Saturday, August 11, 2018

Alberta Open Farm Days: Parkland County

Grove Berry Patch - Photo Credit Lara Felsing

This post was sponsored by Parkland County.  I received monetary compensation in exchange for this post. As always, all thoughts and options are my 100% my own.  
 Summertime in Alberta is a beautiful thing. The sun is (usually) shining, fresh fruit and vegetables are aplenty, and best of all, summer is road trip prime time.   

When I set out to visit farms in Parkland County this week, my 2016 Rav 4 clocked in at 100,000km - that's a lot of road trips in a short amount of time!  Considering this, along with the fact that I've lived in Alberta my entire life, I'm still constantly in awe of how many new and exciting things there are to discover in my backyard. Alberta Open Farm Days helps shine a spotlight on the rural adventures that await, and I'm always excited to participate every year. 

Alberta Open Farm Days is happening on the weekend of August 18/19th this year, and is a really fun and engaging hands on Alberta wide community event.  Farmers and ranchers invite their local communities to stop by and enjoy firsthand experiences.  Chef's from each community will be hosting rural farm to table culinary events using products from within their region.

Parkland County, Alberta has a lot to offer during this weekend.  They will be hosting a bus tour to 5 of the 8 farms participating in their region, though you are welcome to visit all 8 farms on your own self guided tour. You can find full details about all of the farms HERE including detailed directions, and itineraries for each farm.  Scroll to the bottom of this post for full details on the bus tour, which includes a locally sourced farm to table lunch.  

Today I'll be highlighting the 3 farms that won't be on the bus tour, but are still available to visit on the self guided tour. 

5411 51 St
Stony Plain, AB T7Z 1B7
Saturday, August 18 (Only)
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

The Multicultural Heritage Centre

The Multicultural Heritage Centre has been serving the Spruce Grove area for over 40 years.   They have a living museum, and the historic red brick Stony Plain School building hosts a 1880's homestead including a functional kitchen that they host demonstrations in.  On Saturday, August 18th, at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm, the centre will host a pioneer experience demonstration that includes freshly baked scones.
The Multicultural Heritage Centre

The property hosts a community garden and guided garden tours will be available at 1pm, 2pm, and 4pm.  They will also be hosting a market vegetable stand with vegetables for purchase, and pre-order picnic lunches will be available making the centre an essential stop during your day.  

The Multicultural Heritage Centre

The kitchen in the centre truly immerses you into a different century.  I could imagine all of the baking and creating that would happen in a kitchen such as this. 
The Multicultural Heritage Centre
I was absolutely fascinated with the entire centre, and could have spent hours pouring over the historic pieces throughout the building and property. Make sure you bring your camera (and appetite) to this stop! 

31313 118 Ave
Acheson, AB T7X 6M6
Sunday, August 19 (Only)
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Kiwi Nurseries
Kiwi Nurseries is a great local source for perennials, shrubs, and trees of all different stages of life, specifically curated to thrive in the local climate. Each row in their greenhouse is labeled for the types of climates that the plants will thrive in, and Ashleigh, who's family owns and operates the farm, told me that "we simply won't sell you a product that wouldn't do well in your garden - we make sure that each customer walks out with a product that is best suited for their specific climate".

Kiwi Nurseries
As we toured the farm, we were greeted with rows and rows of trees, some as old as I was.  "We're able to sell sell full grown trees, so if you have a property that requires more privacy, we can do that for you." explained Ashleigh. 

During Alberta Open Farm Days, Kiwi Nurseries will be offering wagon ride tours to the behind the scenes areas of the nursery.  The wagon rides can get quite dusty, so if you're planning on bringing camera gear, be sure to bring the appropriate dust shields for your camera's safety. 

Kiwi Nurseries
I was really excited to see that the nursery had a variety of Maple trees that does really well in Alberta.  My husband is from Ontario, and really misses the beautiful red hue of the leaves that come with maple trees in the fall, so next season we will definitely be visiting Kiwi Nurseries to purchase a tree for our front yard. 

Kiwi Nurseries
Like many farms, the nursery has free range chickens who's coop resides behind the greenhouses.  During Alberta Open Farm Days, guests will be able to visit the chickens.  If the weather is anything like the sweltering day we had when I was visiting, the chickens will likely be enjoying a cool dust bath in the shade. In addition to chickens, one of nursery worker Breanna will be bringing in her goats, something she often does for special events at the Nursery. 

Kiwi Nurseries

52460 Range Road 265
Spruce Grove, AB T7X 3H2
Saturday, August 18
Sunday, August 19
9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m

Grove Berry Patch
Grove Berry Patch is a family owned and operated farm with 20 acres of Saskatoon berries, and 1 acre of raspberries (including yellow!), black currants, high bush cranberries, vegetables, chicken, and long horn cattle. I had the pleasure of touring the farm with Carol Jones, who runs the farm with her husband Kameron. 

Grove Berry Patch
The Jone's have 8 free range hobby chickens, and while their eggs are not for sale, they are happy to show visitors their coop, and where the chickens lay their eggs. 

Grove Berry Patch

The Grove Berry Patch is wheelchair accessible, and has the option for vehicles to drive right up to the berry patches so that those with disabilities have easy access.  During Alberta Open Farm Days, the Jone's will be offering hay rides, berry picking, and frozen berries for sale, so be sure to bring a cooler with you to this adventure! 

Grove Berry Patch

The farm even hosts long horned cattle, which I was surprised to note were slightly smaller than regular cattle.  The cattle were just as curious as I was and greeted me when I walked towards their gate, camera in hand. 
Grove Berry Patch

Tickets are available until Tuesday, August 14, 2018. 

Parkland County and Community Futures Capital Region have teamed up this year to offer an exciting guided adventure: The Local Farm Trail. Visitors will be able to experience five participating farms on an intimate level, while taking part in an amazing culinary experience.

The Local Farm Trail will begin and end at the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain and will include visitations of the following farms:

·         Happy Acres U-Pick
·         Aspen Grove Nurseries
·         Farmer Dell’s
·         Homegrown Foods Ltd.
·         Good Morning Honey

Adventurers will be invited to try multiple hands-on activities, enjoy fresh food tastings, and learn more about how their food gets from farm to table. The guided adventure will end with a culinary experience prepared with fresh ingredients sourced directly from each featured farm by local chefs from The Stony Plain Pie Shoppe.

Start your day off with freshly brewed coffee and homemade muffins at Happy Acres, as you take a stroll through their garden and meet the animals. Next, go back in time as you experience the Old West theme at Aspen Grove Nurseries! Here, you’ll taste fresh fruit and apple sauce from their orchard, get to know the big personalities of each of their rescue animals, and spend some time checking out the +20 handmade vendors at the Country Market. Learn all about sheep and permaculture from Farmer Dell, who was once a city slicker turned hobby farmer. Grind up your own bag of flour at the Homegrown Foods farm and take home a bread recipe! Here we’ll take a break from all the excitement to enjoy a gourmet lunch prepared by Chef Kevin Weddell of Stony Plain Pie Shoppe. The folks at Good Morning Honey will give you a sweet finish to the day, as you taste different flavours of raw honey, make your own beeswax candles, and take a tour of their hives and extraction process. Our Local Farm Trail tour is sure to cultivate each of your senses and leave you with lasting memories!

Date: Saturday, August 18th 2018
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Happy Acres U-Pick
Located in Spruce Grove, AB.
Open Farm: Sunday, August 19th, 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Happy Acres is a family owned and operated U-pick farm, offering 8 acres of various fruits and vegetables for you to harvest throughout the season, as well as tons of different farm animals to meet! You can easily spend a full afternoon at this quaint farm just outside of Spruce Grove.  

Located in Spruce Grove, AB
Open FarmSaturday and Sunday, August 18-19th9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Aspen Grove Nurseries is home to a nursery with old town styled store fronts, the Country Market at Aspen Grove and many rescue animals.

Located just outside of Spruce Grove, AB
Open FarmSaturday and Sunday, August 18-19th10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Farmer Dell grew up as a city-slicker in Edmonton, AB. Feeling ambitious, her and her husband decided to move out to the country side in 2006 and start their own farm! Here you'll learn all about her experiences with raising a flock of sheep and chickens, permaculture, gardening, crafting, and so much more!

Located in Parkland County, AB
Open Farm: Saturday, August 18th, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
The Schoepp family has lived and farmed in Stony Plain for five generations now, and are the owners of Homegrown Foods Ltd. In 1996, Jim Schoepp and a group of other local producers began providing a weekly local and homegrown service to customers who wanted products direct from the farmer.

Located in Parkland County, AB
Open FarmSaturday and Sunday, August 18-19th10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Good Morning Honey is family owned and operated, with apiaries covering a diverse area of natural land and farms just west of Edmonton. They produce some of the world's finest honey enjoyed by many across North America as well as Asia and Europe.

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