Caroline and Mark Nagtegaal are the owners of Promise Valley Farm & Creamery. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Caroline and Mark Nagtegaal are the owners of Promise Valley Farm & Creamery. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Promise Valley Farm & Creamery receives organic certification

The latest from Cowichan’s business community

After years of work and preparation, Promise Valley Farm & Creamery has the distinction of being the first dairy farm and processing plant on Vancouver Island to achieve organic certification.

Mark Nagtegaal, who owns and runs the 25-acre farm along with his wife Caroline, said that in order to get organic certification from EcoCert Canada, all aspects of the preparation of the dairy products the farm produces from its herd of Guernsey cows must be organically achieved. Their products include milk, cheese and yogurt.

That means that there can be no use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides at any stage of the process, and all the hay and grain that the cows eat must be organic as well.

“What the cows eat, we end up eating,” Nagtegaal said.

“If we want to eat healthy products, organic processing at all stages is the best way to achieve that.”

Nagtegaal said the family bought the farm, located on Richard’s Trail, in 2006 and spent the first 10 years milking Holstein cows in the traditional way before deciding to switch to Guernsey cows, which are known for their superior milk quality, and organic and regenerative agricultural processes at the farm.

Promise Valley Creamery, a small on-farm processing plant that produces fresh whole milk for a self-serve milk dispenser as well as small-batch, cup-set whole milk yogurt, was recently established at the farm and Nagtegaal said the response from the community for this service has been very positive.

The farm also sells fresh eggs from its own chickens and raises chickens for meat.

In addition, they sell flowers and fresh garlic and more produce is expected in the future.

Nagtegaal said his two daughters Lize (16) and Kailey (13) and two Haitian children the family recently adopted, Laura (8) and Shemomo (6), also help out on the farm when needed.

“It’s a great life here,” he said as a steady stream of customers came through the door of the creamery looking for the farm’s high-quality products.

The farm is open from Tuesday to Saturday each week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information on Promise Valley Farm & Creamery is available at www.promisevalleyfarm.ca.

••••

The Fort, a video and board game café at 250 Jubilee St. in Duncan, is reopening under new owners on Aug. 19.

Former owner Emily Lavender put the business up for sale in June and three young couples — David, Kayla, Adam, Kalli, Jeanette and Thomas — who have a passion for community spaces, good food and playing games recently bought the business and are just completing renovations at the site in time for Friday’s reopening.

Duncan’s unique board game and video game café features retro video games to virtual reality, and classic board games to modern games.

The Fort’s Facebook page said the business will be open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

“Big Grande Opening event coming in September!” the Facebook page said.

••••

With summer winding down, the award-winning Malahat SkyWalk is offering summer weekend deals until Sept. 4.

From Thursdays to Sundays until Sept. 4, the Malahat SkyWalk will be open until 8 p.m., and is offering a 25 per cent discount on tickets starting at 5 p.m. on those days.

There’s also live music on Saturdays.

The approximately $15-million project, a partnership between the Malahat Nation and A.Spire by Nature, combines nature-based tourism with a cultural tourism experience.

Malahat SkyWalk has welcomed more than 150,000 visitors since opening on July 15, 2021, exceeding all goals and estimations.

The tourism facility was recognized in March with a 2022 BC Tourism & Hospitality Award in the category of Innovation.

••••

Meet your new employer or enrol in a post-secondary educational institute at the Nanaimo Post-Secondary Education & Career Event, to held on Aug. 25 at the Country Club Centre Shopping Mall, located at 3200 North Island Hwy. in Nanaimo.

This event will feature employers, education institutions and service providers throughout the province that are ready to help you on your career path.

So far, more than 25 exhibitors plan to attend the free one-day event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

They include Discovery Community College, BC Emergency Health Services, Correctional Service Canada, Berwick Retirement Communities, Cedars at Cobble Hill and Eden Gardens.

People attending are advised to bring their resumes.

“Get inspired, obtain new skills and build your career,” an ad for the event says.

“You can also explore many opportunities for post-secondary education.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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