Since 1903 the McCormack family has been farming and logging in Burton, B.C. Early on, the family planted a fruit tree orchard and harvested hay as well as milling lumber. These days, the latest generation is busy taking on the family trade.
“We’d hoped the kids would take up farming,” said Lori Eger, who married Ron McCormack and has been part of the family and the farm since 1981. “We encouraged them to go away and have other experiences, but we wanted at least one to come back.”
Lori’s son Forest McCormack has always liked farming, but when he was a kid he saw it as an “expensive hobby.” Like a lot of Kootenay kids, he left the farm to pursue education, and ended up with a degree in Political Sciences from the University of Northern B.C.
“It’s been very useful for my current venture,” he joked, gesturing at the wares displayed on his farmer’s market table.
The farmer’s markets are worth it now, said Eger, for both the money and the exposure. Word of mouth is how their business grows.
Historically there never was any money in farming. Previously logging supplemented the farm’s income, but now farming is supporting the family.
Eger attributes the farm’s success to a shift in people’s attitude toward the food they eat that came with The 100-Mile Diet. People now understand that it’s better to eat food grown in your back yard, she said.
The McCormack farm now grows a market garden and offers beef, pork, and chickens and ducks for meat as well as eggs. There’s much less milling these days for the McCormacks.
Eger deeply appreciates that people buy the food they put on their table from the McCormacks. “It’s a real compliment to us, it’s an honour,” she said.
And farming has turned from something his family just did into something Forest loves.
“I love the freedom, the instant gratification. Everyday things change and things come to life. I love doing something different almost every day.”