For Immediate Release
July 14, 2013
Ministry of Agriculture
Cortes Island family celebrates over 100 years of farming
CORTES ISLAND – The Province is presenting the Manson family and Sunny Brae Farm with a Century Farm Award for the contributions the family has made to B.C.’s agriculture industry and economy over the past one hundred years. Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm commended the family for this impressive milestone.
John Manson arrived at Cortes Island from the Shetland Islands in 1887 and joined his older brother Mike. They set up a small trading post at the site known today as Manson’s Landing. Not long after, 20-year-old John walked the island looking for a homestead site.
In 1888, he found 46.5 hectares (115 acres) of suitable land that he later purchased. The farm raised sheep, pork and poultry and produced potatoes, vegetables, apples, eggs, cream and butter. Produce was sold to local families and logging camps as far away as Vancouver.
The first orchard was planted in 1908. Today, many of these trees still survive and are in full production. In 1982, Nicol Manson, son of John Manson, planted 240 apple trees. In 1984, high bush blueberries were added as a crop.
Currently, the farm is owned and run by third-generation Mike Manson and his wife Donna. The farm has been in production for 106 of the past 125 years. Mike said it was his father's vision that was the key to the farm's success going forward.
The farm became fully organic in 1992 and is primarily known for its blueberry production. It also sells eggs and recently received a flock of purebred Dorper sheep that will be bred for meat lambs.
The Century Farm Award was presented today at the Museum of Cortes Island’s celebration of the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the Manson brothers on Cortes Island. Manson’s Landing continues to be one of the main communities on Cortes Island.
Century Farm Awards honour agricultural organizations that have been active for a century or longer as well as pioneers whose farms and ranches have been in families for 100 years or more. Each Century Farm Award celebrates the rich heritage of farming and ranching families and organizations in B.C.
Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm –
“From the time they arrived in B.C., the Manson family has been contributing to the economic growth of our agriculture sector. My heartfelt congratulations to Sunny Brae Farm and the Manson family.”
Comox Valley MLA Don McRae –
“Each generation of the Manson family symbolizes the entrepreneurial spirit of farming and of residents of Cortes Island. They are a perfect example of why supporting local producers has become so popular in British Columbia today.”
Sunny Brae Farm, Michael Manson –
“We enjoy a wonderful opportunity working on the farm, none of which would have been possible without the hard work of my grandparents and their children. We are also grateful for all the help we receive from our family and friends today as we continue on with the farming tradition.”
· To date, over 100 family farms or organizations have received the Century Farm Award.
· The Century Farm award program was created in 1994 to mark the centennial of the Ministry of Agriculture.
· Nine out of 10 B.C. farms are family owned and operated.
For more information about B.C.’s Century Farm Program:
To learn more about the history of Cortes Island and the Manson family:
Ministry of Agriculture
Sunny Brae Farm
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect