Editor’s note: This is the first of a regular column from the Kettle Valley Food Co-op detailing producers and consumers.
Producer members Jamie and Maureen Haynes farm about 485 hectares (1,200 acres) of spectacular high bench land just outside of Rock Creek.
Approaching their farmhouse over a two kilometre driveway bearing their name, it’s clear this is no ordinary family farm.
In fact, Jamie Haynes’ family has farmed this land since 1902.
James Lindsay, his grandfather, registered the land as a farm in 1907.
He was known as Pinnacle Jim for his efforts fire-spotting from the highest spot on his land which is a short walk from the farmhouse.
Incidentally, the original farmhouse is still in use: a comfortable home, complete with patterned tin ceilings and a free-standing stove for heat.
These two very committed farmers explain a philosophy of farming excellence where everything is geared to producing safe, nutritious food for people who are lucky enough to obtain their output.
They produce specialty grains (no genetically modified organisms or GMOs here).
Their product line, which can be purchased through the Kettle Valley Food Co-op, includes hull-less oats that can be used in place of rice and wheat berries that make excellent salads.
Wheat and rye are processed into flour at Heritage Mills in Rock Creek by Mel Steinke and his family.
Their flour is all stone ground, a method of milling that causes the wheat germ oil to emulsify with the flour dust, preventing rancidity.
Haynes says that one of the limiting factors to a more widespread use of the whole grains is a lack of awareness of how to prepare these foods. He is a great advocate for the ‘Slow Food’ movement.
The Haynes have recipes and advice that they are happy to pass along. One text that is helpful is The Whole Grain Cookbook by Diane Rich and Dr. Gabe Mirkin. The Haynes are strong believers in locally grown food and farm-gate sales.
Maureen Haynes is a force of nature. She bakes pies of many kinds, at last count 27 different fruit varieties. She is capable of organizing large groups of people to work together to can 400 quarts of pears in a day.
Apparently much wastage can occur in Okanagan fruit country and she is one of those who pushes back hard.
Jamie told us that many farmers are now, like them, in their 60s.
They hope there will be a next generation as eager to continue the farming tradition that makes possible our local, secure food supply.
– Contributed by Norman Chapman