Several agricultural producers in the Lakeland Region are opening their farm gates to visitors later this week part of Alberta Open Farm Days which runs Aug. 13 and 14.
Now in its 10th year, the province-wide event has seen more than 150,000 visits to 817 farms over the years. With a focus on agriculture tourism, Open Farm Days brings together the people who are growing food products with those who consume them. It offers a unique opportunity to take in Alberta’s diverse agricultural community, enjoy a day out with family and return home with a enlightened knowledge of food production and how important the agricultural sector is to the economy.
The following is a quick snapshot of Lakeland area producers participating this year. Please note that people are encouraged to visit the Alberta Open Farm Days website at https://albertaopenfarmdays.ca for a complete list of farms, days of participation and any pre-booking requirements they may have, to assist in planning their excursions.
Charlotte Lake Farms
Charlotte Lake Farms in the MD of Bonnyville is participating for a third year in a row. Guy and Leona Bonneau and family are raising red angus cattle on land that has been in the family since 1911.
As in previous years, the Bonneau family is going all out to ensure visitors during Open Farm Days are served up a fantastic day on Saturday. The ever-popular bale maze is back, along with cow patty bingo, and a calving simulation game, among others. There will be opportunities for a trailer ride to see the cattle and crops, a goat-milking demonstration and plenty of other animals to view. A farmer’s market featuring a range of products will be on site. Homemade burgers will be available for sale.
350 Farms in the MD of Bonnyville is inviting people to meet their amazing KuneKune pigs, which they describe as “friendly, safe and delicious,” on the Open Farm Days website’s list of participating farms.
350 Farms is offering four pasture tours each day. While pasture tours are free – the food to feed the pigs does have a small cost. Open-toed shoes/sandals are not recommended for pasture tours.
Visitors will also learn how pastured poultry is produced and can check for eggs in the hen house. Guests are also invited to explore 5 km of trails and tour a glamping site.
Rocky Meadows Country Get-Away
Also, located in the MD of Bonnyville, Rocky Meadows Country Get-Away is offering visitors a self-guided tour of their orchard and berry-picking of any in-season fruit on Saturday.
Do not pass up the opportunity to enjoy some unique mini golf, set up in some old farm machinery. A craft market will be on site and fresh pies, preserves and other foods made from their own produce will be available for sale.
As an extra reason for visiting the MD of Bonnyville participating farms, people who get a stamp from all three locations – Charlotte Lake Farms, Rocky Meadows Country Getaway and 350 Farms, can enter to win a prize package worth over $500. Be sure to grab a card from one of the participating farms to collect the stamps.
The People’s Museum of St. Paul and District in St. Paul is participating Saturday with the following activities for visitors to enjoy: a petting zoo (11 a.m. - 3 p.m.), butter-making demonstration (1 p.m.), old-fashioned ice cream demonstration (1:30 p.m.), interactive log cutting (1 p.m. - 3 p.m.), horseshoe pit, and hayrides (noon to 3 p.m.). Time and activities are weather dependent.
Birds & Bees Wine Distillery
Located in the County of Two Hills, Birds & Bees Wine Distillery is eager to share its orchard and production facility with visitors and will be open both Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The opportunity to stomp some saskatoons the old-fashioned way, enjoy some samples of the distillery’s wine, mead, and vodka products, along with a bouncy house for the kids are all on the weekend’s menu.
Christy Creek Honey
Christy Creek Honey in the Lac La Biche area is known for its wildflower honey and signature Bee Sweet Stir Stick Lollipop.
Situated on a second-generation family farm, guests are invited on Saturday to visit the apiary, learn about bees, enjoy the scenery and blooms, play some games, paint a mini hive to take home, buy some goodies from the Mill Bakery and shop for bee-themed and locally made items including, of course, small-batch honey.
Chatsworth Farm in the Vermilion area is participating in Open Farm Days on Saturday. The mixed family farm has a herd of a herd of 500 beef cattle, a growing flock of sheep, laying hens, geese, ducks, turkeys, two horses, and grows various grain and legume crops, including heritage Red Fife wheat.
Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in guided livestock tours, machinery demonstrations, hands-on farm activities and shop at a farmers’ market with a variety of produce and wares available.