The Cool Little Towns’ region south of Calgary abounds with a wealth farms, ranches and food producers, many of whom will be opening their doors and farm gates for this weekend’s Alberta Open Farm Days. From honey, jams and pickles to fresh flowers and produce, visitors can stock their kitchens, enhance their gardens and decorate their homes with locally grown and created produce, meats, prepared foods, and handmade arts & crafts.
Here’s a list of farms participating in Open Farm Days this weekend (it is recommended you call ahead to confirm times)
Spirit Hills Winery, Millarville – Winery tours – wine tastings – games for kids – bee yard – organic vegetable tire garden – hay ride to first Alberta commercial vineyard – chicken coop – dogs. Winery tours and tastings every 1/2 hour. Get educated about bees, honey harvest and honey wine making. Wine tasting $10/person. Every hour, hayrides to the vineyard and tour. Hosts: Hugo Bonjean/ Ilse de Wit 403-933-3913 or 403-933-3823
Eau Claire Distillery Free Entry, Tours and Tastings on Saturday at 1pm, 3pm and 6pm and Sunday at 1pm and 3pm. Product available for purchase. Must 18 years or older to participate. Hosts: Distillery staff (403) 933-5408
Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre Enjoy a walking tour with information about the historic grain elevator provided by our staff. (403) 646-1146
Chinook Honey Company & Chinook Arch Meadery Self-guided pollinator walk – learn about the plants bees are attracted to. Apiary workshop – 1pm & 3 pm $10 adults $7.50 children & seniors – Meadery workshop at 2pm & 4pm $10 adults $7.50 seniors Tasting of all honey made products including mead. Shopping for honey, honey related products, and mead. Hosts: Cherie & Art Andrews (403) 995-0830
Timber Ridge Conservation Site Walk with us through the field of grass and flowers to a wonderful spring that feeds into the headwaters of Nanton Creek. Please bring an empty water bottle! Hosts: Glen & Kelly Hall (403) 646-5813
O.H. Ranch During your visit to the Calgary Stampede’s OH Ranch, you will have the opportunity to meet our Ranch Manager, where you will learn about cattle ranching, animal care, and land stewardship all while visiting the historic buildings on site. In addition to seeing part of our herd and some working cattle horses, you will view some of the most spectacular scenery that southwestern Alberta has to offer. We look forward to welcoming you to the OH Ranch in beautiful Longview, Alberta. Host: Ken Pigeon
Trail’s End Beef Join our family for a casual day of play and exploring on Sunday August 20. Tour the barnyard of a family ranch while you enjoy a sample of grassfed beef. Visit the cattle, horses, and hens. Pet the kitties and play catch with the Border Collie. This is your chance to engage in conversation with a family raising real food for real people. We welcome questions and curiosity! Bring a cooler to shop for grassfed beef, honey, and more. Hosts:Tyler & Rachel Herbert (403) 601-5467
Grazed Right, Black Diamond Come for a tour of the ranch on Sunday August 20! Bring your kids, bring your friends, see chickens, cattle, pigs and horses. We’re proud of what we do and want to share it with you; come see rotational grazing, pastured poultry and pigs, and all the other critters on the ranch, and learn about why we do what we do! Only 30 minutes from Calgary! Please email us to RSVP and get directions GrazedRight@gmail.com Ben’s Cell number is 403-803-9190
In addition to Open Farm Days, there are all sorts of fun events happening across the region including:
- 2017 Priddis and Millarville Fair – August 19-20, 9AM-4PM at the Millarville Racetrack.
- The Shady Grove Bluegrass Festival, August 19-20 just east of Nanton
- The Bomber Command Museum of Canada‘s Salute to No. 6 Group RCAP – Lancaster Engine Run in Nanton on August 19
- The 10th Annual Longstock Music & Arts Festival, Aug 19 & 20, in Longview
- Bar U Ranch National Historic Site – Concert on Pekisko, Saturday August 19 and Old Time Ranch Rodeo, Sunday August 20
If you can’t fit all of the open farms this weekend, you can still have a local farm experience at one of our area farmers markets – open from spring through fall. Many of the vendors are Alberta-based direct producers, thus giving us the opportunity to personally meet the grower/producer of the product. From honey, jams and pickles to fresh flowers and produce, visitors can stock their kitchens, enhance their gardens and decorate their homes with locally grown and created produce, meats, prepared foods, and handmade arts & crafts.
Here’s a market list:
- Millarville Market – Millarville Racetrack, Saturdays June to October, 9PM – 2PM, no dogs allowed, $3 parking
- Nanton Farmers Market – Saturdays, July to September, 9AM – 1PM, Nanton United Church Parking Lot on Highway #2 South
- Okotoks Farmers Market – Fridays, June to October, 3:30PM – 6PM, located on the north side of Okotoks, one mile north of Okotoks GM on service road (322041 15 St E) facing the 2A highway.
- Handmade High River Sunday Market – Sundays, July and August, 12 NOON to 4PM, on First Street, just south of the Museum of the Highwood. High River creators coming together every Sunday to display, sell or sample their creations. Food, music, art, craft and handmade goods!
- High River Farmers’ Market – Thursdays, June to September, 3:30PM – 6:30PM on 4 Avenue S.W. in Downtown High River
- The Makers & Growers Guild Market, Sundays, June to October, 10AM – 3PM at the Westwood, 115 Government Road, Black Diamond
Take the time this weekend to see what your local Farms, Ranches, and farmers markets have to offer during Alberta Open Farm Days.