Wandering through the picturesque rows of apple trees at Taves Family Farms on a sunny autumn afternoon is as close as one can get to living in a real fall fairytale. From the moment you step onto the soil of Taves you’re welcomed as part of the family, and it’s easy to tell that their passion goes beyond just everyday farming. They want their guests to experience what life on the farm is like and enjoy the bounty that the Fraser Valley has to offer. More than just apples, Taves Family Farms have become an Abbotsford institution and we were lucky enough to learn about the history of the farm and the family behind it.
Loren and his family have been farming in Abbotsford for three generations, beginning with his great grandfather John purchasing his first plot of land in the 1930’s. Over the years one farm quickly grew to a few, and the crops they harvested grew as well. Ever expanding, Taves now grows pumpkins, peppers, eggplants, corn, tomatoes, and goji berries, and of course, apples, just to name a few. Three generations later Taves Family Farms continues to thrive. Only, now it’s John’s great grandson, Loren, who operates the farm along with his wife, Corinne, and their children. The Taves family is deeply passionate about the future of our land, our children and our communities and growing and sharing food that they are proud of is their first priority. They will be the first ones to tell you that living on a farm in the Fraser Valley is living the dream and it’s clear that this is more than just a way to make a living when you visit their farm.
We caught up with Loren amongst his perfectly lined rows of apple trees on a fall afternoon to ask him about life on the farm and of course, apples. Originally, Loren says, they started planting a variety of crops to diversify the farm, and use the money generated from the other crops to support the apples, which are Loren’s favourite thing to grow. Loren loves the challenge of creating something new and doing things more efficiently that has come with a life of farming. Never complacent, he gets tremendous joy from seeing people visit and enjoy their farm and is always thinking of ways to improve things or bring in something new or different.
His wife and 8 children are all involved in the farm in one capacity or another, Loren says his kids like to figure out their own passions and he welcomes them to explore whatever path they choose, whether that be farming or not. His eldest son, Denzel, created much of the artwork you see around the farm and Applebarn and is currently studying art and design in Norway! In addition to their family, the Applebarn also employs 30-40 staff each year, who Loren says are like a second family to them, with many living on site or close by.
The Taves family always wanted to do something different, and they loved the idea of inviting the public to experience life on the farm. In 1990 they decided to create an agritourism attraction called the Applebarn to share their passion for farming. Fun for kids (and adults!) of all ages, at the Applebarn you can enjoy freshly pressed cider, hay rides, pony rides, a corn maze and pumpkin patch, petting barn with goats, pedal karts, jumping pillows, and learn more about agriculture and where our food comes from.
What’s next for Taves Family Farms? They are currently working on their new hard cider and building a tasting room on site which they hope to have open next year. Along with the tasting room Loren says that they will also be distributing their hard cider to local liquor stores. Beyond that, Loren says he always likes to take an evening to wander around the property as a customer would and see where there is potential to improve or change things. In our eyes, there wasn’t anything that needed to be changed, our fall evening with Loren learning about the history of his family farm was just perfect!
For more information about hours of operation, activities and products available at Taves Family Farms please visit www.tavesfamilyfarms.com