Enjoying a harvest table meal at Alberta Open Farm Days (photo: Travel Alberta)

Alberta Open Farm Days: Get to Know Your Rural Neighbours

By Tom Murray

Farms and ranches, culinary events and tours, oh my! Alberta Open Farm Days is a weekend-long event where the Albertans who put food and drink on our tables welcome visitors for tours, demonstrations and even tastings. It’s a fun and engaging way to get to know local producers, and see first-hand where our meals actually come from. In preparation for the province-wide open house, we’ve selected a handful of agricultural destinations to check out.

A GRAND TASTE TOUR
You’ve got the option of touring, tasting, or touring and tasting at this event hosted by Edmonton’s Wild Heart Collective. Take part in a visit to Stonepost Farms outside of Wildwood, where you’ll see their holistic and sustainable approach to farming; Camola Foods, who harvest a range of edible insects, is also on the food agenda. Afterwards, take your place at the harvest table for a meal created by Chef Paul Shufelt and friends, concocted from ingredients found at the farm. Aug. 17

LINKS TO THE LAND
Sometimes we forget that the food we buy at the supermarket doesn’t just magically appear on the shelves. Hop on a bus and see where it all starts with the Re-connect with the Farm Tour, in and around the Cremona area. It’ll be a busy day as you learn about beekeeping at Fallentimber Meadery; the production of eggs, mushrooms, honey and vegetables at Akesi Farms; and solar panels at the Double N Ranch. Top it off with a visit to the Bergen Farmers’ Market and lunch at the Bergen Community Hall and you’ll be a happy (if perhaps a little tired) camper. Aug. 17

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JUST BEET IT
They’re a vital part of our food production here in Alberta, but how much do you really know about sugar beets? Nothing? Well, you can change all that by visiting Crandford Acres, outside of Taber, to see demonstrations, farm machinery, sugar production and more. Aug. 17

GARDEN PARTY
Owner Tam Andersen is waiving the usual entry fee at Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm for Alberta Open Farm Days. The family-friendly operation in Bon Accord has plenty for kids to explore, including a corn maze, petting farm, and the large CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) gardens. And of course, the outdoor café will be serving up farm-fresh fare all day long. Aug. 18

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FRUITFUL AFFAIR
A winery in northern Alberta? Yes, you read that correctly! Barr Estate Winery is a small, sustainable, family-run farm that makes fruit wines using raspberries, rhubarb and sour cherries—all grown on the winery’s property outside Edmonton. They’ve thrown in wholeheartedly with Alberta Open Farm Days, opening their gates for fruit grove and winery tours, petting zoo visits, and even tastings of their unique libations. Aug. 17 & 18

HOW TO SAVE
Hit the rural roads—and pump more money into your wallet with a prepaid reloadable Esso Card. Use it for gas and goodies at Esso service stations across Canada. Pick up a card at any AMA centre to earn 5% back in reward dollars on the purchase amount. Plus, earn 5% every time you reload the card in-centre, online or set up automatic reload. Pair it with a CAA Rewards Mastercard and you’ll get a bonus 2%­—that’s a total of 7% in reward dollars.