“I have never regretted my decision to give up my career in corporate finance to become a farmer,” said Naty King.
Twenty-five years ago, Naty left her job as vice-president of a foreign exchange company in San Francisco to become an organic farmer with her husband Gary.
“We decided to take note of what was important to us,” she said. “We wanted to provide our four daughters with the wonders of growing up on a farm and the benefits of eating healthy.”
Together, the Kings started Hazelmere Organic Farm in Surrey, BC, growing organic produce for grocery stores, wholesalers, and fine restaurants in the Vancouver area. Gary passed away in 2009 and Naty continues to run the family business.
Her daughters are now grown, but the King’s decision to raise their children on a farm instilled a strong work ethic and sense of community that they have carried with them. It also gave them an appreciation for real food.
“Growing up, we were exposed to all different kinds of food,” said Jamie King.
Added her twin sister, Cristina, “We had the best school lunches, rice wrapped in banana leaves or chicken adobo. The other kids always wanted to trade.”
Naty served her chicken adobo, a Filipino dish that uses a base of vinegar and soy sauce, at the Joy of Feeding event at UBC Farm on May 15, 2011. Envisioned by Meeru Dhalwala, co-owner of Vij’s and Rangoli Restaurants, Joy of Feeding featured 15 Canadian moms of various heritages and professions, sharing their favourite family meals.
The event was a family effort; Jamie volunteered alongside her mom, while Cristina created special flower arrangements for each booth.
Joy of Feeding raised $25,000 and the hope is that it will become an annual fundraiser for UBC Farm.