In the past I had visited a few farms in Abbotsford as part of my own tours in the Fraser Valley. This summer I was able to participate in a media tour which visited many new spots that I hadn’t visited previously. Here are some of the places I visited which you should check out on your own day tour.
Our first stop was Taves Family Farms, this was a very large greenhouse operation that I had been yearning to visit for quite some time.
Ever since Great Grandfather John started farming in the 1930’s, it has remained a family tradition. Three generations later, John’s grandson, Loren Taves, continues to grow quality artisan vegetables & created the Applebarn– a fun fall destination with attractions, such as a pumpkin patch, hayrides, Corn Quest Maze, petting barn, pony rides, bouncy barn, a jumping pillow, Corn Gun, Pumpkin Cannon, UPick apples, 100% natural Apple Cider & much more!
Taves Family Farms
333 Gladwin Road, Abbotsford
One of the other highlights was our visit to Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm and Meadery this is where Mike and Judy Campbell believe in refiring instead of retiring. After finishing his career as a high school teacher, Mike turned his beekeeping hobby into a full-time passion. While Judy, a former federal public service manager, had to, first, overcome her fear of bees, her love of gardening and the outdoors was persuasion enough to follow in her husband’s footsteps.
The farm is a licensed meadery, producing a variety of honey wines, with most of the honey produced by their own bees, and most of the fruit and berries’ nectar for the bees produced from grapes, fruits, and berries on the Campbell Farm.
In addition to honey wines, they produce flavoured and natural source honeys, beeswax, beeswax candles, and honeycomb. They also sell beehive products, such as beeswax ointments and tinctures, honey soaps, and beeswax & honey-hand lotions and creams. As lifelong learners and educators, Mike and Judy are passionate about bee education, so they offer tours by appointment. To keep the bees busy, they have off-farm honeybee pollination services available to local growers.
Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm and Meadery
2595 Lefeuvre Road Abbotsford, BC
Each time I visit Lepp Farm Market there is always something new for me to discover, they are the largest farmers market in the Abbotsford area. Charlotte and Rob Lepp grew up on farms in Abbotsford, and raised their children on their own farm. They appreciate and understand the pride of harvest. Lepp Farm Market is the fulfillment of Rob’s farming passion, and Charlotte’s passion for preparing locally sourced foods. After learning of the 100 Mile Diet, and its common-sense approach to the advantages of eating local, the concept became a reality and the award-winning Lepp Family Farm was born.
Their skilled butcher team carefully crafts the Lepp Farms pork, chicken, and dry-aged beef into the finest cuts of meat and award-winning sausages. In addition to their premium meats and Lepp Farm’s seasonally grown produce, locally produced pies, cheeses, condiments, and Abbotsford’s finest deli, the market offers regular cooking classes and, often, celebrity chefs.
Lepp Farm Market
33955 Clayburn Rd, Abbotsford, BC
For lunch I had an opportunity to eat at Brambles Bistro for the first time, it is a wonderful bistro located at Tanglebank Gardens, this is a great spot to enjoy lunch or tea where the chef creates dishes from garden ingredients.
When the gardens are bedded down for winter, Tanglebank opens a heritage Christmas store in November and December.
Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro
29985 Downes Rd., Abbotsford
Phone: 604 856 9339
Known for their fine wines, our visit to Mt. Lehman Winery was another highlight of the tour, a family owned boutique winery specializing in small lots of premium naturally made wines. While the Fraser Valley is a less than an ideal wine producing area, that didn’t stop Vern Siemens from experimenting and succeeding in creating a successful boutique winery. In his characteristically determined fashion, he started by planting 50 different varietals until he could narrow it down to the ones that could perform well in the challenging climate. Success ensued, resulting in world-class wines, including pinot noir, pinot grigio, chardonnay, merlot and sauvignon blanc. The Siemens pride themselves on adopting sustainable growing methods and minimal intervention, in the winemaking process, producing beautifully created wines. All this determination resulted in dozens of awards.
Mt. Lehman Winery
5094 Mt. Lehman Rd Abbotsford, BC
604-746-2881 Vern’s cell 604 850 4768
I was fortunate to be able to return to Restaurant 62 for dinner as we ended our day long tour, I had a memorable meal here previously and was looking forward to returning.
At Restaurant 62 their menu is in harmony with the seasons. They source products from the local area farms & incorporate them in our menus. Where rural meets urban– for a downtown taste with no sacrifice in elegant ambiance, Restaurant 62 is the ‘restaurant of choice’ for local diners and a multiple award recipient. Chef Jeff Massey, recently named a ‘Top 40 Under 40’, creates seasonal, regionally-inspired menus that celebrate simplicity. He loves to take classic dishes and add a twist – like Mac and Cheese with lobster or crab, and he celebrates local vegetables with his own unusual flavour combinations. Original touches are everywhere, from the food and décor to the local art on the walls.
101 – 2001 McCallum Road, Abbotsford, BC
Take the family or take a friend and head on out to Abbotsford on your own Circle Farm Tour.
By: Richard Wolak