VFM20: Albert’s Herbs & Nursery
A full decade before the trend of urban farming brought hyper-local product to VFM markets, Albert Balabanov of Albert’s Herbs & Nursery was quietly farming his one acre plot in Burnaby, BC.
“It was a point of pride to be the closest farm of all farmers at Trout Lake,” said Albert, who grows a huge variety of herbs, plants, and vegetables in the Big Bend area of Burnaby, one of the most fertile agricultural lands in Canada. “It means fresher produce since I can pick everything I sell the day of or day before the market.”
Albert has been vending with Vancouver Farmers Markets since 1995.
“The market was small,” Albert recalled. “I didn’t have a lot of product left at the end of the first season – just some cherry tomatoes, which I sold by weight using an old postal scale.”
Albert’s farm has almost doubled in size since his first year at East Van, but it’s still modest compared to most farm operations. He grows everything in greenhouses without pesticides and herbicides, managing the weeds and pests by hand.
“I’m considering going organic” he said, “but it’s tricky in Burnaby – there has to be a 30 ft buffer at the property line.”
Albert is at his stall every Saturday at Trout Lake Market – make sure to check out his wide selection of nursery starts, flowers, and summer produce.