About BCHGA - BC Hazelnut Growers Association
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About BCHGA

Our Purpose

The BC Hazelnut Growers Association (BCHGA) exists to promote the improvement and expansion of BC’s hazelnut industry, and to support BC hazelnut growers, as well as nurseries, researchers, extension specialists, and suppliers. We believe that hazelnuts are a terrific crop for BC, and can once again be a thriving part of agriculture in the province.

The BCHGA works with industry partners to conduct research into variety trials, and promotes awareness of the crop through education and advertising. In addition, we explore opportunities at the provincial and federal level for funding to assist with our activities.

Young tree in orchard

Who We Are

The BCHGA is incorporated as a BC Non-Profit Society, comprised of a membership base who elects a volunteer Board of Directors at each year’s Annual General Meeting.  Please contact board members through info@bchga.ca

BCHGA Employees:
BCHGA Program Co-ordinator - Sue Grubac

Sue Grubac – Executive Director

Sue is BCHGA’s first executive director and new hazelnut farmer with a 10 acre orchard on Vancouver Island. She is excited to represent the island growers and to be a part of the development of the hazelnut industry in BC.

Location: Nanaimo, BC
Email: exec.director@bchga.ca

BCHGA Current Board of Directors:
Charles Dick pic

Charles Dick – President, BCHGA

Charles Dick has been involved with the BCHGA board since 2022. He is a grower with Woodgrove and Tandem Grove Farms, which includes 30 acres of hazelnuts planted from 2017-2023. He is excited about the potential of the hazelnut industry in BC and is privileged to be a part of its redevelopment.

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Email: president@bchga.ca

BCHGA Vice President - Ray Pedersen

Ray Pedersen – Vice President, BCHGA

Ray has served on the board of the BCHGA since 2022. He operates a farm with apple and hazelnut orchards in Terrace BC. Situated at at 54-40N it is probably the northernmost hazelnut orchard in BC.

Location: Terrace, BC
Email: ray@valhallafest.ca

BCHGA Director - Cornel Van Maren

Cornel Van Maren – Secretary/Treasurer, BCHGA

Cornel Van Maren has been serving on the BCHGA board since 2018 as the secretary-treasurer. He operates Van Maren Farms, which includes 45 acres of hazelnuts planted from 2017-2021. He is looking forward to being a part of the redevelopment of the hazelnut industry in British Columbia.

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Email: treasurer@bchga.ca

BCHGA Director - Heather Gilliland

Heather Gilliland – Director at Large, BCHGA

Heather Gilliland is a retired healthcare worker and fulltime sheep farmer (Ceadrow Farm) in Langley, B.C. After attending the BCHGA summer field day in September 2015, Heather became a member of the association and ordered 750 trees to plant in her 3 1/2 acre orchard in 2017. “Heather’s Hazelnuts” are sold at local businesses and at the farm gate. 

Location: Langley, BC

BCHGA Director - Greg Reid

Greg Reid – Director at Large, BCHGA

Greg has been involved in the hazelnut industry for 40 years and served on the board for many of those years. He has farmed organically for 30 years and is looking forward to the growth of the industry with new blight resistant varieties.

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Email: greid23@shaw.ca

BCHGA Director - Steve hope

Steve Hope – Director at Large, BCHGA

Steve has been involved in the hazelnut industry since 2014 as a grower and co-owner of Fraser Valley Hazelnuts. He has served on the board of the BCHGA since 2018. Steve is excited to be a part of the reemergence of the BC hazelnut industry, and committed to assist in its development.

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Email: steve@fraservalleyhazelnuts.com

BCHGA Director - Kevin Hooge

Kevin Hooge – Director at Large, BCHGA

Kevin Hooge is one of the owners of Fraser Valley Hazelnuts. FVH is a family owned and operated company and is a washing, drying and further processing facility in Greendale B.C. He has been serving on the BC hazelnut growers board since 2017. He is excited to be involved in the renewal of this industry and believes it has a bright future!

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Email: kevin@fraservalleyhazelnuts.com

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Art Breugem – Director at Large, BCHGA

Aart Breugem started planting his 18 acres hazelnuts last year. He is excited to be part of the renewal of a once thriving  industry.  He also runs a cut flower greenhouse and he hope that his experience will be beneficial to the hazelnut industry.

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Email:  dutchheritage@shaw.ca

Kirkness Family

Karl Unrau – Director at Large, BCHGA

Karl joined his wife’s family hay farm in 2021. That same year, their family planted 5 acres of hazelnuts. Karl is excited to be a BCHGA Board Member and hopes his pervious experience in the finance and sales can contribute to the regrowth of the hazelnut industry in BC.

Location: Chilliwack, BC

bio pic Haley

Haley Argen – Director at Large, BCHGA

Haley Argen has 24 years in commercial nursery production, specializing in growing food, native, and ornamental plants. She co-founded Nature Tech Nursery Ltd in 2010 with her husband, focusing on EFB resistant hazelnut trees, supporting the industry’s revival in BC. Their Vancouver Island trial orchard includes twelve cultivars, with more to come this year.

Location: Courtenay, BC
Email:  info@naturetechnursery.ca

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Jeremy Smith – Director at Large, BCHGA

Jeremy is a new recruit to the BCHGA board this year.  Jeremy brings a wealth of enthusiasm and is eager to participate in the regrowth of the hazelnut incustry.

Location: Duncan, BC

Further reading:

We’re here to help!

Learn more about becoming a member of the BCHGA and what it means to be a member.

BCHGA Membership

Partner Organizations

As an important part of the strategy to achieve our goals, the BCHGA partners with other organizations to provide opportunities for research and innovation, and to conduct variety trials.

University of the Fraser Valley

University of the Fraser Valley:

The BC Hazelnut Growers Association is fortunate to have partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley to support the hazelnut industry through collaboration, research, and education. Click here to read more about this partnership.

UFV Agriculture Centre of Excellence

UFV Agriculture Centre of Excellence:

The BC Hazelnut Growers Association is very grateful for the support of Garry Fehr, PhD, Director of the Agriculture Centre of Excellence, University of the Fraser Valley.

For more information about the University of the Fraser Valley’s Agriculture Centre of Excellence, please see:  https://www.ufv.ca/ace/

Abbotsford Community Foundation

Abbotsford Community Foundation:

The Abbotsford Community Foundation and City of Abbotsford awarded the BC Hazelnut Growers Association a 2016 Agricultural Enhancement Grant. BCHGA is very thankful for this funding and the opportunity to work on a crop innovation project, in partnership with Holster Farm and with the continued support of the University of the Fraser Valley. More details about this project here!

BC Ministry of Agriculture

BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food:

The BC Hazelnut Growers Association is thankful for the support of the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food for providing funding, through the 2016-2017 provincial finance budget consultations, to support BCHGA’s efforts and for providing funding through the Hazelnut Renewal Program and the Perennial Crop Renewal Program, to support the removal of diseased trees and the planting of EFB-resistant trees.

BCHGA Upcoming EventsUpcoming Events

The BC Hazelnut Growers Association holds regular events throughout the year. Keep in the loop with our Events Listing >

BCHGA VideosField Day Videos

As BCHGA’s 2020 Field Day pivoted to a virtual format this year, we developed a video library of the information sessions. Explore the videos here >