Duende Farm sits on the location of one of the first farms in the Fraser Valley. The farm was initially homesteaded by James Murray Webster in 1882. He held title to the land until the turn of the century when a number of Finnish settlers moved into the area. Between the early 1900's to date the land was owned by various people until the early 70's. During this period the land was used for raising sheep and a substantial chicken barn was erected around mid century. Some remenants still exist including a black walnut tree that stands over 70 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter - possibly planted by the Webster family as it is estimated to be over 100 years old.
In the early 70's fur was still fashionable and the proximity to fishing boats on the Fraser River made the farm ideal for the raising of mink and it was converted into a mink farm. Sheds containing 4000 cages were erected to house the mink and the farm remained in production until the late 1980's. With the rising opposition to the use of animals for fur, the mink business became insolvent and the farm was purchased by Al Kozak.
Al raised highland cattle and sheep from 1990 until 2002 while he worked in Vancouver in the high tech industry. At this time he met Donna and they wed in 2004 and changes began to occur.
Gusto Garlic was founded in 2006 by Al & Donna Kozak when we grew our first test crop of 15 bulbs. These first 15 bulbs grew to 300, then 2500 and we continuued to bring in different varieties of garlic. Our first harvests were a huge success and our 2012 crop size has expanded to approximately 7,500 garlic plants consisting of 10 different varieties.
Today the farm has continuued to grow and although garlic is still one of our major crops, we grow tomatoes, potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, peas, carrots and many other vegetables.