Lepp’s Farm Market corn stand has been a mainstay of life in Abbotsford and those who drive the Mission highway through Matsqui and Clayburn everyday have witnessed the growth from those humble beginnings to today’s brand new market at the corner of Clayburn Road.
It’s worth dropping in to see what all the fuss has been about. Here’s a bit of background.
The Farmer: Rob Lepp
Farming is in Rob Lepp’s blood.
The Lepp family, once Saskatchewan grain farmers, arrived in Abbotsford in 1948. Rob’s father purchased the Matsqui property where Lepp Farm Market now stands, and developed a hog and cattle farm there. Following high school, Rob joined his father, and together they expanded Lepp Farms into a large hog operation. Rob and Charlotte are grateful for the opportunity of raising their three children – Carrie, Michael and Jason – on the farm.
Lepp Farm Market is the fulfillment of Rob’s passion for farming, and a long-held dream of being able to continue the tradition of a family-run farm. Rob knew the location of the property was ideal, but the timing had to be right. After learning of the 100 Mile Diet, and its common-sense approach to the advantages of eating local, the idea turned into a plan. In May 2009, the first shovel was pushed into the ground.
The Farmer’s Wife: Charlotte Lepp
Charlotte’s immigrant family, the Klassens, arrived in Abbotsford in June, 1948 at the height of the Great Fraser Valley Flood. She grew up on a poultry and raspberry farm in southern Abbotsford and her earliest memories are of summers in the raspberry patch, and gathering eggs with a little pink wagon her dad built just for her. As a young girl she grew and sold pumpkins to local grocery stores, and pushed wheelbarrows of fresh corn to the roadside to sell to passers-by.
Food also appealed. Her older siblings were subjected to “bake sales” where, for 25 cents, they could buy her Easy Bake Oven cakes. She still owns her original, though tattered, 1970 Betty Crocker’s Boys and Girls Cookbook. But marrying a farmer, and embarking on a life that would again include chickens and corn, was not something she had envisioned!
After marrying Rob in 1982, her love of cooking for her family and friends continued to grow. Charlotte is excited to be able to gather a wide variety of quality ingredients to offer at Lepp Farm Market.
It began in 1995, with corn sold off the back of a trailer. Sales increased quickly as word spread among Fraser Valley residents about the delicious, fresh corn available at the corner of Clayburn Road and the Abbotsford-Mission Highway. Soon the green corn shack was built, with regular customers awaiting its appearance each summer.
Meanwhile, the dream for a year-round market simmered quietly in Rob and Charlotte’s mind; both knew the site was ideal. But what, when, and how? Then came the growing awareness and appeal of buying locally grown food and supporting the local agriculture industry. The Lepp Farm Market idea took hold, and plans were drawn up. The dream had taken shape, and the first sod was turned in May, 2009.
Lepp Farm Market truly is a perfect merger of Rob’s love of farming and Charlotte’s passion for using fresh, local ingredients to create delicious food. The Market features:
* A bright, spacious retail space filled with produce, meats and deli items
* A wide assortment of pantry goods to complete your meal, many of them from small, BC companies
* A 50-foot-long fresh meat case, plus freezer space for our own frozen meats
* A studio kitchen – a place to sample some of our fine foods, and to be utilized for our soon-to-be-offered cooking classes
* A smokehouse, for the in-house creation of delicious smoked meats and sausages
* A 40-gallon soup kettle, in which to daily cook home-made soups
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