The historic and beloved Two EE’s Farm Market is officially gone.
The City of Surrey purchased the property last year, but the structures on the property have remained until this week.
On Thursday morning, demolition crews were on site and remnants of the long-standing market laid in piles on the ground.
“The building is being removed in order to leave the site in a safe and clean condition in the near term,” said Surrey parks manager Neal Aven in a statement to the Now-Leader on Friday (Oct. 25). “The City is planning to commence public consultation in the coming 12 to 24 months to determine long term plans for the site.”
The property, at 16411 Fraser Hwy., is located west of the Surrey Sport and Leisure complex and Bonnie Schrenk Park.
The city outlined tentative plans for the site in a July 2018 report which noted the property completes an area of land acquisition the city sought in order to consolidate to build a “destination athletic park” for Fleetwood that may include sports fields and other amenities, to be determined through future public consultation.
Two EEs market has officially been torn down. Just noticed while driving this morning. I have so many memories here, coming with my mom growing up, bringing my kids…. Sad to see it gone. #surreybc pic.twitter.com/Saul6h3EMY
— Amy Marie Reid (@amyreid87) October 24, 2019
The family-run Fleetwood market closed with “mixed emotions” on Oct. 31, 2018 after operating for 58 years.
As Ken VanderPloeg told the Now-Leader ahead of the closure, “sometimes, that’s just how the cookie crumbles.”
VanderPloeg was the market’s buyer and married into the family that’s run the business since 1960.
“Family dynamics is what contributed to a lot of the change,” VanderPloeg said at the time. “Especially looking ahead to the next generation and how that plays out for some of us. The interest of the kids involved was one of the big factors.”
He said the Two EE’s Farm – located 10 minutes from the market in Port Kells on 88th Avenue – will still continue to operate.
Ann Jansen, who had worked at the market since she was a wee tot with her father, was saddened.
“It’ll be a loss. It’s part of the family, really,” she said last year.
Jansen, formerly the business’ accountant, is the oldest of nine children born to Henk and Jenny Schoen who purchased the farm in 1960.
But the farm’s history – and namesake – goes back even farther, to before the Second World War.
Two EE’s was started by Emil and Elizabeth Kowalski, and began as a dairy farm and fruit stand on a plot of land, according to the company’s website, wegroworganic.ca, which highlights the history of the business with firm roots in Fleetwood.
“It was just a little stand then, that’s all that was on there,” said Jansen. “The back was not cultivated or anything, they had cows on there.”
When her parents took over in 1960, they decided to continue farming fruits and vegetables.
They also got rid of the cows, and brought in bees and chickens.
Their plan was to sell the eggs and honey, as well as vegetables produced on the farm, at the roadside stand.
At peak production they had 40 hives of bees and 2,500 chickens.
In 1960, one dozen eggs sold for 25 cents, and the Two EE’s unpasteurized honey cost their customers 30 cents a pound.
Jenny made jam and bread, selling as many as 100 loaves of bread for 27 cents on national holidays.
And the Schoen kids picked more than eggs and veggies. They picked stones.
Whenever the kids misbehaved they were sent out to pick rocks from the fields. As the story goes, it was the kids who cleared much of the land.
“There was a small house on the property when my parents bought it,” Jansen recalled.
“They added onto that house, which is part of the store now, because at that time they had six kids. So they needed to have a bit more room and I guess it was 1975, they built the house in the back of the property. It’s not there anymore, but that’s where two of my brothers were born.”
The first half of the store that has recently been torn down was built in 1970. In 1975, when the store expanded, the family moved into to a house in the back of the property.
As the number of customers increased, they became too many for the family to serve on their own, and over the years numerous employees were hired. There were a number of staff who worked beside the family for more than 30 years prior to its closure in 2018.
Documents show the property, at 16411 Fraser Hwy., was sold for $6.43 million on Aug. 30, 2018. It was previously sold for $3.1 million in 2017.
Click here to read more about the city purchasing the property.
SO many memories here. From going to pick up flats and flats of tomatoes or peaches for canning with mom as a child… to shopping with my kids. Here's my daughter picking green onions as big as she is! The beloved Two EE's market will be missed. #surreybchttps://t.co/tKw0Zdx889 pic.twitter.com/6meeVSxaBC
— Amy Marie Reid (@amyreid87) August 9, 2018