In 1932, my Great Grandfather (Jacob K. Janzen) moved to the Fraser Valley from Manitoba. He purchased a house for himself in Yarrow, three titles east of Yarrow in the bush and one property west of Yarrow on the newly created Sumas Prairie. My Grandfather (Jacob) and his brother "drew straws" to decide where their families would live and it was my Grandfather who ended up "in the bush." At that time, the Vedder Mountain Road was a wagon trail and Giesbrecht Road was a footpath to the Vedder River. My Grandfather cleared most of the 30 acre parcel with horses and hand labour creating a small mixed family farm where he raised 2 sons and 8 daughters. The family lived on the sale of milk from 25 cows, a few pigs and chickens, a few acres of raspberries and a large garden.
My father purchased the farm from my Grandfather's estate in 1966. The dairy herd had been sold off, blackberry bushes were invading the pastures and there was much to be done. Dad worked as a school teacher to pay for his "farming habit." After a few short years the raspberry fields were converted to pasture and we ran cattle on the land. To improve returns, dad marketed "freezer beef cut and wrapped" rather than selling it all "on the hoof." Over time he sold two of the three titles and in 1976 we moved "around the corner" from the original homestead to the "new house" on Duncan Road. In the late '90's my dad became enamoured with the idea of growing and selling trees as a way to improve the productivity of the land and began to plant Christmas trees.
I left the Fraser Valley in 1979 to seek fame, fortune and adventure on the Canadian Prairies. I attended University of Manitoba eventually earning a Degree in Agriculture. I met a wonderful woman and we started a great family of our own before returning to BC in 1999. Diane and I have spent most of our lives finding one way or another to try and make the world around us a little better and a little nicer. We are very fortunate to have two wonderful and healthy daughters who have also developed a strong social conscience and are just beginning their adult lives.
In 2004 we negotiated with my parents to purchase the farm. One of the reasons we decided to buy the farm was that we recognized how important this land was as a "touchstone" to my siblings as well as my extended family - it is "The Farm." There were so many wonderful memories for so many people here; we thought it was important to "keep it in the family." Living here, we have found this property of peace and tranquility to be our refuge. When we come home at the end of the day or the end of the week this is a place of rejuvenation and a source of positive energy.
Heritage. This is the land of our family, it is our refuge and where we come to escape the pressures and cares of the world. We have generations of memories on this property. In our yard we have planted trees in memories of loved ones, in commemoration of people and events and in hopes for the future. For our family, trees represent a storage of memories as well as a symbol of hope for a bright future. Once a year, for three or four short weeks, we invite you to come and share our experience. Bring your family and your friends to wander through our Christmas "forest". Take the time to escape and create a wonderful memory with your family. We hope your experience here will live on in your family for generations just as it has in ours.