by Robyn Roste
Farming is woven into the fabric of this community from east to west, north to south, and back again. This week the Circle Farm Tour took me from one side of town to the other.
Just off the Abbotsford-Mission Highway sits Lepp Farm Market. I arrived as it opened for the day, already bustling with shoppers coming for groceries, breakfast, and morning coffee.
The farm, best known for its homegrown pork and chicken, has market butchers to ensure top-quality meat. Co-owner Charlotte Lepp gave me a glimpse behind the cooler door to see how their meat is processed.
Charlotte explained their farm philosophy is centred on cooking good food and sharing it with people you love, which is why they post recipes and blogs on their website and host cooking classes with celebrity chefs.
They stock the ingredients you need to cook dinner. Their products must meet strict criteria—would Char serve it on her dinner table? If the product is local, top quality, and beautiful, you will find it at Lepp Farm Market.
Right now apples, squash, and all sorts of gourds and pumpkins fill the white tents outside the market, with many more pumpkins ripening in the field behind.
Nearing Aldergrove off Lefeuvre Road is Cambell’s Gold Honey Farm and Meadery. This is extraction season for the busy beekeepers but co-owners Mike and Judy Campbell took the time to show me the heart of their farm (the hives) and their business (the honey).
I was instructed to stay calm as I approached the bees, which I suppose was as much for the bees’ protection as for my own safety. Watching honey bees work is fascinating—they extract moisture from the nectar while adding enzymes to create honey.
Judy then took me to watch an extraction where I learned more about honey and the Campbell’s Gold country market, which carries honey and hive-related products. The mead and honey wine display is especially enticing.
The back of the red barn is filled to the brim with holding tanks filtering uncapped honey and fermenting fruit for wine. The back vineyards are producing pears, apples, elderberries, grapes, currants, blueberries, and raspberries.
Towards the Sumas border crossing lies the Bakerview EcoDairy, home to mascot Vicki the Cow. I arrived as an afternoon strike camp commenced in the upstairs play area.
In partnership with Science World, the 80-acre demonstration dairy farm caters to elementary-aged children with a mind to help them discover the technology behind where their food comes from. The interactive displays allow you to milk a cow, see a cow’s digestive system, and learn about manure.
The dairy also boasts a robotic milking machine where cows practice voluntary milking. I lingered here, watching the cows line up for milking. Lucy Johannsohn, the marketing manager, told me the machine tests the milk for bacteria, quality, and more. If it doesn’t meet their standards, it is kept separate.
When you visit the EcoDairy you can tour the dairy, visit the petting zoo featuring goats on the roof, calves, turkeys and pigs, and spend time on the picnic grounds.