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Featured member Markerville Berry and Vegetable U-Pick:


green.jpgIf 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

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!” 
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