OUR FARM HISTORY
Lazar and Anna Grubac founded Holden Creek Farm in 1949. Both of them were immigrants from Europe where they had been farmers in their respective countries prior to WW II. After the war their desire for freedom brought them to Canada in search of a farm.
They spent 2 years searching for an area of Canada that would give them the type of climate for farming that they had grown up with. When they arrived on Vancouver Island, they knew they had found the spot to get started. They purchased an 80-acre parcel of land in North Cedar and began the arduous task of clearing the land and transforming the property into a farm.
Being immigrants to Canada they had limited funds so for the first 5 years after purchasing the land for the farm in North Cedar Lazar and Anna spent a lot of time working in logging camps in the interior of BC. Lazar was very handy with a chainsaw and axe and took on the very demanding job of a tree faller; Anna was very good in the kitchen so it was easy for her to get hired on with the kitchen staff at the camps. Their strong work ethic made their dream a reality and after 5 years they where able to pay down a big portion of the 80 acres and had some operating capital for the farm.
Lazar always believed that diversity was key to a successful farm so they started raising bees, sheep, cattle, and chickens. Along the way, they added growing hay, oats from time to time, and growing large vegetable gardens to their repertoire.
Once the farm was up and running, Lazar and Anna decided to raise a family of their own. In 1955, their first son, Marko, was born. In 1961, their second son was brought into the world, and that was me, Andre Grubac.
Born in Nanaimo in 1961, I grew up in Cedar on the family farm. Growing up on the farm and being able to operate all the equipment at an early age was a very exciting time for me. As we started to get more equipment on the farm, my father started doing custom farm work for other local farmers in the North Cedar area. He found it rewarding to meet new people who shared the same passion for farming; for me it meant more time on the tractor, which suited me fine. As a result of our mixed farming operations, the custom work we did and the access to a variety of farm equipment I have gained a quite diverse range of farming experience.
Over time I became very interested in the mechanics of all the equipment and enjoyed figuring out how to keep it all running efficiently. When I graduated from high school, the love for all things mechanical sent me on a path into aviation maintenance. After completing 1 year at BCIT, I spent 2 years apprenticing in the field until I achieved my Aircraft Maintenance Engineers License. I spent 30 years working around the globe in many different industries where Helicopters are required: from heli-logging operations in British Columbia and Alaska, to forest fire suppression across Canada and Australia to offshore and onshore oil exploration and production in South East Asia and South America.
During this time, I always made sure to get back to the family farm at the peak periods of hay production. Not only was it a big help to my family, but also because it is a true passion of mine that I could not bear to miss!
In 1993, I met my wife Sue on a job in the NWT and by 1994 began raising a family of my own. Although I still travelled with my work, we still maintained the farm raising a small herd of beef cattle, haying and growing large vegetable gardens.
As of 2012 I have retired from the aviation industry and now spend more time with my family and enjoy working on the family farm. To stay diverse as my father did so many years ago, I am offering custom farm work to local farmers throughout the Mid Island Area. It’s interesting that after all these years I am finding custom farm work rewarding for all the same reasons as my father did. I guess that’s what happens when you’re passionate about something.