Lots of Langley likes to spend Easter down on the farm.
Last year, Aldor Acres played host to huge crowds, there to see the baby and grown-up animals alike, to play on the farm equipment, and to check out the farm activities.
“Last year we had more than 2,000 people [over the four day of Easter weekend],” said host Dorothy Anderson.
She and her husband, Albert, started Aldor Acres. The farm that folks can visit marks its 30th anniversary this year.
This Easter the farm is open to the public with all admission donations being given to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Langley Memorial Hospital. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Friday, March 30 to Monday, April 2.
In addition to all the regular activities, a sheep shearer has been hired to remove the fluffy fibre of the farm’s sheep which will take place during one of the days over Easter weekend. The farm will also be handing out copies of the Langley Advance’s Family Fun Book.
In 1988, the Andersons put up a small sign and put out some pumpkins with a jar. People could, on the honour system, buy a pumpkin direct from the grower. The family still has the popular pumpkin patch but has since expanded to include Christmas tree sales, and the hands-on farm experience.
“We originally bought the farm because we wanted our four kids to grow up on a farm,” said Albert. “I’m a veterinarian, so it was more of a hobby in the beginning. Now it’s become a full family-run business, and we only have the public and local community to thank for this.”
The Anderson clan grew to include four kids and 19 grandchildren. They all help at the farm.
After 30 years of farming, the Andersons have handed over operations to their 29-year-old granddaughter, Melissa. It’s rare that family farms are passed down in this day and age.
According to Statistics Canada, more farmers are over the age 70 than under 35, and 92 per cent have no written plan for who will take over when the operator retires.
“I was on a beach in Australia when I realized that taking over the farm was exactly how I wanted to spend the rest of my life,” said Melissa. “To me, farming brings freedom. I loved growing up here. I love the animals, the outdoors, and the ability to run my own business. ”
Despite Langley’s rural roots, there’s still so many people who don’t understand their own connection to the land.
“There’s so much misinformation about farming,” Albert said. “It’s important to us that we educate our community about where food comes from, how to respect the animals, and why sustainability is so important for our environment. Kids need to learn that food doesn’t grow in the grocery store.”