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who we are

Though SOL Farm was intended to be a 'working retirement' project, Ramona and Stephen soon found the pride of producing a wide variety of organic foods for their community too addictive to resist and have continued it as a full time endeavour. Helping them bring delicious vegetables, fruits, herbs, and beautiful flowers to the residents of Vancouver Island are their son Jeremy and his girlfriend Jessica, who also live on the farm.

Ramona

Ramona Long story short, I love to grow things. I've been growing food and flowers for 33 years and I firmly believe that our children grew up with a love for vegetables because they ate the real thing. Seeds planted in good, organic earth, and veggies picked just before you plan to eat them taste nothing like the vegetables you buy in the store. When we were just starting our family we grew as much of our food as we possibly could, just for the sheer pleasure of it, and learned as we went along, often the hard way. A move to Victoria changed the scope of what we could produce, but we continued to grow a decent variety of vegetables and fruits for at least 3 seasons of the year in our back yard, which was blessed with great soil and a micro-climate that was at least 5 degrees warmer than the rest of the city. This enthusiasm for growing things never waned and a return to the country, and acreage, means that we are able to follow our passion on a larger scale, growing food not just for our family, but for our community. It's a lot of work, and some days it seems like a crazy way to spend my time, but it also feels real, and good, and important, and the results are delicious and deeply satisfying. While I'm still growing things for the love of it, I'm also very conscious of the significance, in this global economy, of growing food sustainably, for my family, friends and neighbours, and hope to do so for many more years.

Stephen

Stephen After many and quite varied careers all over North America I find myself the custodian of a lovely bit of a small valley just up the hill from the Cowichan River. Ramona and I have been in love with that river for a couple of decades at least, and feel that short of a hillside in Tuscany with a view of the Mediterranean, there is no better place on earth. We have lots of water, the longest growing season in Canada, increasingly fertile soil and are surrounded by wonderful neighbors, both right next door and throughout the Cowichan Valley. The response we receive from people at the farmer's markets we attend makes me very proud to be a farmer and happy that we can offer so many unusual fruits and vegetables of the highest quality. We grow what we ourselves love to eat and while we are at it we grow ten times as much so that all our friends can share the eating experiences we enjoy so much.

Jeremy

Jeremy I was very lucky to have grown up with parents who valued eating well, and I am happy that we are continuing the tradition by helping others eat well through the farm. Though it's hard work, it is really satisfying to work on the land and yield such great results. When I graduated with a chemical engineering degree from UBC last year I didn't exactly think I would end up here, but it has been very beneficial to apply those skills to building machines and developing systems that help the farm run better. I get to spend my days working on projects I love with people I love. In the future I hope to put my degree to use developing a distillery on the farm, expanding what we grow into delicious local spirits.

Jessica

Jessi I'm pretty new to farming and growing things, and I have a hard time keeping house plants alive. But there is something inspiring about growing food and flowers for our family and community that seems to have cured me of my black thumb. Guided by Ramona and Stephen who have an insane knack for not only producing delicious things in the fields, but for transforming those ingredients into delicious fresh meals, I am learning how to be a better cook, and a better person. I love going to the markets and telling people the stories behind our heirloom varieties because not only does our sustainable produce mean a better future, it also has a rich history. I have a passion for the arts (I graduated with a degree from Uvic's theatre department last spring) and I'm excited to translate that passion into creating beautiful things for the island's residents to enjoy.

Trinity

Trinity Our wonderful farm cat. She keeps our buildings free from unwanted critters. She wasn't too happy about the move to the farm at first. She disappeared for two months. When the weather got cold that first November, one night she just came back. Jumped over the back porch railing. Weighed about two pounds. Ever since then she has been about as happy as a cat can be.

 

Peso

Peso Our newest member of the family was adopted off the streets in Mexico. He LOVES farm life, and earns his keep keeping the rodent population down. He loves the snow, as you can see, and is not at all bothered by the rain and cold. That said, he's happy to hang out in the balmy greenhouse with Ramona while she seeds, although being the curious kitten that he is, he ususally ends up on top of a ladder, or jumps on the sand tables where the delicate seedlings are or chasing the resident toads. With the exception of Trinity, we all love him dearly.