Agriculture has played an important role in the settlement history of Chilliwack and continues to contribute to the economic health of our community. The valley’s rich alluvial soil coupled with a moderate climate (and yes, rainfall) continues to attract farming families; currently there are over 900 farms in Chilliwack and many of them are family run.
And did you know Chilliwack is home to the largest dairy farm in Canada with a herd of over 3000 cattle! Unfortunately the farm is not open to the public. (They don’t even have a website)
Although Chilliwack’s large cattle operation is off limits to visitors (for health and safety reasons) there are farms in Chilliwack where you can visit to experience an authentic agricultural immersion for the whole family. I have listed five Chilliwack farms below.
Be sure to contact the farms directly to confirm when they are open to the public before you plan your visit.
Chilliwack Museum and Archives
Fantasy Farms is a family run facility on Gibson Road specializing in seasonal farm festivals. Starting in spring with Easter on the Farm; summer happenings include The Chilliwack Corn and Country Music Festival and the Garlic & Music Festival. Fall at Fantasy Farms is a very busy season as they host children of all ages at Reapers Haunted Attraction and Maze and Petey’s Pumpkin Patch. In December the farm is transformed with seasonal magic to welcome visitors to Petey’s Country Christmas. Check out their website for details and dates http://www.fantasyfarmsinc.ca
Growing an assortment of vegetables as well as blueberries and strawberries, the Forstbauer Family Natural Food Farm was established in 1977 in Abbotsford before the family relocated to a larger property in Chilliwack. The Forstbauer family was also a pioneer in biodynamic and organic farming practices over thirty years ago and have created a healthy farm environment by following these farming methods (while raising twelve children at the same time!) The farm is open by appointment only 604-794-3999. http://www.forstbauer.com/forstbauer/Home.html
Local Harvest Market is Chilliwack’s newest addition to the local fresh food movement. The farm and market opened with a limited variety of produce late last summer; April 1st was the opening of the farm and market for 2014 with an offering of freshly harvested vegetables, herbs and fruit grown on their fertile thirty acre property on Lickman Road. Local Harvest is more than a farm, however, as they offer farm tours, (check out the alpacas and bees) workshops (covering interesting topics, like home canning) and rides on either the barrel train or hay wagon. Picnic tables are provided on site to enjoy the home-made offerings from their café. The market store carries more than just veggies – here you will find local eggs, honey, jams and even coffee. Come to Local Harvest Market and experience an authentic farm! Discover how sustainable farming benefits the environment and the community and see where your food comes from. Find them at 7697 Lickman Road 604-846-6006. http://www.thelocalharvest.ca/
Yarrow Elderberry Farm is located at 44497 Vedder Mountain Road in Yarrow and opens seasonally for u-pick. Elderberry fruit is a new crop to the Chilliwack area and not well-know (good luck finding elderberries at your local big-box grocery store). The deep purple, almost black fruit hangs upside down from the deciduous shrub when ready to harvest in late summer, is rich in both vitamin A and C and is used for pies, jams, jellies and wine. (Remember Elton John’s song Elderberry Wine?) http://www.yarrowelderberryfarm.com/
Rehoboth Farm is another family run operation in Yarrow housing close to 400 free-range hens and chickens as well as grazing goats, pigs and cattle. Stop by their farm for a dozen free-range eggs. Their free-range eggs are also available in select stores – but why not get them direct from the farm.
Located in beautiful Yarrow at 4123 Eckert Street, Rehoboth Farms has also been certified by the SPCA since 2006. Call the farm at 604-823-4534 for their hours of operation. (no website)
Come to Chilliwack and experience a day on the farm – see where your food comes from.
The Kipp family with their plum harvest. (Chilliwack Museum and Archives)