Farm Legacy Letters: Rob Hettler, Pilgrims’ Produce Farm

Posted by Alex on October 05, 2020 2 Comments

To future generations:

I personally can trace a farming heritage on my father’s side back to 1770 in Alsace-Lorraine in the Black Forest region of Germany. Our current farm was bought in 1991 at 1568 Eagle Rock Road in Spallumcheen. Prior to our taking over the farm it had been a pig farm, a mixed farm and a raspberry farm dating back to the 1930’s. The farm began as a hay farm when we took over, which we quickly converted back to a market garden vegetable operation, also growing strawberries and raspberries. 

We transitioned to being an organic farm from the beginning. Over the years the farm has changed to include six greenhouse high tunnel buildings and indoor growing in the soil. Since 2006, we have added much more diversity to the farm, with elements of permaculture and many more fruiting shrubs, fruit and nut trees. 

My strongest memory of the farm at the beginning was the barrenness of the hay fields. There were few birds, insects or other wildlife around. Since adding so many other tree and fruit species we find so much more wildlife around including three varieties of snakes and 10 varieties of bumblebees.

My highest priority for the farm is to continue to be an organic vegetable, berry, fruit and nut farm that feeds the local community. We have been successful for the last 29 years selling healthy food locally despite the challenges of farming, and have strong connections in the community.There is no greater joy than seeing the delight on children’s and their parents’ faces as they eat a field-ripened strawberry or munch a fresh carrot.

Although our four children do not wish to continue to actively farm the land they love this property, and they – and we – wish to see the farm continue to be farmed as an organic food farm with as much diversity as possible. My hope is that in 30 years’ time this farm and the farm name, Pilgrims’ Produce would continue to be well known and respected as a source of healthy and delicious food of all kinds for the North Okanagan.

Rob Hettler

Pilgrims’ Produce Farm, Armstrong BC

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2 thoughts on “Farm Legacy Letters: Rob Hettler, Pilgrims’ Produce Farm

  1. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to growing not only food, but also young farmers!! Your mentorship and care and generosity of spirit have been a jumping off point for others, and this helps to ensure not only that your farm will continue to produce good food, but that other farms will thrive as well, because of the skills and experience young farmers have gained by working alongside you!

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