Homemade ice cream will anchor farm’s future agri-tourism business.

Like many BC dairy farmers, Lorna Hamming farms with her family and is focused on taking care of the animals and their land to produce healthy local food. However, it’s her love of chocolate ice cream that is driving the family farm’s next evolution.  

While the farm in Delta, BC has been in operation since the 1800s, and still has some barns dating back to that time, Lorna is ‘only’ the third generation of her family to work the land – her grandparents bought the operation from close family friends in 1974. She grew up on the farm, returning after she’d earned an agriculture business diploma from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2018. 

Dairy farm in Delta BC

As part of her education, Lorna detoured to the University of Guelph for a brief course in ice cream technology and took a Food Safe course at BCIT. With that specialized education in hand and a childhood spent around dairy, she was ready to put her vision for the farm’s next thing into motion – processing and selling their own milk and hand-made ice cream at a small facility and store right on the farm. 

“The goal is to bring people here to see the farm.” she says, “That’s my vision of where the farm is headed.”

Plans for the building that would house the processing facility and small store up front are drawn up, and the family hopes to get the store open in late 2021 or 2022. 

“I would love to have people here, see the farm and connect with where their food comes from. I think it’s important for people to see how the cows are taken care of, the process of it.”

And also to eat ice cream – with chocolate. Lorna spent much of the COVID-19 pandemic figuring out how to make great ice cream in their farmhouse kitchen. 

She adds they do a lot of school tours, and often field questions about where people can purchase their products. This new operation is an extension of the outreach and education work they already do in the community.

Once up and running the on-farm processing operation will use only a small portion of their daily production of raw milk – most will still be trucked to larger plants for processing. 

Her parents have been supportive of Lorna’s agri-tourism and education ideas. Their passion, however, is taking care of the land and cows to produce the milk that goes to larger processors to be made into the bottled milk, cheese, yogurt, and other products on BC store shelves.

Lorna Hamming eating with her family.

“They really love the day-to-day farming, and the family aspect of that,” Lorna says of her parents, Perry and Angela. Her grandparents Martin and Ann are still active on the farm well into their 70’s – Ann taking care of the yard work, Martin working with the combine and other machinery. 

Together they milk about 200 cows on 300 acres, growing their own grass and corn to feed the cows. While most of the cows are Holsteins, two are Jerseys – a favourite of Lorna’s mom, who grew up on a Jersey cow dairy farm. It’s a passion Lorna shares. 

“Myself, I love the cows, working with the animals, taking care of them. That’s my responsibility. We’re a small enough farm that I can know each animal as an individual, and I love that.”

Lorna Hamming petting a cow

Meet the neighbours.

Keep reading to be introduced to more of BC’s dairy farmers.