Update, November 17 2022:
With the recent stretch of sunny days, it’s hard to imagine the scene exactly one year ago. Torrential rain was causing rising waters at our Matsqui and Sumas farms and the market. The damage was catastrophic, especially to both homes on our Sumas Farm. In Matsqui, our home and those around us suffered flooded basements and crawl spaces while, thankfully, the market remained dry. As the waters continued to rise, the left-over pumpkins in our water-logged fields began to float and bob like boats cut loose from their anchors. Our neighbours, the Boons, were frantically preparing to evacuate when a lone mouse floating by on a pumpkin provided much-needed comic relief.
To mark the anniversary of the historic flood, UFV hosted a fine arts competition and gathered stories and artwork from the community reflecting on the flood. The lone mouse inspired our produce team member Jessica Boon’s artwork, and we are thrilled to share that she placed first in the visual arts category for grade 8 – 12 students! Congratulations, Jessica. We’re so proud of your accomplishment!
What a week it has been. As we anxiously watched last weekend’s deluge and weather forecasts, we sensed that trouble was coming. We’re used to seeing a lot of water on our Matsqui Prairie and Sumas Flats farms, but this historic rainfall was, as they endlessly repeat, unprecedented.
We greatly appreciate all the messages of concern, and I wanted to give you an update. While Matsqui has fared much better than Sumas, we’ve learned that our market and farm are in low spots!
Lepp Farm Market – We’ve been closed on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and we reopened today! The market is on an island of dry land, but the entrance to our parking lot and the loading bay were swamped. Tuesday morning, we loaded up all the perishables that were soon to expire and brought them to the Salvation Army. They are managing food distribution at the evacuation centre, and we’re relieved that it didn’t all go to waste.
Sadly, we lost all our chickens on our Matsqui Farm. Some were scheduled to ship out on Sunday evening, but the truck couldn’t access the barn as the road was already flooded. We will be working with Fraser Valley Speciality Poultry to maintain the market’s chicken supply as best we can. Our almost 100-year old home is on our Matsqui farm and still has a basement. That flooded quickly on Monday. The water is now gone, but mud remains. I’ve got some cleaning up to do!
The Sumas farm sits right in the middle of the hardest-hit area. Our son, daughter-in-law and their four children reside on the farm and were able to safely evacuate to our daughter’s home in Greendale, along with their horses and pets. For this Mama and Papa, it was so hard not to help them as we couldn’t get out there. Early photos at this point seem to show everything covered with water, but we can’t access it, so we can’t assess the damage. Most importantly, our family is safe, which is all that matters.
Daily Market is operating normally, and we’ve been able to move some products from Lepp Farm Market over there while we were closed.
Our Lepp Farm Family team has been incredibly patient and is understandably anxious to return to work. We miss seeing each other and all of you!
It’s impossible to predict how the supply chain issues will affect us in the coming days and weeks, and we will do our best to keep you updated. All I can promise is that we are committed to doing whatever we can to keep operating as best we can.
Thank you for your patience and continued support. We love our Lepp Farm Family and can’t wait to welcome you back to the market.