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DeMille’s Farm Market in Salmon Arm gets approval to sell B.C. wine, spirits

Land commission nod means business can support local wineries, cideries, breweries, distilleries
Brad DeMille, owner of DeMille’s Farm Market, applied to the Agricultural Land Commission to sell B.C. cider, wine, beer and spirits at his business and his non-farm-use application has been granted. (File photo)

‘Elated’ is how Brad DeMille described his reaction to the news that DeMille’s Farm Market has received approval to sell B.C. wine, beer and spirits.

Because the property is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, DeMille’s applied to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for a ‘non-farm-use application’ to add B.C. alcohol products to the farm goods and grocery items sold throughout the year.

The idea, DeMille said, is to support and promote local wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries. He noted that some smaller vintners, for instance, don’t have a place to market their products.

“We’re very happy with the result of this. We explained our strategy with the emphasis on B.C. wine and spirits as an extension of farming,” he said.

He pointed out that DeMille’s currently buys from about 150 local suppliers, contributing about $2 million to their local economies.

The application stated the proposed liquor sales area, at 57 square metres, would be within the existing 350-square-metre retail area, leaving the total size unchanged and no additional infrastructure such as parking required.

Read more: Salmon Arm farm market asks land commission to approve liquor sales

Read more: Salmon Arm farm market asks land commission to approve retail liquor sales

DeMille said the application process took about nine months and cost about $10,000 with fees, permits, consultants, architects and more.

“We had no guarantee this would work; the odds were about 20 per cent to begin with.”

He said he thinks the ALC made a good decision. The farm market still has a few hurdles to negotiate, such as zoning changes within the city, but DeMille said he’s confident the plan will get support from staff and council.

In its decision, the ALC stated: “In consideration of the products proposed for sale, the panel finds that the proposal will support local agricultural producers.”

The application to the ALC outlined the history of the property:

• The DeMille family has owned the property since 1979 and started DeMille’s Farm Market approximately 51 years ago, originally as a roadside stand, before expanding to the current DeMille Farm Market Retail Area.

• In 1983, the commission approved an application to sell farm produce on the property not grown on the farm.

• In 2009, the commission approved the use of a building on the property from storage to retail sales of local artists’ products, and value-added products from produce grown on the property (including jams, jellies and preserves.) The building is currently the Seasonal Mercantile Building.

• The application also pointed out that, in addition to the buildings associated with DeMille’s Farm Market, approximately 23.5 hectares of the property are actively farmed, with crops of hay, corn, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, potatoes, lettuces and a variety of cold crops. DeMille’s has also run a seasonal corn maze on the property for about 20 years.
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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