Tractor procession to honour late Silver Rill Corn farmer Ken Fox

A tractor procession honouring the late Silver Rill Corn farmer Ken Fox will wind through Central Saanich past Centennial Park on Sunday, ending at the Saanich Fairgrounds.

Fox, who died Aug. 18 at age 65, was a member of a family whose association with farming dates to the early 1900s, when Sidney and Beatrice Fox started a dairy operation that expanded into the growing of produce. It included the first Silver Rill corn operation on Hovey Road.

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Fellow Peninsula farmer Terry Michell is organizing the tractor procession. He expects at least 20 freshly washed tractors, led by Ken Fox’s son Clayton. The best place to see them will be Centennial Park, in the 7500 block of Wallace Drive, he said.

It is difficult to say exactly when the tractors will pass by the park, but Michell expects that will happen between 11:15 a.m. and noon.

They will leave the 7100 block of Central Saanich Road, head west on Mount Newton Cross Road, turn south on Wallace Drive and then onto Stellys Cross Road.

Michell thought the tractor tribute would be fitting.

Michell, a member of another long-established Peninsula farming family, said Ken Fox, “was always on a tractor. He really enjoyed the planting and doing the tractor work.”

Michell and Ken Fox talked many times over the years about their operations and their ties ran deep. “Our children were all good friends.”

Ken and Wendy Fox have two children, Clayton and Corrine, who are now parents to a fifth generation of the family associated with farming.

Clayton Fox has been managing Silver Rill Corn, based at Central Saanich Road, for four years. His father had not been actively working at the farm recently because of health issues, he said.

Silver Rill is known for growing sweet corn and offering customers various types of corn. Farming was a passion for Ken Fox, his son said.

“He always kept up to date with current techniques when it came to growing corn.”

Willingness to experiment with different varieties meant that Silver Rill would often get hold of new varieties first, said Clayton Fox, who has that same passion for trying new types of corn. “It is something he created — that reputation for quality.”

He recalled his father working from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the farming season.

Ken Fox, who was also active in softball, was easy-going and friendly, Clayton Fox said. He was “known to be very helpful to anybody who needed help.”

If someone was down on their luck, Ken Fox would hire them to work on the farm. If another farmer’s tractor was out of service, a Silver Rill tractor would be lent.

A celebration of life will be held at the Saanich Fairgrounds, 1528 Stellys Cross Road, on Sunday at 1 p.m.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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