Patrick & I co-own Vista D’oro Farms & Winery with our two kids, three dogs, two cats and two horses.
We both left corporate jobs with Ritchie Bros Auctioneers to pursue a lifestyle career, - insert joke here – they went public after we left :0) but WE are living the dream…enough said!
A little about Vista D’oro…it is a 10 acre farm located on Campbell Valley Park in the Fraser Valley of beautiful British Columbia, Canada. The farm is about 4 blocks from the US border and yes we are considering a tunnel for ease of shipment across that border ;) we’ll keep you posted!
Vista D’oro for those with an Italian influence, represents the view of Golden Ears Mountain Range the farm enjoys.
We grow naturally, however, we are not a certified farm, we are however, quite a diversified farm, we grow orchard fruits, apples, pears, plums and cherries, all are heritage varieties and grown for taste, not shipability :) which are primarily used in our preserves and baking for the farmgate shop.
It all began with that greenhouse in 2001, (it actually began with a horse in 1997, but that's a whole other story!) we started with the farmers markets, selling the tomato & herb seedlings in the spring and then the fruit as the season progressed. I started playing around with preserving around that time and began bringing jars to the market and before we knew it we were selling more jam than fresh fruit! We produce everything on the farm and about 80% of what is grown on the farm ends up in a jar or bottle! It’s proven to be a much more sustainable model than trying to sell fresh fruit at market value.
We then built a carriage house on the property in 2002 and incorporated a commercial kitchen, where we continue to create and produce our preserves. I attended Northwest Culinary Academy in 2004 and received my culinary diploma, this gave me a greater understanding for the science that goes into preserving as well a broader knowledge of flavour pairings – it also gave me license to put - Jam Master Lee on my business card ;) a title I’ve always wanted, but this wasn’t the career I originally envisioned it for!
Patrick has been making wine since we purchased the farm and when his 'hobby' got out of hand he decided it was time to share his passion with others. After attending courses at UC Davis in Sacramento to solidify his technical knowledge, he got serious about said hobby. We received our winery license in 2008 and so far distribution is just in BC – however we are working on that and will keep you posted! The winery’s flagship is our D’oro – a fortified walnut wine, who's recipe was brought to us by our good friend Jerome, his great-grandfather's, which dates back to 1893. The D'oro is also one of the main ingredients in our best selling preserve and made with Green Walnuts grown on our farm. The vineyard was also planted in 2008 and is beginning to look 'fruitful' and we finally have our very first estate grown wine - 2011 Marechal Foch!
We hope you come for a visit soon to see what's 'growin' on at Vista D'oro soon!
Lee & Patrick