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Featured member: Brix N' Berries

Even though berry season is coming to a close, there’s still time to zoom out to Leduc for Saskatoons, raspberries, strawberries, sour cherries, and honeyberries … also known as haskaps. The folks at Brix N Berries are passionate about, and rightfully proud of, their products that are chemical free and grown in healthy soil that is “killicide” free. The producers concentrate on making the soil healthier so as to boost the Brix content of all their products. The Brix is a measure of the sugar, or energy, level, and the greater the Brix the greater the nutritional value of the berries. Not only do these growers offer berries, but they also have market garden produce as well as greenhouse, heirloom tomatoes, and peppers.  The best time to visit this farm is Wednesday through Sunday in the late morning or in the afternoon.  Located south of Leduc you are encouraged to visit and “taste the difference a few BRIX can make.” Go to their website at: www.brixnberries.com for more information as well as a map to guide you to their farm.

Featured member: Staniforth Summerberry Farm

summerberries.jpgRaspberries are without doubt an all-time favourite summer fruit that are perfect little packages when fresh, delicious as jam, and delectable as preserves on a cold winter day. Staniforth Summerberry Farm has three acres of the succulent little darlings ready in August for you to pick and enjoy. Although the grain sector of the farm has been in operation since 1918, raspberries [red, black, and yellow], are quite a recent venture. In addition, the growers offer black currants and red currants; as well, a newer planting of Saskatoons will be ready for picking in 2015. 

Located approximately 12 kilometres southwest of Sylvan Lake, Staniforth’s summer berries are spray and pesticide free, and u-pick only. So, wear your sunscreen and your hat, pack your picnic, and plan your family outing. For more information you can go to: www.staniforthfarm.com.

Featured member: Heritage Harvest Gardens


Heritage Harvest Gardens.jpgIf you always thought that growing tomatoes in the forest was impossible, think again. The Krause and Vandermolen family have perfected the art, and offer 100 varieties of the succulent fruit at the Heritage Harvest Gardens located in Thorhild County in the boreal forest area of the province. Their focus is on heritage and heirloom varieties of vegetables, and establishing seed sufficiency by 2018 is one of their goals. In fact, they plan to merchandise seeds in the Edmonton area for the tastiest and most Alberta-hardy vegetables, and they offer “seed-saving” sessions on site. In addition to all those tomatoes, and the seed business, HHG offers traditional favourite tasty, fresh treats such as artichokes and sweet potatoes, and the market garden offers products like dried peas as well as foraged produce. These mother-daughter business partners have put in place a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, business model, and state that they “grow food that [they] enjoy and think others will too.” Go to their website at: www.heritageharvestgardens.com for access to their blog, for pictures, or for information on seed-saving.

Featured member: Roy's Raspberries

raspberries.jpgIt’s easy to see why Harvey and Lorraine Boyko call their home a truly family affair. They are the owners of Roy's Raspberries, located just west of Edmonton on Highway 16A.  Although there have been raspberries on the farm since the early 1970's, Harvey and Lorraine took over the farm work in 1991 from Roy, who was Harvey's father. 

"We are the largest raspberry farm in Alberta and produce 14 varieties, including Honey Queen and Mammoth,” says Roy. “During harvest the fruit matures at different times thereby extending our season to Labour Day and sometimes beyond.”
  “We do not spray our fruit, and work on the farm between 7 and 8 months each year preparing for a bountiful harvest and then trying to keep the patch maintained.  We spend countless hours pulling weeds by hand, transplanting plants and mowing grass between the rows. In the fall after a severe frost, we cut down the producing rows since the canes are spent. Once all the canes are removed from the field, we will try to do most of our transplanting at this time.”
  “Our greatest challenge in farming is the unpredictability of nature.  Late spring frosts, heavy winds, honey bees, early fall frosts, and heavy snowfall all impact our crop. We call this a labour of love.”
 
Make sure to swing by and say hi to Harvey and Lorraine soon! Learn more about their farm online at www.roysraspberries.com!


Featured member: Horse Hill Berry Farm

Are you looking for a delicious batch of raspberries to take home with you? Then consider checking out Horse Hill Berry Farm, a u-pick raspberry farm northeast of Edmonton.
The farm has been open to the public for five years, although they’ve been planting on site since 2006. “Our focus is on raspberries for now, although we consider adding other berries in the future,” says Jackie Clark and Dave Wilson, owners.
One of the best things about Horse Hill Berry Farm is its proximity to Edmonton, as well as its location on the top of the ravine about the North Saskatchewan River. “I think the greatest asset we have is the location,” says Wilson. “We have a beautiful setting.
 
“Alongside the river, close to the city, we are a peaceful, family-friendly farm with a picnic area. We get used to the area because we have lived here so long, but I think many of the customers are in awe of their surroundings when they come out for the first time.”
 
“We are the only raspberry growers in Edmonton,” says Clark, who recommends heading out to the berry patch for a unique “date night” – “get outside, chat and walk and eat local berries!” 
 


Small Scale Livestock Field Day 

            
Date: Tuesday August 26th, 2014
Time: 11:00 am
Location: Nature's Green Acres and Ruzicka Sunrise Farm, near Viking Alberta.
RSVP: To Krista at 403-558-0189 or info@albertafarmfresh.com no later than Wednesday August 20th, 2014.

Please join us on August 26th for a field day near Viking, Alberta focused on small scale livestock production. 

Danny and Shannon from Nature's Green Acres raise cattle, hogs, broiler chickens and laying hens.  They sell baby beef.  These are small young carcasses which yield a high end, high quality, tender beef.  Their pasture raised pigs (Tamworth breed) are raised outside and have access to grass and roots as well as a free choice grain ration.  Their broiler chickens are moved every day onto fresh grass and they also get a grain ration.  The laying hens are raised in the farm yard where they are free to roam during the day and have a permanent house with nests to lay their eggs.

All Nature's Green Acres meat and eggs are direct marketed either through farmers' markets or directly to customers as quarter, half or whole animals.  They also do some interesting events like hosting a meal in a pasture every August, where all the food served is raised right on the farm.

At about 2pm we will travel a few miles down the road to Ruzicka Sunrise Farm.  Don and Marie Ruzicka have a very unique farm with a lot of emphasis on working with nature not fighting it.  They have planted thousands of trees, built a dam to create a large pond, cross fenced all their land and have created an oasis that attracts over 80 species of birds.  They work with researchers to create what is called eco buffers (many different species of trees designed to attract a huge variety of insects spread over a long growing season).

Their farm is certified organic and they raise beef, cattle and chickens.  They direct market all of their product to consumers who believe in what they are doing.  They do not go to farmers' markets.

The Ruzicka's also custom graze cattle in the summer which provides additional cash flow to the farm.  Don and Marie have a lot of wisdom to share about their unique farm and why they do what they do.  


Directions:
The farms are only a few miles apart and are located south of Viking and north of Killam.  Both farms are a few miles west of Hwy 36.  Hwy 36 is a major north south Hwy going from Tabor in the south up to Two Hills and St. Paul in the north.

From Hwy 36 you need to turn west on Range Road 462.  Range Road 462 is 11 miles north of Killam or 4 miles south of the junction of Hwy 26 and Hwy 36 (Hwy 26 is east of Camrose).

You travel west on Hwy 462 two miles until you reach Township Road 140.  You turn right (north) until the Catholic Church on your right.  Just past the church (running alongside the church) you turn right for 1 mile and go over the bridge.  Just past the bridge you turn left (north) on Township Road 135.  Natures Green Acres is the first driveway on the left side.

To get to Don Ruzicka's you make the same turn off Hwy 36 and Range Road 462.  You go west on Range Road 462, you cross over Township Road 140 and keep going until you reach Township Road 142.  You make a left turn (south) and go to the first farm on the left side.  There is a large sign that says "Ruzicka's Sunrise Farm".  Their farm address is 46059 Range Road 142.

Interested in Farm Direct Marketing?

Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association is happy to announce that the educational manual is now available. This well rounded reference manual features valuable information on becoming a farm direct marketer. 

"Seed, Nurture, Harvest  - Steps to Success in Farm Direct Marketing "

Chapters include:
  • What is Farm Direct Marketing
  • Producer Success Stories
  • Safe Food-Farm Direct Advantage
  • Farmers' Markets Information
  • Alberta Water Act and You
  • Elements of a Business Plan
  • Pricing for Profit
  • Getting Control of Your Pricing: Bob Cobbledick
  • AgriTourism Insurance
  • Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association

  • Over 200 pages of information will help you establish a pathway to success and will become a longtime business reference. Add to it, make notes, learn, grow! Call 1-800-661-2642 to receive your complimentary copy. Quantities are limited! E-Book is now available! 

    Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association gratefully acknowledges the Province of Alberta, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for providing funding for the production of this manual. A special thanks to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development for materials and staff members for their insight and additions to this manual and to the producers who took the time to be interviewed and shared their stories.


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