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Feast of Fields Contest Entries

Clint Whitecotton in Cherryville:

I would like to nominate Triple Island Farm for your "Out Standing In The Field" category.

It is owned and operated by the Family Tuijtel in Cherryville, BC and is truly a small family operated farm... Mom, Dad, 2 sons and 2 daughters.

The family moved to Canada from Holland about 10 years ago and recently moved here to Cherryville, where they began a Gouda Cheese operation.

Over the last 2 years, they have successfully transformed rural Cherryville and numerous passers-by into Gouda lovers and have expanded from regular gouda to all flavours of gouda... pepper, garlic and sun dried tomato, chive, herb ... and the list goes on and on.

When they first started production, they couldn't keep up with demand and often were sold out completely.

Now they have a couple years behind them and are doing very well.

They definitely deserve credit for their initiative, perseverance and creativity.

Heather Devereaux in Sooke:

I thought I would mention that I have enjoyed ALM Farm in Sooke and I feel that they are definitely outstanding in their field.

They sell their produce at the Sooke market on Saturday mornings and believe me, you need to be there early!

They sell out very quickly and they have a wonderful selection of produce of every kind imaginable.

I love that they include the edible flowers in amongst the mixed greens, adding great beauty to a tossed salad. It is just an example of their attention to detail.

They are also happy to sell their seeds and share their knowledge about organic farming and they offer many workshops on different aspects of gardening.

I had the good fortune to have a tour of the farm and I was so impressed by the gardens, the animals, the cob house and oven as well as both Mary Alice and Marika who are working hard to make ALM the success that it is.

Farming is such difficult work and I really appreciate these small farms and I hope that they have continued success for many years.

We are so blessed here on Vancouver Island to have so many wonderful small farms to choose from!

Barb Neraasen in East Kootenay:

George McLean of Edgewater, in the East Kootenay, is the farmer who I most admire.

Retired, George still actively farms his 20 plus acres at the foot of the Rocky Mountains where he grows hay and oats for his livestock, alfalpha and wheat for Sylvia's chickens and for human consumption.

George and his wife Sylvia have saddle horses that they ride for pleasure, carriage horses and draft horses.

They also have a small herd of Angus cattle.

He often complains that he's so busy with farm chores he has no time to ride for pleasure.

What makes George so interesting is that he does his farming with horse power, using his tractor only for threshing grains.

He has antique, well-used equipment that he has restored - plows, harrow, seeder, mower, binder and threshing machine, as well as several carriages, a snow plow and a sleigh - all of which he uses around the property.

A sleigh ride on a decommissioned road along the base of the mountains with the sun sparkling on fresh snow is truly magical.

George likes to share his knowledge and skills, demonstrating plowing and blacksmithing at fairs and heritage events in BC and southern Alberta.

Occasionally he enjoys teaching others to drive the draft horses.

In short, he is a very busy man.

Diane Sullivan in Prince George sent in this poem:

This is my tribute to a farmer:

I do not know the name.

He has too many worries

To seek fortune or fame.

She is busy reaping, sowing, and raising

So I can load my plate.

To the long, hard hours

I cannot relate.

From the Prairies to the Peace,

Niagara to PEI

I am very grateful

To the farming gal or guy.

Lindy MacArthur in Victoria:

My favourite Saanich farmer is organic grower "The Red Damsel" ...we just call her Barb.

She farms out of the property next door to The Red Barn on West Saanich Rd.

Our friendly sun-drenched neighbor provides us with a cornacopia of fresh organic vegetables throughout the summer and during harvest time.

You will find her out back lovingly tending to her gardens and berry patches.

Not only does she grow the food we eat, she also bakes organic grained bread, buns, muffins, scones and other treats being turned out almost daily from her home ovens. Barb has always maintained the "co-op" model allowing other small organic local farmers to bring their produce and other unique items to her store.

Also, she stocks organic eggs, lemon curd, garlic, preserves and grains at the Red Damsel....and the store is self-serving with a pot for your coins to make change.

Barb's philosophy is based on mutual trust.

Who needs to shop anywhere else?

It's local, it's fresh, it's organic, it's green and it's loved!

We feel fortunate to have Barb in our neighborhood growing healthy food for our family.

Thank you Barb and Thank you All Points West for your interest in local farmers.

Allison Gratz in Sidney:

I would like to nominate Bob Duncan from Fruit Trees and More in North Saanich BC for special mention.

He is a fruit farmer, experimenter, and visionary.

He has inspired thousands of people to try their hands at growing fruit trees in the greater Victoria area and beyond.

At his demonstration orchard he models how to successfully and simply grow everything from and apples to oranges; peaches to figs, and gives plenty of encouragement and advice to any who ask.

He has over 400 varieties of fruit trees, and adds to the collection every time someone says "are you sure you can grow that in Canada?".

The zero-mile diet just got a lot easier with teacher-farmers like him!

Roberta Rodgers in Fort Steele:

This is about Sharon and Mike Malmberg who have Fort Steele Farm here in Southeast BC.

The praise I offer is this: the farm has been a source of employment for local youth, for many summers, teaching them about the value of hard work and the value of a job well done.

The farm provides excellent produce that is sold in the stand at the farm and taken to the Farmers Market every Saturday from July to September.

If you could follow Sharon for one day in the summer, you would see her up early in the morning in the bakery baking pies with fresh, in season fruit, bran muffins, buns, bread and cinnamon buns.

While in the kitchen/bakery she may also be preparing food for canning or putting up in the freezer.

When baking is done she may be down to the house to work on paperwork or out in the field helping the farm hands with the harvest or weeding or on the tractor moving something.

In the midst of the day Sharon may be out with the bees adding sections to the hives or just making sure the bees are doing well.

Cranbrook and surrounding area residents benefit from the location of Fort Steele Farm through the food brought to the Farmers Market or sold at the farm.

So, what makes this farm any different from other farms?

All farmers love their work, are dedicated to producing a good product and to making sure the customer is satisfied.

Sharon makes Fort Steele Farm different from other farms.

David Heinimann in Terrace:

<p>I was reminded of Tim and Linda Ewert, of Pouce Coupe, or, properly, the Block Line Road, south of Dawson Creek.

Extraordinary people, homesteaders who lived off the grid before it was fashionable, in a mellow log homes nestled at the ends of their fields, on the edge of forest.

They lived bare-to-the-bone, everything homespun, it seemed, and they gave true meaning the word "organic".

We bought half a free-range pig from Tim and Linda--when did you last hear of such a thing?--and would groove out to their bluegrass and conversation and lively kids. Homespun, homegrown, homemade--they personified the joys and the rigour of country living from kitchen to stable to plowrows.

If they're listening--and they likely are, the CBC their one concession to worldliness, I hope they are well, and if things are as they should be, they are, I don't doubt, thriving.

Trish Findlay in Vernon:

I nominate Shelley Baumbraugh and Dave Doran of Deer Foot Farms in Armstrong.

For years been raising wonderful large organic chickens under ethical and humane conditions.

They have worked tirelessly to have farm gate poultry that stresses the birds far less.

They, and other poultry growers from Grand Forks to the North Okanagan have struggled with all the hoops required by government affecting the small farm but were dealt a further blow as their portable poultry abattoir has gone under.

Those who do not know where their food comes from may be content with factory farming.

Those of us who know how amazing real food is and how hard it is to survive on the small farm appreciate the mammoth effort required.

Monica Jackson in Victoria:

I would like to tell you about Farmer Roger of Kalwood Farms in Oyama, BC.

This farm has been producing fruit and beef cattle since the early 1900's.

Now though, he primarily grows wonderful, huge late season cherries.

The cherries are so big that they don't fit into my cherry pitter.

They make a juicy mouthful, some times taking 2 bites to eat.

Roger is constantly trying to improve the process of growing and processing the fruit.

He modifies recycled small tracked vehicles to make it easier when pruning.

Farmers have to be versatile and dedicated.

Susan Calne in Kamloops:

<p>Dieter Dody and his partner Deb, run Thistle Farm just on the banks of the North Thompson river.

He started in 1997 with just an acre and by 1999 was certified organic.

He now manages 6 acres producing amazing high quality vegetables including heirlooms.

He is always at the farmers' market, caters weddings, harvest suppers. and plays host to other culinary events.

He runs a winter delivery service, delivering early in the morning so that the produce doesn't sit on the step all day.

He picked up a goose for me in the Fraser Valley one Christmas and supplies organic turkeys for Christmas and Thanksgiving

Organic farming isn't rare in this area;however having the combination quality, reliability supplied by a couple who are just so so nice, who are never too busy to listen or explain and who allow their produce to speak for itself without banging the organic drum too loudly.

Ron Hackett in Victoria:

My favorite farmer is 'Farmer Jim' Stewart in Valemount B.C. Jim had cows, and chickens, and a couple times a year he had turkeys. He got the chicks by the cardboard box full in the mail. Mrs. Farmer Jim was the Post Mistress back then, but I don't think that had anything to do with Jim getting young birds through the mail. But I always thought it was funny.

We used to get our eggs from Jim. He sold a lot of eggs to the local residents, and it was on the honour system a lot of the time. You'd just take the eggs you wanted, and leave your money in the jar. Valemount was that kind of town. One day Jim was having a real time with his forklift. He could get it started, but it wouldn't run very well at all. I was working with a wonderful company in Valemount as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. A helicopter mechanic. I had a look at the forklift, and played with the carburettor and managed to get it running a bit better. It took a bit more work but to me it was recreational, just tinkering and shooting the breeze with Jim.

Peter Jonker in Meadow Creek:

I'm recommending not one, but three, outstanding farmers: Kate, Fiona, and Rachel-all from the North-Kootenay Lake area. Briefly, these three amazing women have, over a mere two years, fully engaged residents here in a community produce farming operation they have named: "Lakehead & Beyond Produce". At first glance their project looks and feels like a community garden project, but it is clearly becoming a community renewal initiative.

People from Meadow Creek, Cooper Creek, Argenta, and even Kaslo are involved. I bought into the program and, every Wednesday, pick up a box-full of vegetables-lush, crisp, and organically grown.

I'm attaching a couple of photos that say much more than my very brief overview. Congratulations to these awesome gals-risk-takers, hard workers, and wonderful people!

Ellen Connell from Saanichton:

Very recently I was introduced to Farmer Phil of Oldfield Road on the Saanich Peninsula. I have had the tremendous pleasure of enjoying his raspberries, large and luscious and oh so juicy, his blueberries, words cannot describe, and also his chickens oh my goodness. I have been eating chicken for a good many years and I have never tasted chicken like Farmer Phil's, firm, moist and oh so flavorful. At our house we say this is what a happy chicken tastes like. Thanks Farmer Phil for bringing us such wonderful food.

David Spear in Brentwood Bay:

<p>Grant and Barb Smith of Ravenstone Farm raise purebred registered Clun Forest and purebred Navajo Churro sheep and purebred Large Black Hogs.

Ravenstone Farm is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, BC. just north of Qualicum Beach.

They produce freezer lambs and hogs using ethical and sustainable methods.

Their livestock are raised on grass and forage pastures using a rotational method allowing for antibiotic and hormone free, happy, healthy animals.

They also produce aritisan sausage and charcuterie using their livestock, and available at local farmers' markets.

Sandra Paterson in Okanagan Falls:

This is the first time I have written to your show, but it seemed very appropriate just now as my husband and I have just picked 30 pounds of strawberries at Covert Organic Farms in Oliver, BC.

We go there often throughout the growing season and find a wonderful variety of organic fruits and vegetables available for U-pick.

I therefore nominate Gene and Shelley Covert as Outstanding in their fields.

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