All in the Family
Hopcotts’ Meats is a business which feels like it’s been here forever. A place where selling local, seasonal meat and produce is a fine art. There’s the hormone and antibiotic free cattle, raised on ranches in BC and processed and sold onsite; the local produce; baked goods and cheeses sourced from across the province, not to mention the berry crops and corn maze. This month, the Pitt Meadows store celebrates its seventh birthday. But the Hopcott story is actually much longer. A story of constant change and adaptation to meet challenging market forces. Last month we met with operations manager Jenn Hopcott-Foxley and her team to find out more about this true farm-to-table business.
The farm where the store now stands overlooking the cattle feedlots, berry tunnels and cranberry bogs was once a dairy farm started by Jenn’s grandfather in 1932. During the 1960s, he and Jenn’s father Bob converted the property into a small feed lot. Bob is still the boss at Hopcott’s and happily shows us around the farm, describing the challenges of being the little guy in a highly competitive industry. How a contract with Ocean Spray for cranberries keeps the operation afloat and the science of raising cattle the old fashioned way.
The idea for the Hopcott’s store front came when the family recognized the need to diversify to keep their business alive. “The store was my parents’ idea,” Jenn said. “The beef industry was starting to go downhill, there was that whole mad cow thing and a lot of the local meat plants just couldn’t compete with the US and Alberta. My Dad needed an outlet for his cattle because he didn’t want to stop raising cattle.”
Sourcing locally is policy at Hopcotts where BC grown and made comes first. “It’s always local first – if it’s something that’s in high demand we will source it non-local but it has to be special. It has to be gluten-free or organic. So it’s local first, then BC, then Canada, then we might go into the States a little bit.”