Terra Firma set to double production on new farm

Terra Firma Farm has moved to new location on Highway 23 South, where they expect to expand production and raise livestock.

Robert Jay and Terra Park are laying the groundwork for their new organic farm on the former site of Nelles Ranch off Highway 23 South.

Terra Park and Robert Jay are probably more excited than most as the snow rapidly melts in the valley around Revelstoke.

As soon as its gone, the owners of Terra Firma Farm get to start working on their new farm at the site of Nelles Ranch on Highway 23 South.

Their new home is only a few hundred metres away from their old one, but it’s much larger and the soil is better. “We’ll probably double our production this year, and then get bigger every year,” said Jay, when I visited him and Park at their new farm a few weeks ago.

Terra Firma was started by Park and Jay eight years ago on Mount Begbie Road, on a property overlooking the City of Revelstoke. They diligently worked to convert the soil and develop it into a viable organic farm, selling seed starts and produce at the Farm & Craft Market in the summer, and at Mountain Goodness and Le Marche.

Last year, they jumped at the opportunity to expand and grow with the purchase of Nelles Ranch, a former horse breeding farm that changed hands several times until Jay and Park acquired it last summer. “The opportunity just came up,” said Park. “We knew it would be a lot of work but it seemed it would be worthwhile.”

They said they were running out of space on their Mount Begbie Road property, where they were limited to farming 1.5 acres of land. They also said the soil was much better here and would require much less work. “It’s almost a no-brainer the soil here,” said Jay.

It was hard to get a complete vision of their new location when I visited, with the ground covered under a blanket of snow. Their new property is about 30 acres total, six acres of which is flat, arable land they’ll be able to farm. They’ll be starting with three acres this summer. and expanding every year until all the available flat land has been cleared and planted.

Their plan is to increase the quantity of what they make, as well as add a few more kinds of produce, such as corn, to their offerings. “We’ll have more of everything. A few new things, but basically more of the same,” said Park.

They also want to raise livestock on the parts of the property not suitable for farming. “Chickens for now. Eventually, probably pork,” said Park. “Maybe sheep if Rob gets his way.”

They’re building a new home on the property that will also have space for plant starts, a washing station, and a suite for a farmhand.

One of the new projects they have going on is a partnership with Okanagan College to see if salad greens can be grown inside a greenhouse during the winter. They have two greenhouses set up, one with a single layer of plastic, and one with a double layer. The former lets in more light, but stores less heat, while the latter lets in less light, but traps the heat better.

They are using heat generated by a compost pile to warm the garden beds. The greens were covered to help trap the heat and were just beginning to sprout. “We have three years to figure it out,” said Park.

Park and Jay have a busy spring ahead of them. Once the snow melts, they’ll get digging to install an irrigation system. “We’ll plow it again, then we’ll start planting,” he said. “As soon as the snow’s gone, we’ll be on.”

When asked about their hopes for 10 years from now, they hesitated. “We want to work off the land and have it in full production,” said Jay.

After a bit of hemming and hawing, he spilled the beans:  “We were thinking about changing the house into a farm-to-table style restaurant down the road to use up any seconds or things we have,” he said. “That’s not for at least 10 years before we explore it.”

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Two people in hospital after crash on Highway 1 near Bridal Falls

Closure expected to last hours, while drivers are told to take detours

Two new fires now burning in the Shuswap

Fire crews gain control of Perry River blaze between Sicamous and Revelstoke

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

Crews fight small wildfire between Malakwa and Revelstoke

The blaze is classed as active and is estimated at 4 hectares in size

Flooding complicates summer fun, health authority warns

Avoid fast-flowing water such as creeks and rivers.

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Boots and Suits lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

Most Read