“I’m the last bona fide farmer in the area,” Dieter Bahr says, with obvious pride. A bona fide farmer, he quickly explains, is someone who makes a living off a farm.
It’s a labour of love for the popular farmers market vendor who’s been supplying a bounty of fresh produce and bedding plants to market attendees for decades from his farm in Old Remo.
For the last 12 years or so, Dieter’s sister Anne Rauschenberger and her son Gunther and daughter-in-law Carol have been helping Dieter at the market.
Dieter’s crops get their start in his large greenhouse. Once the seedlings are ready for the field, a “transplanter” is used to plant the seedlings directly into the ground.
“I use very little fertilizer – and we don’t spray.” Dieter says. “Sometimes I seed oats and rye and plow it under for green manure.”
Farming comes naturally to 75-year-old Dieter, who arrived with his parents and siblings in Old Remo in 1955.
Dieter took over his parents’ farm after their passing, adding 20 acres of his own to their original 20 acres. On his 40-acre farm, about 10 acres is used for produce, some of it is used for pasture, and some of it remains uncleared.
Dieter is still living in the original family home.
“My parents didn’t have a tractor in the early days,” he remembers. “It wasn’t until the 1960s that Dad bought the first tractor – from Gord Little.”
“It’s a tough life, the work is hard, and there’s little pay,” Dieter summarizes.
“Every once in a while the Lord throws in a flood to make it really interesting. The worst flood was in 2007. We had all kinds of problems then. Even the house was flooded.”
The popular market vendor admits he’s been at the market a long time and one gets the feeling he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve been here for so long that they made me an honorary director,” he says with a chuckle.
“Over the years we’ve built up a very good clientele. The Terrace people appreciate getting very good stuff.
The Terrace farmers’ market is held every Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., May to October, rain or shine.
It is located in downtown Terrace, adjacent to the George Little Park.