A farmer stands in a cranberry field with water and berries up to their knees. The berries are bright red with some green leaves mixed in.

What is it like to farm on the doorstep of a metropolis? For this family, it’s about welcoming the world in while staying true to the past.

When Hopcott Farms began almost 100 years ago in the pastoral Fraser Valley, land was about $90 an acre and only 350,000 people called Vancouver home. The farm remains, as does the land, but now that same acre is priced around $150,000 and Metro Vancouver’s population hovers around 2.6 million.

Over that time, the farm, located in Pitt Meadows, BC, continued to evolve. What began as a dairy nearly a century ago, turned into a feedlot in 1957. By 1996, the 5,000-head cowherd was cut in half and 72 of the farm’s 105 acres of silage was repurposed for cranberries grown on contract for Ocean Spray. In 2003, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) cut off the Hopcott’s U.S. access overnight and led the family to shrink the herd again, to about 600 head, and begin direct-to-consumer marketing.

By 2006, the family created an on-farm retail outlet, primarily to sell beef. Nine years later, in 2015, their retail operation sizeably expanded to a 15,000 sq. ft. grocery. In 2018, after a land use redesignation through B.C.’s Area Land Reserve rules, the Hopcotts turned a section of land they used for a corn maze into a wedding rental venue.

Most recently, in 2022, the family undertook its biggest capital project ever and built an abattoir where they now process their own (and others’) cattle. The Hopcott’s prowess at adding new on-farm business streams earned them the national Outstanding Young Farmers Program award for 2023.

A red and grey abattoir building by a large gravel parking lot. A grey king cab truck is parked in front of the building.
The inside of a boutique shop with vaulted wooden ceilings. Rows of product shelves are along the walls along with a butcher’s counter display.
A café counter with people waiting in a queue to order. The café is bright and has displays of products and large menus behind the counter.
A large red and white barn with doors open to show the wedding venue inside. Barrels are outside decorated with flowers.

Hopcott Farms offers an eclectic mix of businesses that appeal to urban consumers including an abattoir (top-left) built to process their own cattle, a retail store (top-right) where customers can shop for top quality products including beef and a bistro (bottom-left) where urbanites can enjoy a little taste of Hopcott Farms. You can even get hitched at the farm’s wedding venue (bottom-right), in a setting perfect for photos.


Hopcott Farms and its associated businesses are primarily run by siblings Travis, Brad and Jennifer Hopcott, with the help of their semi-retired parents, Bob and Debbie.

The third-generation siblings have embraced the fact that the 20,000-plus vehicles that commute past their farm gate each day has always been, and always will be, an opportunity to change the narrative around food while, at the same time, make a living in agriculture.

They understand that Vancouver isn’t going anywhere, so their focus has been to build metaphorical bridges, not walls.

“We ensure that we are transparent and welcoming, and we love to educate our customers,” says Travis.

One way the Hopcotts promote the farm is through a variety of social channels, including YouTube, X, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, where they have a collective audience nearing 20,000. The Hopcotts also collaborate with a third-party PR firm specializing in ag, food and direct-to consumer marketing to deliver the content. Travis sees the value in such an investment.

“More than ever people are purpose driven with their buying power,” he says. “With social, we are able to engage and attract new customers. “We’re continually becoming more involved with community outreach, which is a pillar of our brand.”


When the Hopcotts need to make business decisions, and they make them all the time, often it’s a very simple thought process.

“We look at the whole picture and we ask ourselves, ‘Would we be stupid not to do it?’ If we have something staring in front of our face, and we didn’t pursue that option, we might regret it,” says Travis. “We’re not constantly looking at where we can make the next buck as that’s not our personality. We want to do things right. We want to do it well and be efficient.”

One opening always seems to lead to another for the family. For example, the BSE crisis begot the need to supply meat directly, which necessitated a retail store. From there, steady growth facilitated a retail expansion.

Another easy win was when they swapped the corn maze for a wedding venue. The math was simple: weddings provided the same amount of revenue with 80 per cent less overhead. Too good to pass up, especially from an operational and HR side.

“It was an opportunity to take advantage of the infrastructure we had and to be able to cut back on the amount of intensive work involved with the corn maze, so it was a good opportunity to transition,” says Brad.

From the corn maze, they made their biggest, and costliest decision ever with the on-farm abattoir — deliberately built to exceed their current needs.


The $5 million capital build was completed in the fall of 2022. The Hopcotts process all their own cattle, as well as another 300 to 400 (from neighbouring farms) annually. A payback date will occur around 2030-31, and the decision, while difficult, was also a straightforward one.

Described as “the missing link” at the farm, Brad knew an abattoir was the right call. Immediately when it was built, they stopped spending $500,000 on freight and processing at another facility an hour away, plus they improved their farm-to-fork story, which resonates with their market base.

“The opportunity was not something to be overlooked because over the years we’ve built our brand, and it’s been becoming more and more recognizable,” he says. “People have come to know that with Hopcott you get a good quality product.”

Today, they are once again seeking to expand their herd and wholesale their beef to other local markets and restaurants, and the abattoir provides an easier avenue for that. The decision to build a processing facility that Brad admits is “completely overkill” for their current needs was very intentional. “The focus was to build it big and grow into it,” he says. “We knew of the demand and the need and the opportunities.”

A central reason for the abattoir’s initial over-build came directly from hard lessons learned on the farm’s retail side. Initially, the siblings thought the first shop was a great size for their needs. Nine years later, victims of their own success, they had to invest in a much bigger space.

“Some of the experience comes with building the retail store and underestimating the square footage needed,” says Brad. “Then we had to expand operations as demand grew. It is more cost effective to go bigger at the beginning.”

Before they broke ground on the abattoir, though, there was serious pre-work to be done and much of it involved countless conversations and learning. Brad cold called other packers and asked to tour their facilities, peppering them with questions to better understand how and why they built their facilities and set up their processes.

If a person does not thoroughly investigate a new farm business stream idea, they are simply not being serious enough, says Brad. “You have to do your due diligence. You can’t just go at it blindly; it just doesn't work that way. It’s too much of a risk.

“If you find the right person, who can educate you on the business and the needs of the future, that’s huge,” he says. “Don’t try to rely on yourself to figure it out. It’s very important to connect with the right people and educate yourself before making any sort of big decisions.”


The abattoir decision marked a new direction for the farm because it was a departure from how business decisions had been made in the past.

“Predominantly it has really been our own decisions, experience and judgement calls,” says Travis. Now as the farm continues to evolve and grow, the Hopcotts admit that they need to approach the business in a different way.

“We just can't be a farm anymore,” says Travis. “We need as much help as possible as we grow, and we were somewhat late in doing that. We were a business before, but we've professionalized ourselves to some degree.”

To understand the ins and outs of business and management better, all siblings have embraced continuing education. All three are part of professional groups, whether that’s peer groups, business coaches or farm associations. The choice to better themselves has been made with one ultimate goal in mind: improve the farm, its business and longevity.

“At some point you have to surround yourself with the right people,” says Travis. Well-planned financial targets and reporting along with budgets and communication with their staff of 80 have now become standard operating procedures.

“Keep surrounding yourself with smart, humble, hard-working individuals that don’t show that lone-wolf attitude,” says Travis. “That comes to fruition down the line eventually.”

Even with five different business steams, Travis finds it hard not to think about more. The family intends to investigate containerized, year-round growing of strawberries and planting hazelnuts.