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Celista farm recognized for century-long commitment to agriculture

Hungry Rock Farm in Celista receives provincial Century Farm Award
From left, Carole Gillis, Rosemary Gillis, Carole’s daughter Portia Comrie and, at back, Carole’s partner David Comrie. (Photo contributed)

A North Shuswap farm has been recognized through B.C.’s Century Farm Award program.

The Riley-Gillis family of Hungry Rock Farm in Celista is being honoured for its more than 100-year commitment to B.C. agriculture, food and the local economy.

“Farming is a difficult job that involves early mornings, late evenings and a commitment to producing high-quality food for British Columbians. It’s impressive to see this commitment at Hungry Rock Farm,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture and Food. “Congratulations to the Riley-Gillis family on this achievement and best wishes as your farm continues to grow in Celista.”

According to history provided by the provincial government, Hungry Rock Farm started before 1920, with Charles Riley clearing the land with his cow Bessy, oxen and draft horses.

With the land cleared, Charles started a dairy farm, shipping cream across Shuswap Lake to Salmon Arm.

Charles and Mary Riley were married in the mid-1940s.

Charles and Mary’s daughter, Rosemary Gillis, purchased the farm in 1969 and continued to farm while raising her children Carole and Charlie Gillis. Together, they raised beef cattle, sheep and Welsh ponies.

Charles lived on the farm and helped with farm chores until he died in 1982.

Throughout the 1990s, the farm focused on producing sheep.

“Charles and Mary’s greatest pride was farming and caring for the land with their family, and they would be immensely gratified to see that recognized and know that it continues today,” said Rosemary.

Currently, Rosemary leases the farm to local hay producers and continues to work with them to provide hay for B.C. animals.

B.C. Century Farm Awards honour farms, ranches and agricultural organizations that have been active for 100 years or longer, as well as those 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 in the province.

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