Garden Valley Vegetable Growers Ltd.

Garden Valley Vegetable Growers Ltd.

Four Generations on the Farm

By Jennifer McFee

It’s all in the family at Garden Valley Vegetable Growers where a love for farming began to flourish four generations ago.

Along with two of his cousins, Bryce Loewen represents the fourth generation currently involved in the family farm.

The hard-working family tends to 3,000 cultivated acres of farmland located between Winkler and Morden where they grow a variety of fresh potatoes along with corn, soybeans, canola, rye and occasionally wheat.

But the bustling business began long ago when Bryce’s great-grandfather came to Canada by boat from Russia in 1926. He moved onto the property that is still in the family today. Over time, one of his sons bought a new homestead which also remains part of the family’s farming enterprise that has continued to grow over the years.

Today, Bryce’s father Leonard and uncle Peter are actively involved on the farm along with their first cousin Bitz. Bringing in a younger perspective, Bryce and his cousins Austin and David toil alongside the men who taught them how to work the land.

Bryce has not been involved with the farm for his whole life, but he began working full time for Garden Valley Vegetable Growers about four years ago.

“I got into farming because working with my hands has always been something that’s fun for me, but I’m also getting a little bit interested in the business side too,” he says. “A few years ago, I didn’t care much for the business part of it but now I’m really starting to like it. It’s a whole new set of challenges and it’s never the same. For sure, there are factors that you can’t control and you just roll with the punches at some point.”

With strength in numbers, the family works cohesively together and overcomes occasional challenges along the way.

“When you’re working with family, it’s way more understanding. It doesn’t feel nearly as formal every day because you feel comfortable with your coworkers. On the flipside, that also can lead to increased aggravation — and you’re not afraid to show it,” Bryce says with a laugh. “But, all in all, it’s wonderful to work with family. It’s much more personal.”

The family also appreciates the ability to work with Peak of the Market Ltd., a Grower-owned vegetable supplier that operates in Manitoba.

“That’s been a very nice relationship. It’s great to see the upgrades they’ve done in the facilities. When it comes to the personnel, they are people that are very easy to work with and they’re very motivated to help,” Bryce says. “Because of the continued help from Peak of the Market in the potato industry, it has helped open up avenues for our farm to expand in other ways. It’s so much easier on our end because the marketing is taken care of by Peak of the Market.”