CHC visits berry growers in Abbotsford, B.C.

Rebecca Lee at Kahlon Farms
Rebecca Lee, CHC Executive Director, at Kahlon Farms during a recent trip to B.C. Photo: Lisa Craig.

Rebecca Lee, Executive Director of the Canadian Horticultural Council, took advantage of a recent trip to British Columbia to visit several berry growers in Abbotsford.

Rebecca’s first stop was to visit Berryhill Foods, to chat with Tom, Steve, Tim, and Mike Phillips, and Mark Adams. Berryhill has been packing B.C. raspberries and blueberries for 25 years. They are a family and farmer-run business that packs more than 20 million pounds of berries annually.

James Bergen of Bergen Farms and Triple Crown Packers hosted a tour of his IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) market raspberry line.

Then, at the Raspberry Research Station, Dr. Michael Dossett, PhD, explained how he specially selects 100 varieties of raspberries from an initial run of 6,000, and distributes seedlings from these 100 varieties for further research across Canada.

Rebecca then visited Townline Growers and Jordan Alamwala, a third-generation farmer. Rebecca hopped onto a berry picking machine that harvests raspberries for quick freezing. Rebecca enjoyed the views overlooking his 70-acre field and did some “quality testing” while walking through the rows.

Kahlon Farms was the next stop on the tour. The new packing plant that was under construction during Rebecca’s previous visit was now operating and processing IQF and fresh clam shell packs of blueberries.  Sukh Kahlon, owner of the farm, spoke about the berry industry’s need for international farm workers. Mr. Kahlon also spoke highly of his machine operators and the special relationships that have developed between him and some of his workers from Mexico.

Thank you to the B.C. Raspberry Industry Development Council for organizing the tour, and thank you to Berryhill Foods, Bergen Farms/Triple Crown Packers, Townline Growers, Kahlon Farms, and the Raspberry Research Station for welcoming Rebecca and speaking about their operations.

Rebecca was in Vancouver to give a presentation on business risk management at a meeting of the Federal, Territorial and Provincial Ministers of Agriculture, which took place on July 18-20.