Farming innovations usually consist of new ways to feed or more efficient harvesting processes.
But the innovations put on display on the television series Prairie Farm Report two weeks ago were anything but your typical farming features. The farming series showcased a local farm turned resort, called Rocky Meadows Country Getaway.
Over the past six years, the former cattle and grain farm, located 13 kilometres north of Bonnyville, has evolved into a campground, complete with mini-golf, paintball park, café, Saskatoon berries picking farm, two spring-fed ponds and a walking trail.
Prairie Farm Report picked up on the resort from an article in the Western Producer and filmed the episode last August. It then aired during the last week in January.
Lori Toker, co-owner of Rocky Meadows, said it was nerve wracking being on television, but overall it was a very pleasant experience.
"I have people call to say they saw us on TV.
We have bookings for camping this summer already," she said. "They came out when everything was green, and showed what we've done with the farm."
Toker, along with her husband Vince and their five children, own and run the getaway, which has been expanding since the first day they opened for berry picking in 2005.
"We decided to plant Saskatoons and have a U-pick as a way to kind of diversify the farm," she explained.
But as more and more people came for the berries, the demand for more services and recreational activities just kept growing.
"People didn't want us to shut down when the berry season was over," said Toker.
Toker knew good things were possible and started attending tourism conferences and came up with some new ideas for the farm.
"I got the idea to use old farm equipment for a mini-golf course," she said. "I came home and threw the idea out there. Then the kids came up with ideas and we just started building it."
A friend then donated an old cabin, which has become a café. Campsites soon followed, as did the paintball course.
"Every year there has been something new," she said. "We've received a lot of help from friends and neighbours."
The growth of the farm has forced the Toker's to expand their hiring base beyond immediate family.
"It's getting to be a big job," said Toker.
They hired summer students for the first time last year, which helped things run smoothly during the busy spring through fall season.
The family is now planning to expand its camping area.
Toker said the majority of campers who come out to Rocky Meadows are older folks, new families and a lot of oil and gas workers, many who have become regular customers.
"We get the people who want a quiet place and don't necessarily want the hustle and bustle of the lake."
For more information, call (780) 826-6053 or check out the website www.rockymeadows.net.