After visiting the wineries of the Fraser Valley in 2004, the Vancouver Branch of the IWFS decided it was high time to visit some of the wonderful farms and we set out on Saturday August 12, 2006 to discover the produce of Agassiz. The day was pleasantly warm as we arrived at our first stop at the Limbert Mountain Farm where we were treated to a tour and the scents of dozens of different herbs as well as welcome refreshments of lavender lemonade, lavender shortbread and gourmet basil pesto.
Next stop was a visit to the unique salmon rearing operation at Swift Aqua Culture where Bruce Swift raises coho in fresh water to a size of around 1½ pounds. He is also experimenting with rearing local crayfish and finishes off the cycle by growing wasabi plants, all for local markets.
We were treated to a real farm visit with a mixed herd of cows – Brown Swiss, Guernsey and Holstein - at Farm House Natural Cheeses where George gave a highly informative tour of the farm and dairy and Debra Amrein-Boyes presented her excellent cheeses with obvious passion. Our lunch was provided by Kjersti Sohlberg, a Canadian pie-making champion, and included Swift’s coho salmon, local vegetables, an excellent selection of Farm House cheeses and, of course, a delicious blackberry pie!
The afternoon saw us in the shade of the trees at Canadian Hazlenut farm where we learned of the methods of growing, harvesting and handling hazelnuts (or filberts or cobb nuts – take your pick of names, it’s all the same nut!) before heading for a brief stop at the Fort Wine Company to taste their fruit wines on the way home.
All our hosts treated us royally and our members agreed that another farm visit in the near future should be a highlight of the calendar.