VFM 20: Helmers’ Organic Farm
VFM started out 20 years ago as East Vancouver Farmers Market, which had its opening day under slightly overcast and hazy skies on July 29, 1995. That day, 500 eager Vancouverites descended upon a small handful of farmers in the parking lot of Croatian Cultural Centre.
“I was sort of sceptical,” says Jeanette Helmer of Helmers’ Organic Farm, who sold at the market that day. “But Doug thought we should “give it a try” and right away, we could feel a real vibe to that market, and thought it had a good chance of success”.
Doug’s hunched proved correct, and the Helmers have vended at Trout Lake ever since.
The Helmers family, including Doug & Jeanette and daughters Anna, Jenny, and Lisa, are 4th generation growers in the Pemberton Valley, the source of some of the highest quality potatoes in North America. They cleared their land in 1980 and started growing organic potatoes, which they are famous for along the Sea to Sky corridor.
They grow 18 varieties, each one chosen for its specific taste and cooking characteristic. Carrots, celeriac, garlic, honey, squash and other vegetables also appear seasonally at the farmers markets.
“Those markets and the progressive and encouraging chefs in Vancouver and Whistler got us on the road,” says Jeanette. “The loyal and appreciative customers have made it all worthwhile.”
We’re sure glad to have you and your amazing potatoes, guys – thanks for the last 20 years!
For more info on Helmers’ Organics Farm, including their products, market dates, and farm events, visit their website.