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Saanich Peninsula farmers pin their hopes on a bountiful year

Farmers optimistic we won’t see a repeat of last year’s cold, wet weather
Tom Michell of Michell’s Farm says you will never get anything fresher than when you buy locally. (Brendan Mayer/News Staff)

Some farmers on the Saanich Peninsula are optimistic this will be a good season of farming.

“We have planted a lot of stuff and it’s all doing well,” Silver Rill Corn general manager and co-owner Clayton Fox said. “We just need some more heat and sun at this point. The forecast is showing that it will pick up quite a bit. There’s a bit of unknown still. It’s looking better than last year.”

Tom Michell of Michell’s Farm is also hoping the weather will improve.

“We haven’t had an awful lot of rain,” Michell said. “Some plantings are happening in higher ground in between rain showers and windstorms.”

Fox said that last spring was one of the toughest seasons he could have had.

“Last year was very cold and wet for a long time. When that happens, we adjust. We try and make up for it in other ways,” he said.

“We try and keep the season going a little longer. If you have a worse year, you might not be able to purchase anything new like equipment upgrades and things like that. You have to use what you got for another couple of years.”

Michell is happy to see many more people now supporting local farmers.

“They are recognizing the issues with bringing stuff out of California or Mexico and relying on that food source,” Michell said. “A lot of people have jumped on board with going to farmers’ markets as well as farms that have any type of direct gate sales. That cuts out the middleman as well. You will never get anything fresher than buying locally. It doesn’t matter what area of B.C. you’re getting it from. The quality is probably going to be better than anything that comes out of Southern California or Mexico.”

Michell said farms are continuing to experience theft.

“There’s a number of people associated with the Direct Farm Marketing Association that have been reporting thefts at unattended farm stands. People were stealing berries or other produce in boxes or bags. It tends to be less detectable if you’re operating as a closed market where you’ve got staff members in there and other customers and possibly security cameras.”

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