Theft won’t stop Cloverdale family farm

A local family farm hit by thieves has vowed to bounce back – starting this weekend. Rondriso Farms will celebrate its grand reopening on Aug. 6.

  • Aug. 2, 2011 4:00 p.m.

A local family farm hit by thieves has vowed to bounce back – starting this weekend.

Rondriso Farms will celebrate its grand reopening on Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., with the Tamis family unveiling their all-new store. Pam Tamis says the recent theft, with criminals breaking in and emptying freezers full of SPCA-certified beef, was tough but the family business will return stronger than ever.

“It’s been hard,” she says. “It’s still hard emotionally. It’s been a struggle because it was one more hit, given everything that’s gone on this year with the weather and our crops.”

The Tamises are boosting security and bringing in new products while turning the whole operation into more of an adventure than a simple trip to the store. Tamis says the new store will be decorated with an Old West general store theme. Visitors will be able to visit the cows being raised at the farm and even stop for a bite to eat at a new area built just for picnics.

“It’s more than just buying your groceries,” Tamis says. “You can make an event of it.”

She says the revamped store will provide the opportunity to support food producers across the Lower Mainland and B.C.

In the past, the store acted as a family farm store, with the Tamises selling primarily their own produce. The store would offer whatever crops were ready to sell. While the produce was fresh – picked on the sale date – Pam says it meant that the products weren’t predictable.

“Now, we will bring in more local stuff,” she says. “Basically, now you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Tamis is particularly excited about the new SPCA-certified meat products – chicken and lamb to go along with the family’s beef products – which are produced under humane conditions without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

Tamis says the response from the public after the theft has been great, with people coming forward to offer their help and also spread the word about the grand reopening.

“It’s been very encouraging – all the positive thoughts,” she says.

For now, the family is putting the final touches and a last coat of paint on the revamped store to get ready for Saturday. A bouncy castle will be on hand to entertain the kids, while the family farm will be open to explore, so shoppers will have a chance to learn exactly where their food comes from. Stop by the farm at 8390 172 Street from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

For more information, check out the farm website at www.rondriso.com.

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