Farmer Focus: JAR Enterprises

bannerThe Reynolds family have a lot to be proud of. In only a year, Jar Enterprises, the newest business run by the family, has flourished from what was a simple love of gardening into a multi-faceted and ambitious business.

Alex Reynolds and JAR’s 3 employees—two of which work full-time—split their time between JAR’s many projects: the aquaponics, the farm and the nursery. Soon they will also be processing much of the fruits and vegetables they are growing to sell at the Lillooet Farmers Market.

The Reynolds were not planning on starting a produce production company. Alex loved gardening and started looking for one personal greenhouse but instead she found three 20′ x 100′ greenhouses. Her parents went along with it and off they went to rip them down and bring them home. That is how the nursery was born.

chard

Later, the Reynolds purchased an aquaponics system and installed it into a building which they built in June 2016 to rent to HOOH for hop processing and to Fort Berens for wine storage. The aquaponics system currently grows a variety of herbs and salad greens. They will eventually introduce tilapia and rainbow trout into the system. The concept behind growing aquaponically is that by circulating water through the fish tanks, where it becomes saturated with fish waste, and then through the plants, where it is cleaned and made ready to go back to the fish tanks, one can create a closed, self-sustaining cycle which mimics nature. No chemicals are needed and the result is healthy, vibrant food with great flavor!

The Reynolds have big plans for JAR. They envision a thriving local food hub catering to the Lillooet community and a tourist destination focused on education around food and health. They also plan to build a commercial kitchen to make value-added products.

Though they have had their challenges (this spring they lost half the plants in the aquaponics to thrips), things are progressing remarkably quickly. This spring, they sold their bedding plants at Timber Mart and Buy-Low in Lillooet. They attended their first Farmers Market last week, where they sold their very own raisins along with greens and herbs. They have also been selling herbs to the Fort Berens Kitchen and spinach and salad mixes to the Cookhouse Restaurant. Alex Reynolds said they want to make sure they can serve the local market before they expand their horizons to the Sea to Sky Corridor and to the Lower Mainland.

pepper

What else does JAR Enterprises have on the go? They currently grow 15 different types of herbs, they have blueberry, raspberry and strawberry patches (which they expanded this spring), they grow a large garden, they have been processing the fruits coming out of their orchard and they now also sell compost and mulches.

Everyone is welcome to go tour the property. JAR is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. If the employees aren’t down at the building, situated at 313 E. Lillooet Rd, you can drive up to the greenhouses. A pressure activated buzzer will let them know that someone is there. Contact information to reach them can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JAR-Enterprises-1666581790293194/

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