About Us

Pilgrims’ Produce is a certified organic farm in the Okanagan Valley growing excellent veggies, fruits, herbs and nuts for our local community on just under 14 acres. 

We marry modern organic practices with tried and true techniques. For example, for season extension we use high-tunnel greenhouses; for pest management, row-covers; for weed control,  stale-bedding, flame-weeding and old-fashioned hoeing! With fruit and nut orchards, some using permaculture principles, a wild habitat area, berries, plus about 7 acres planted in garden-style veggies from Asparagus to Zucchini, this farm has a lot going on!

Setting Down Roots

It all began in 1991 when Robert and Kathryn Hettler and their four children returned from working with poor farmers in Brazil.  Robert felt a sense of calling to grow organic food in a sustainable way for our local community.

While Pilgrims’ Produce celebrated it’s 30th farming season in April of 2021, the farm hands officially changed and the first year for the new owners began. Robert and Kathryn Hettler are now enjoying retirement life on the farm while Dan and Kat Saxton and family are beginning their new adventure farming! 

Why Our Name?

The Christian allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, came to Rob and Kathryn’s minds since they felt like pilgrims going from Alberta to Brazil to BC.  As well, the word “pilgrims” brought images of simple old-fashioned methods of farming before the days of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

We are now a diversified produce farm, owned and operated by energetic, lovers-of-farming, Dan and Kat Saxton, with their clutch of four young kiddos.  The Hettlers and the Saxtons have partnered together to keep the legacy growing at Pilgrims’ Produce.

Meet the Farmers

Dan

Dan was born to do this job!  With a passion to match his work ethic, he’s a natural at farming! Dan is the main workhorse here, managing the production of the crops from planting and irrigating to harvesting, organizing the crew and selling at the Farmers’ Markets.  With his steady, positive personality, never disheartened by a rainy day, he is a joy to have around. When not farming, Dan is out having fun with his four kiddos or enjoying a coffee with Kat.

Kat

Kat has been involved in farming for over 2 decades! Starting in the fresh-cut flower industry in Ontario as a young teen, she’s tried her hand at forestry, greenhouse operations, ranching and beekeeping.  She first joined the crew at Pilgrims’ Produce to learn about veggie production over a dozen years ago. The common thread in all these experiences has been a love for the outdoors, working with her hands and enjoying the beauty of the natural world.   Kat handles the office tasks for running the farm business and loves to get her hands in the dirt when she can.  Also filling her time and heart are their four young children, who are happy to join in many farming adventures!

Robert and Kathryn Hettler, along withe their children, spent several years working with small-scale farmers in fruit and vegetable production in Brazil. They came back to Canada with a passion to grow healthy food in a sustainable manner using organic methods.  Over the years, Robert and Kathryn have both played a big role in our community’s local food system. They have not only grown food, but farmers too!  Both Dan and Kat Saxton were mentored by the Hettlers at Pilgrims’ Produce, where their dream to continue the legacy began.

Here’s our main field crew for the 2022 season!!

Left to right we have: Isabelle, Elliott, Amanda, Kitty, Daniel and Reg.

Our Philosophy

Since its inception over 30 years ago, Pilgrims’ Produce has been committed to certified organic practices.  We value our customers (neighbours, family, friends, the local community!) and we are proud to offer some of the best food around.  Small scale organic farming allows us to be focused on the land and taking care of it for ourselves and for future generations and our customers too.

 

Why does organic matter?

Recognizing that the ecosystems which surround us are more complex and dynamic than most of us understand, we seek to work with the natural world as much as possible. It takes good healthy soil – biologically active – to produce nutrient-dense plants which will result in healthy people. We are committed long-term to our small parcel of land and the community that surrounds it. Like Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, we believe that by focusing on the “wonders and realities of this universe about us, the less taste we shall have for its destruction.”

For further insight on why organic matters, see  “Why Buy Organic?

Join the Crew (aka Employment Opportunies)

If you are dreaming of farming with us we’d love to hear from you!

Pilgrims’ Produce is looking for a part-time employee who can help us bring in our fruit crops! Starting with strawberries then moving into the other fruits like raspberries, currants, saskatoons, cherries and more! For a full job description please see our posting through Young Agrarians here.

This is a great job for a high school or Uni/College student! Starting ASAP!  

Please email us at [email protected].

 

A Few Kind Words

Here’s what folks are saying about the farm and its farmers

We have enjoyed being part of your CSA program this year.

Read more...

Your newsletter is fun and informative. We are always excited about what surprises are coming. The variety of veggies is wonderful and we have been introduced to some interesting food (like celeriac and garlic curls!) that we never had before. Fabulous. Thank you for all your hard work.

Heather Clay
CSA Customer

HI PP,
Thank you for the wonderful year of great organic, worry free food.

Read more...

I also appreciate knowing the people who grow our food.  It makes the meal taste richer.  As a gardener, one of the highlights was my conversations with Dan over the bins in the parking lot, comparing notes and exchanging tips.

Bill Darnell
CSA Customer

Thank you for your service this season!

Read more...
This is my first year using your CSA program and I would recommend it to anybody looking to get away from the big box stores and take advantage of what our local farms have to offer! 
Your box has brought me some peace of mind during a turbulent year. I have been consistently impressed by the quantity and quality of fruits and veggies I have received throughout the year and my household thanks you for it! I was so bored with cooking, but your box opened me up to trying new vegetables and recipes to go along with it! I made curry for the first time! And it turns out my partner and I both like squash! All sorts of squash! We are a healthier, happier home thanks to your hard work. 
We appreciate all you do to give us the best produce possible and we look forward to seeing you again next year 🙂
 

Kyndree Braybrook
CSA Customer