engaged in the lively banter.

Birchwood Dairy

Five minutes down the road was my next stop, Birchwood Dairy.

This thriving family-run dairy farm operates a country store and wholesale business. The scale of their operation, which includes milk, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese, means they use every drop of milk their farm produces plus some to help meet the demand for their produce.

Kayla, the store supervisor, toured me around the operation pointing out all the areas the farm has open to the public, including a viewing room into the milking parlour where cows come at 3 p.m. every day.

Behind the store and silos is the maternity barn, where visitors can see cows a few weeks out from giving birth, and calves who aren’t quite ready to join the rest of the herd.

After my tour I ventured back to the maternity barn for a little more visiting with the calves. If they didn’t keep trying to lick me I may have stayed longer. Also I had a sudden craving for ice cream.

FV Trout Hatchery

Turning towards town I drove another five minutes to the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery.

I arrived as one of the many Learn to Fish programs commenced. I watched the children tear around the education centre exclaiming at the different fish before gathering in the amphitheatre.

Sport Fishing Development Co-ordinator Mike Gaas and Outreach Co-ordinator Tanya Laird showed me some of the 40-acre property from the fry troughs and stocked ponds to the complete pool renovation to help the hatchery operate with greater energy efficiency.  

The goal of the non-profit organization is to create ethically responsible anglers while helping people connect with and appreciate the outdoors. Their Learn to Fish program is the main way they educate future anglers, but their self-guided tour is also educational.

This hatchery is the hub in BC, responsible for raising more than 2.5 million trout and stocking a couple hundred lakes each year. They depend on partnerships with the province, BC Hydro, and corporate sponsors.

These three stops were a great way to start my tour!

Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.