Monday, July 24, 2017

Alberta Open Farm Days: Violet Gardens & Greenhouse

  Violet Gardens & Greenhouses was started by Barbie & Jessy - St. Amant, along with their son Jaxon, and daughter Violet - the inspiration behind the name of their farm. 
While Barbie has lived in Wildwood all of her life, Jessy first came here from Quebec 6 years ago, which is when they bought their 10 acre farm.  Though they always had a personal farm, it wasn't until last year that their commercial farm came to life.
A carpenter by trade, Jessy, along with friends and family, build the greenhouse once they made the plans to go ahead with it in August 2016.  While working full time to support his family, he spent every spare moment he could working on the greenhouse, and by February 2017, the family's dream of having a commercial greenhouse had become a reality.  They opened in April 2017, and saw thousands of people visit their greenhouse until the greenhouse season came to a close on June 30th. 
"We are a little local business - we see a lot of local businesses trying to grow over the years.  It's not easy to start something, but we did it.  We've seen a lot of local support in our first year - it's great to see the locals support us.  The locals keep the work here, and their local money here, which is so important.  It keeps Wildwood alive." says Jessy.

The family saw opportunity when their good friend Deb, from Deb's Greenhouse moved her operations to Morinville. 
"She was so helpful with us every step of the way, teaching us everything - we were pretty much able to skip 10 years of start up because of her mentoring - I can not say enough wonderful things about her." says Barbie. 
Their best seller's this year were Morning Glory Vines, and the Nightsky, which did exceptionally well thanks to social media.
Even though the greenhouse season has come to a close, the family has plans to offer a vegetable u-pick from mid August - October, ending their season with a pumpkin patch just in time for Halloween. 
"There were no pumpkin patches around here, and so I thought it would be a really cool service to offer." says Barbie.  
"No job is ever guaranteed, but we don't have to depend on anyone but ourselves.  It's really going back to the land.  Live from our piece of land that we have, work with our hands, and make it so we can live out of that.  We aren't looking to be millionaires, just pay the bills, make a nice living." says Jessy.
  "and be able to wear flip flops in March" says Barbie with a laugh. 
Violet Gardens and Greenhouse will be inviting the public to their farm on Saturday, August 19th for Alberta Open Farm Days, a weekend aimed at bringing Albertians together to learn a bit about how food gets from the farm, to your table.

Over 90 farms across Alberta will be participating, and will open their farms to the public for a weekend of learning, experiencing, and tasting.  I've partnered with Yellowhead County and Community Futures West Yellowhead to share the stores of 4 local farmers in our region.

If you'd like to participate, you can plan your route online, or stop in at: 

Yellowhead County:
2716 - 1st Avenue, Edson, Alberta
 53404 Rge Rd 92A, Wildwood, AB

Community Futures West Yellowhead:
221 Pembina Avenue, Hinton, Alberta

This post was sponsored by Alberta Open Farm Days.  I received monetary compensation in exchange for this post. As always, all thoughts and options are my 100% my own.

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