Many folks in the Valley are familiar with the name 8 ½ Acres, a name synonymous with quality, farm-fresh food. The farm changed hands from previous owners Mike Shelton and Talyn Martin early in the year when new owner Sarah Chapman and her family purchased 8 ½ Acres with, as she puts it, “many dreams, a little experience, and lots of enthusiasm.”
Sarah has dreamed of owning an organic farm for more than a decade. This dream began as a child with her love of the great outdoors, enriched by hiking, mountain biking, skiing, camping and generally playing in the soil. In the last few years the opportunity to work with and learn from other dedicated farmers has helped her to develop practical and management skills and an appreciation of both the hard work and the rewards of agriculture.
8 1/2 Acres is a family-owned certified organic farm located on Somenos Road at the base of beautiful Mt. Prevost. They grow a wide variety of quality fruits such as rhubarb, strawberries, plums and apples, vegetables from asparagus to zucchini, herbal tea blends, culinary herbs and non-GMO eggs from pasture-raised chickens. One unique product is their delicious ‘Annie May’s’ pies, named after Sarah’s grandmother who passed in 2017. Throughout her 80 plus years Annie May was an “excellent pie maker” and all 8 ½ Acres’ pies are made using this family recipe.
As this is Sarah’s first season owning the farm, she faces a steep learning curve. Running the farm mostly single-handedly is a challenge. But Sarah is “grateful to the small village of friends and family who show up and help on occasion.” Although farming solo is daunting, she also feels that the Cowichan Valley has an extremely supportive community of agrarians “willing to share their knowledge, especially with new farmers,” as well as community organizations, venues, and individuals such as farmers’ markets, the online Cow-op food hub, and local chefs, who support and promote the sale of local farm produce.
You can find 8 ½ Acres’ products year round at the Duncan Farmers Market, at their roadside farm stand 6776 Somenos Rd open Sunday and Thursday 11-7 and, of course, on-line every week through the Cow-Op online farmers’ market (www.cow-op.ca).