Donna Patterson of Redneck Gardens in Horsefly with some of the pickles that she makes from vegetables grown in her market garden. The pickle jars include beets, asparagus, garlic, and 11 types of sauerkraut to name just a few of the Redneck Gardens offerings to be found at the Williams Lake Farmer’s Market in Boitanio Park on Friday mornings from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Gaeil Farrar photo

Donna Patterson of Redneck Gardens in Horsefly with some of the pickles that she makes from vegetables grown in her market garden. The pickle jars include beets, asparagus, garlic, and 11 types of sauerkraut to name just a few of the Redneck Gardens offerings to be found at the Williams Lake Farmer’s Market in Boitanio Park on Friday mornings from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Gaeil Farrar photo

Couple trades Okanagan for mortgage free farming lifestyle in Horsefly

Redneck Gardens produces a wide variety of pickled vegetables for the Williams Lake Farmer’s Market

Donna Patterson and Hank Wells from Redneck Gardens in Horsefly were among the first contingent of local growers to make it back to the Williams Lake Farmer’s Market in August after the wildfire evacuation order was lifted for Williams Lake.

They were able to bring in the 11 kinds of sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables that Donna specializes in making using produce from their large market garden. Her fresh sliced coleslaw mix is a popular seller.

When the wildfires in July appeared to be advancing on their area they took steps to prepare for an evacuation.

They set up pens in a 14-foot trailer they have for all of their animals but fortunately were not within the Spokin Lake/Miocene evacuation order area.

“We were on the cusp of being evacuated,” Patterson said.

The the couple live off-grid on 40 acres at Horsefly so they were blissfully unaware of any power outages that may have been caused by the wildfires.

“We have solar power, a solar fridge and a generator so we are quite comfy,” Donna said. “We usually do everything on a wood cook stove but this summer we are using propane because of the threat of fire.”

They keep one acre in market garden produce and raise turkeys, chickens and pigs for meat. They buy locally grown beef and do all of their own butchering.

“When we started out we decided that we had to learn a new traditional skill every year,” Donna said.

The couple had been living the same back-to-the-land lifestyle in the Okanagan, except there they had hydro electric power. They decided to sell their property in Lumby and move to Horsefly in April, 2015 essentially so they could live mortgage free.

They lived in a tent through the spring and summer of that first year to concentrate of establishing their garden and provisions for their animals. They only starting to build a cabin for themselves once temperatures began to drop in the fall.

“We started the garden before we started to build the cabin,” Donna said. “It took about six weeks to build the cabin because it was getting really cold and we were really motivated to be inside.”

They are not a certified organic farm but they don’t use herbicides, pesticides, or commercial fertilizers.

In winter they use melted snow for washing and watering the seedlings they grow to plant in the garden in spring. They buy their drinking water in Williams Lake.

While living off grid, Donna says they usually turn on their generator on Sundays between 6 and 8 p.m. so they can receive satellite Internet service.

Donna can be reached at for orders

The Williams Lake Farmer’s Market takes place on Friday mornings in Boitanio Park from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Visitors will find a wide variety of vegetable produce, frozen meat options, eggs, fruit from the Okanagan, baking, ready-made lunch options, craft items, and often music to shop by.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Luke Lavigne of Clearwater is the 2020 recipient of the North Thompson Communities Foundation’s Donnie Nicholson Memorial Trades Bursary, and is shown here on Jan. 23 receiving the $1,500 cheque from NTCF treasurer Cheryl Thomas. (NTCF Facebook photo)
Clearwater’s Luke Lavigne awarded Donnie Nicholson Memorial Trades Bursary

Congratulations to Luke Lavigne of Clearwater, B.C., on the successful completion of… Continue reading

The Canadian Cancer Society Office located inside the Williams Lake Seniors Activity Centre closed its doors this month after being notified the CCS would be moving to regional offices located across Canada. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Canadian Cancer Society closes office in Williams Lake

“I didn’t realize how hard it would hit me when it actually closed down,” Allan said.

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Kelowna International Airport. —Image: Capital News file
Williams Lake medevac flight encounters drone at Kelowna International Airport

The airport is a no-drone zone to keep aircraft safe at all times

Williams Lake Community Policing Chair Baldish Singh Sunner. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake Community Policing request for increased funding denied

Council voted 4 to 3 in favour to keep it at $15,000 for one-year agreement

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read