In tending to Ravenhill, we want to be stewards of sustainable and regenerative practices.
As the new owners of Ravenhill Herb Farm, we couldn’t be more honoured to be the guardians of this land. This history here is rich – this is after all rumoured to be the location of Saanichton’s first schoolhouse and more recently where Noel Richardson wrote her 4 famous cookbooks and contributed to CityFood Magazine for years while peering out over the spectacular gardens. Her husband, Andrew Yeomen, was also an author and amazing gardener. Together they created a very special place that at the time (1979 until 2014) required from them a significant leap of faith and plunged them into the world of organic farming. An adventure like theirs has been something that Brea has dreamed about since childhood, and for her the reality of living this dream is much sweeter then she could ever have imagined.
In tending to Ravenhill, we want to be stewards of sustainable and regenerative practices. We are dedicated to taking a holistic approach to every aspect of farm life – from growing produce and raising chickens, goats, and bees to living in a conscientious manner. We don’t use toxic chemicals/pesticides/herbicides of any type. Nature has created an incomparable symbiotic environment where the harmful effects of pests and fungi can be mitigated naturally.
We believe in a regenerative approach to land care in order to continuously improve the environment and foster the healthiest produce. We tend to the soil so its health increases each year rather than decreases. When soil is at its optimal health, what we eat from the land will provide nourishment to its fullest potential.
Our Farmstand is more of a non-staffed tiny farm store. From it we sell what produce we can share with our community, and we feature antique photos and narrative of historical Ravenhill Herb Farm.
The Farmstand was built almost entirely of reclaimed Douglas fir, features rescued wood-cased windows and will soon have a picnic area.
Come and visit!
What We Farm
The day after we moved, 18 mature heritage hens and 2 roosters arrived. Our heritage flock has grown and now we collect brown, cream, white, blue, and green eggs on a daily basis. Although they no longer all have names, the chickens are protected by two beautiful livestock guardian dogs while they forage for food under the cover of ancient Douglas fir and apple trees.
Some very old fruit trees provided us with a wonderful harvest our first autumn. The subsequent summer delivered an equally delightful bounty of figs, berries and plums. We have added dozens of more trees, bushes and vines including almonds, pomegranate, kiwi, and apricots.
We would not be a true herb farm without featuring herbs. Our beautiful culinary herbal gardens were planted in the 1980s and have been lovingly tended since. As educators of herbal medicines, we plan to add extensive herbal gardens for both medicinal use and education.
With a year-round growing season, we are always growing. Squash, kale, carrots, beets, greens, beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, and countless more all thrive in the mild climate of our south-facing, mostly frost-free land.
Our first winter here we learned of the existence of thousands of bulbs. Before the end of January the earth rose up in a perfusion of yellows, pinks, purples and oranges. Daffodils, tulips, gladiolas, cone flowers, and narcissuses let us know that spring was nearly here. And the flower varieties don't stop there. It is bliss for our honeybees.
Speaking of honeybees, we have those also. In our first year they moved into their cedar- and fir-constructed top bar hives. As for the honey, we are sure it is delicious, but it is for the bees to eat during the winter. If there is any left over in springtime, we will be more than happy to have a taste.
The goats are as much for pleasant company and entertainment as anything, but the mama goat does make excellent milk.
In addition to what we grow, we love to taste some of nature's bounty that predated our arrival here. Grand fir tips are excellent for medicine and flavour. The English ivy, thistles, nettles and cedar are also wonderfully medicinal, and in some cases tasty. Sloe grows in abundance (gin anyone?). And the blackberries of course could not be stopped if we tried (good thing they are so yummy!).