News & Information
Featured member Markerville Berry and Vegetable U-Pick:
If you live in the Red Deer region and you’ve wondered about Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, the Markerville Berry and Vegetable Farm may be just the ticket for you.
Located on Range Road 15, the farmers welcome visitors for “U-Pick” in the summer, or just to “say hello.” Established in 2008
Markerville Berry & Vegetable has been “selling vegetables at various Farmers Markets across Central Alberta as well as opening their farm for U-Pick berries” during the strawberry, raspberry, and Saskatoon seasons. In line with their pesticide free growing philosophy and
sustainable farming practices, Beth and Jim Huising, as well as their children and Jim’s parents, decided to incorporate the CSA Farm Vegetable Box program into their business in 2013, and now deliver in the Red Deer and Innisfail areas.
Check out their website
for information on the farm, the farmers, and the farm box delivery.
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
Raspberries 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
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
It’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
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.
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
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
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Producer Success Stories
Safe Food-Farm Direct Advantage
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Alberta Water Act and You
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Pricing for Profit
Getting Control of Your Pricing: Bob Cobbledick
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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.