To celebrate AgDay in Canada, The Herald has compiled a list of some of the farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly to support agriculture in the Nicola Valley.
Coquihalla Apiaries: Sarah and Gavin, along with their two children, operate Coquihalla Apiaries. Gavin has 15 years beekeeping experience and the family prides themselves on producing high quality, unpasteurized honey as well as soaps, salves, candles and beeswax wraps.
Grimshire Apiary: Descendants of an early pioneering family in the Nicola Valley, the Grimshires are happily at home in the Sunshine Valley area, raising bees for raw, unpasteurized honey, beeswax, nucs and queens.
Nicola Valley Apiaries: Producers of gourmet honey made by bees roaming free on the unsprayed ranchlands in the historic Nicola Valley surrounding Merritt, B.C. Widely available in several local stores.
3 Bar Farms: 3 Bar Farms raises fresh produce, including more than 50 varieties of garlic, using sustainable farming with no use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers. For a decade they have also hosted the Nicola Valley’s beloved Pumpkin Patch.
Renaissance Farms BC: A small farm focusing on the revival of sustainable, regenerative agriculture. Offering purebred, registered Nigerian Dwarf goats as both dairy and pet stock, as well as goat hoof trimming.
Miller’s Farm: Kent and Ellen Miller primarily raise meat goats but also have roughly 40 years of experience operating an apiary. Kent offers a basic beekeeping course and Ellen has become well known for her fused glass art and classes.
MacVicar Family Farm: A small family farm dedicated to bringing the people of the Nicola Valley local and ethically raised meat and produce. The MacVicars also offer coffee, spices, and plants and seedlings grown in their two greenhouses. They have recently started a veggie box CSA.
Petit Creek Lavender: Primarily focusing on lavender, owner Judy-Sue Suzuki also grows fruit and vegetables for her family alongside sheep, goats, angora rabbits and all manner of birds. Products made from the locally grown lavender include flowers, oils, wreaths, culinary and bath products.
Moseyonacres: A small farm with a variety of offerings that include infused and spiced honey, beeswax candles, cut flowers, skin care products, and preserves alongside fruit and veggies, chickens and goats.
Sunshine Valley Hops: A small scale hop farm specializing in the Tahoma variety, which are then processed, packaged and supplied to several breweries as an integral part of producing beer.
Left Field Cider Co.: Located just off of Hwy 97C north of Merritt, Left Field Cider is a family affair with sisters Theresa and Kate creating handcrafted English-style cider utilizing a hayfield turned orchard and barn turned ciderhouse on their family ranch.
Forest Moon Fungi: Michael Ebenal grows gourmet mushrooms in a small, specialty facility. He utilizes various waste products such as spent hops, wood chips and coffee grounds to produce healthy, environmentally conscious food.
Shulus Community and Medicine Garden: The Shulus Community Gardens grow fresh, pesticide free produce for the Lower Nicola Indian Band Community, with the Medicine Garden available for planting traditional food, teas, herbs and medicinal plants.
A-P Guest Ranch: Established in 1986, A-P Guest Ranch is surrounded by impressive fishing lakes and thousands of acres of rolling terrain for picturesque trail riding and winter sports. The buildings are the originals of an old homestead ranch from 1911, carefully preserved and restored to retain an authentic atmosphere and have been decorated to reflect classic western style. The bedrooms depict the lives of famous Old West characters and provide an educational, restful setting.
Seven Half Diamond Ranch: A guest ranch on Hwy 5A offering quiet and peaceful cabin stays alongside a variety of activities such as fly fishing, bird watching, biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding or just rest and relaxation.
Canoa Farms: A horse farm that hosts the fall BC Mountain Trail Show as well as training clinics on their very own Mountain Trail Course, featuring numerous natural articles. Also home to the APHA stallions The Huntsman and LT Color me Jagger.
Tuskast Icelandic Horse Farm: Located just off of Hwy 97C Tuskast Icelandic Horse Farm is a breeding and training facility for purebred Icelandic Horses. Icelandics are a small stature horse famous for their “tölt”, an incredibly smooth four-beat gait during which at least one foot is always on the ground.
Winsome Meadows: A boutique horse breeding farm that focuses on warmbloods for the hunter and jumper disciplines. Winsome Meadows also offers collection service and cryopreservation. Owner Bridgette Henderson also rescues feral horses or “wildies” that are gentled, trained and placed in new homes.
8 Mile Ranch: Gerry and Corena Desilets are well known ranchers in the Nicola Valley. In addition to raising cattle, Gerry hauls hay and livestock and Corena owns Calton Cattle Co., creating one of a kind western decor items available at Creative Company.
Kingsvale Cattle Co.: Located on the banks of the Coldwater River southwest of Merritt, Kingsvale Cattle Co. raises hay and offers custom feeding of cattle including backgrounding of beef calves.
Black Diamond Ranch: Located in Kingsvale in a picturesque setting along the Coldwater River and GIllis Creek. Offering camping as well as farm gate sales of eggs and chicken, beef and pork. Whole pig BBQ roasting is also advertised on their website.
Collett Ranch: The historic Collett Ranch, located in Collettville, is now owned by Avanlee Farms. It is primarily a hay farm but also offers riding lessons for both western riders and hunter/jumpers and eventers, as well as horse boarding as Eden Equine.
Neale Ranch: Approaching a century in operation, Neale Ranch is a cow-calf operation in the Lower Nicola area that still remains in the Neale family and provides natural, grass fed beef from happy cows.
Pooley Ranch: Established in 1885, Pooley Ranch has been owned by the Pooley family for more than a century, as recognized by a Century Farm Award in 2016 as well as induction into the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame as a Century Ranch in 2013. Pooley Ranch raises grass finished beef and Timothy/Brome hay.
Stump Lake Ranch: Established in 1883, Stump Lake Ranch is tucked in to the rolling hills of the Upper Nicola Valley on the shores of Stump Lake. The diverse landscape is a network of interacting habitats including rolling grasslands, evergreen and deciduous forests, lakes, rocky areas, and wetlands which are the homeland to moose, deer, eagles, black bears, and coyotes.
Bell Ranch: Curt and Erica Martindale run a cow-calf operation in the Lower Nicola area. Although relatively new, the business is growing and the couple are happy to be raising their children in agriculture. Erica is also the 4H leader for the Nicola Valley.
Huber Hay Sales: Established in 1982 on the shores of Nicola Lake, Huber Hay Sales is well known for providing quality hay to livestock producers. Sherry and Gene will be retiring this year and handing the operation over to daughter Erica and husband Curt of Bell Ranch, who will continue to grow hay for their own cattle.
Corner’s Pride Farms: A large scale dairy operation headquartered in Chilliwack, BC, the Merritt division of Corner’s Pride Farms raises dairy heifers on land leased mainly from River Ranch for their main farm in Rosedale.
River Ranch: Another of the Nicola Valley’s beef producers, running beef cattle on both River Ranch and the Lazy L.
Kane Lake Ranch: A three-generation beef cattle operation taking pride in converting native grasses and forage into high quality food protein. Passionate about land stewardship of the natural landscape and river riparian areas while helping to support local families and community.
Bar FX Ranch: A family owned cattle and hay ranch nestled along the Nicola River and also covering 100,000 acres of rangeland. A resilient operation that has endured both fires and floods to keep their livestock happy, healthy and fed.
Blue Sky Ranch: Blue Sky Ranch is an off-grid farm that specializes in responsibly raised, pastured pork. Co-owner Julia Smith is president of BC’s Small Scale Meat Producers Association and an advocate for the importance of local agriculture.
Nicola Ranch: Established in 1919 and now encompassing roughly 300,000 acres Nicola Ranch proudly raises black angus cattle and registered Quarter Horses.
Douglas Lake Cattle Company: In operation continuously since 1884, Douglas Lake Cattle Company is Canada’s largest working cattle ranch, headquartered Northeast of Merritt with divisions in Alkali Lake and Riske Creek, B.C.
Quilchena Ranch: Another historic ranch, located near Nicola Lake along Hwy 5A, Quilchena Ranch was purchased by the Douglas Lake Cattle Company in 2013. It is also home to the elegant Quilchena Hotel (1908) and the Quilchena General Store (1912).
Guichon Ranch: The Guichon brothers from Savoie, France founded the Guichon Ranch in 1867. The Ranch is still in operation today, raising several hundred head of cattle. Guichons have played a prominent role in BC’s history, with Gerard F.J. Guichon inducted into the Order of Canada in 1974 for his work in Cattleman’s Associations and Judith Guichon serving as Lieutenant Governor of BC from 2012 – 2018.
60 Ranch, Spences Bridge: 60 Ranch is a multi-generational cattle ranch located in the sagebrush hills and bunchgrass meadows of Spences Bridge, where they produce top quality, grass fed beef as nature intended.
Hilltop Gardens Farm, Spences Bridge: A family farm that offers a variety of produce for sale from a well known roadside market. The Hilltop Gardens farmhouse, which was sadly lost to fire in 2018 after more than a century, was once home to wife of famed anthropologist James Teit, Leonie Josephine Morens.
Nicola Valley Rodeo Association: For over 60 years, The Nicola Valley Rodeo Association has been committed to preserving the ranching and rodeo heritage of the Nicola Valley. The NVRA hosts a wide range of events, including ranch rodeos, youth rodeos, barrel racing, roping and other equestrian events and clinics.
Nicola Valley Fall Fair Association: For decades the association has worked hard to organize and promote local agriculture, culminating in a renowned Fall Fair which showcases the best the Nicola Valley can grow, cook, craft and create, all put on display on Labour Day weekend.
Merritt Little Britches Rodeo: Little Britches rodeo is a non-profit organization that offers cowboys and cowgirls ages 2 to 15 the chance to compete in entry level rodeo events such as goat tying, poles, stakes, barrels, dummy roping, steer riding nad more.
Grassland Homesteader’s 4H Club: 4H is an integral part of the agricultural community, providing youth aged 6 to 25 hands on experience, empowerment and mentorship for more than 100 years. 4H Canada’s motto is “Learn To Do By Doing”.
The Herald thanks you for your support and apologizes to anyone we may have inadvertently missed.