Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The Real Potential of Chilliwack
Corn and dairy
markets not enough to sustain all farm types, better food infrastructure
Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald,
M.Sc. Applied, Retired RN
markets once a week in the summer are a Godsend, but they should be
central in Chilliwack, Sardis and Yarrow, not only far northwest at
Several years ago the market
was on Mill street, but there wasn't room for farmers' trucks behind
the stalls, to keep produce from wilting.
Regarding food distribution locally, our local governments should
subsidize entrepreneurs to build and manage refrigerated storage
sheds and a freezer section, for local vegetables and fruit. There
could be shelters/tents for private farmers to market their produce
beside it. Perhaps farmers should be able to leave their left over
produce in the refrigerated shed, and be able to sell it the
SKT, Kin's and Hofstedes carry some local produce, but it is
lost/unnoticed when mixed with imported fruit and vegetables. Local
farmers should always be featured, not overshadowed. Having a middle
man probably is not encouraging market gardening. These commercial
markets could make the local products more prominent all year round.
There should be provision for locally grown produce to be stored all
year round, for the convenience of Vedder, Yarrow and Greendale
farmers, in sheds beside the Southern Railway (old Interurban). At
Sumas/Huntingdon the Southern Rlwy transfers CN/CP cars to and from
the Santa Fe and Union Pacific Railways. Did you know they have
refrigerator cars? Looking ahead, I have a vision for selling our
vegetables and fruit far and wide in America and China.
If any of you have experience along this line please share it.
We had Fraser Vale Frozen Foods in Chilliwack. Excellent frozen
vegetables and fruits grown locally, were packaged and sold across
Canada and perhaps in the USA. In the late 60's when I was studying
at McGill University in Montreal, I bought FraserVale frozen peas,
etc. It was a successful thriving industry. About 15 years ago
Pillsbury bought it, but they closed the plant. That put market
gardeners and strawberry and raspberry growers out of business.
Blueberry farmers also are suffering and need help marketing their
produce. So do hazelnut/filbert farmers and walnut growers.
At one time Chilliwack was Cherry Capital and could be again if
marketing were supported properly.
Peaches can be grown here and thrive. My father Chris and his
brother August Schneider, had large peach and plum orchards between
Williams Street and CCSecondary School. When they were over 80 years
old, they sold out and Rotary Street was built. Houses took over
that wonderful peach orchard.
Now small farmers have a hard time making a living. They get by
through enlarging their dairies (agribusiness size) and growing
corn, cedar hedging and nursery shrubs, or building green houses for
roses and perennial flowers. Some have greatly enlarged their
mushroom sheds and their chicken barns. None of these agribusinesses
need the fertile soil in this valley. ARL land is misused.
What can be done to motivate return to proper use of our arable
land? I think the answer is for visionary people to establish a
refrigerated and frozen food business, with or without encouragement
by municipal, regional district and provincial governments' help.
Support by CEPCO could help bring prosperity back to family farming,
market gardening and orchards.
Please tell compatible
experienced industries about this great opportunity for them to
invest in storage and marketing of fresh produce, and quickly make
About Myrtle Macdonald
M.Sc. Applied (in Nursing Research and Education), McGill
Myrtle is a retired
registered nurse now working with the local chapter of the BC
Schizophrenia Association. She's 91 and one of the Voice's most
popular contributors and we're very fortunate to have her share her
knowledge wisdom with us.
Myrtle was a street nurse
for many years in places like India and Montreal.
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice