Pattison Farm’s Certified Organic produce has been a staple in our produce section for as long as I can remember and Gerry has been farming since…well forever, he recalls. I believe they started farming in the late 1980’s.
The farm is located in Black Creek on Dzini Rd. It is a charming 15 acre property with about 4 acres of farmed land, three large greenhouses, a cleaning & packaging area, a small apple & pear orchard, and of course the farm stand.
Life before farming? Gerry left the suit & the corporate world to appreciate a healthier lifestyle with plenty of exercise, fresh air, and good food to eat. Farming is not without it’s stressors however. Climate conditions are an unknown challenge. This year for instance was a cold & rainy spring with a sudden hot spell. Gerry said that most things were late & he had to use twice as much seed this year due to poor seed germination.
The farm is certified organic and employs up to 7 people at the height of the season. Organic farms use a variety of natural pest control solutions, such as releasing thousands of ladybugs into the greenhouses and trolling the crops with a honey trap. There is a lot of organization that goes with managing a large farm. Gerry says that he practices a 3-4 year crop rotation with his crops and there is always some land remains fallow (nothing on it). Composting is essential of course to rebuilding the soil.
Farming is hard work! I feel like a wimp complaining that my child wakes up at 6am after hearing about Gerry’s 3 am starts some mornings, or getting up through the night every three hours to switch hoses if they fell behind on watering. Gerry’s wife Dagmar works full time off the farm. Like many small to medium sized farms, one partner needs to work at a second career to afford farming, says Gerry with a bit of a laugh.
Gerry grows a variety of veggies including: kale, spinach, lettuce, salad greens, carrots, beets, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, & squash. He also surprises us every year with something less common like celeriac or kohlrabi. Somehow, food just tastes better when you know that it was picked that morning only 20 km away, grown with caring hands, & delivered by the farmer himself. Pattison Farms provides produce to several restaurants in Campbell River & the Comox Valley, Healthyway Natural Foods (of course) & their own farm stand on Dzini Rd, Black Creek.
Thanks for all the hard work & healthy veggies Gerry!