Originally hailing from Aldergrove in the Fraser Valley, the Handleys have made Merritt their home since 2005. Their passion for farming became the family business in 2007 when 3 Bar Farms was officially launched.

From the beginning it was important to Lucas Handley that the farm not become an “industrial” or “factory” farm, that everything be done according to traditional practices that work with nature rather than against it. The result is food that is produced in a way that is both beneficial to its environment and the people that consume it.

When questioned on his reasons for not utilizing products such as glyphosate and readily available pesticides and synthetic fertilizer, Handley said, “It’s just not something I ever thought I’d need. People have been growing for thousands of years using crop rotation, companion planting and green manures. If it worked then, why not now?”

Indeed, why not? 3 Bar has become a staple of the Nicola Valley landscape and farm culture. Their weekly booth at the Farmers’ Market and the Summer Nights Market on Fridays as well as their Wednesday door-to-door deliveries provide nutritious, local food to the citizens of Merritt and the surrounding area. A wide variety of vegetables, farm fresh eggs, over 50 varieties of garlic ranging from mild to extra hot (grown from over 100,000 bulbs planted each fall) and value-added products such as pumpkin spice and garlic powder, are available to customers.

According to the farm website, “3 Bar Farms prides itself on its fresh produce, grown completely without the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers. We use mechanical weed control, from hand pulling to our new rolling cultivator.  We gain an edge on the growing season via protected cropping, low tunnel covers, and greenhouses. We use drip irrigation, conserving water. We store our produce in cold rooms and root cellars, utilizing the natural temperatures within the earth to cool. We use the straw from our grain operations and the manure from our chickens to fertilize the gardens. Our farm is farmed in a sustainable manner. Our soils are alive. And the food we sell is nutritious!”