Whether you’re willing to travel far beyond the city limits or want to stay close to home, this year’s seventh annual Alberta Open Farm Days has something for you to enjoy, with over 100 farms opening their gates on August 17 and 18. The weekend of rural excursions caps off Alberta Local Food Week, a seven-day celebration and showcase of the wide variety of fresh foods produced within the province. With an exhaustive list of ways to enjoy homegrown Albertan products, the weekend is packed with activities to check out, whether you’re looking to learn about the storied history of Alberta agriculture or just grab a round of beers. Here’s a taste of just some of the experiences you can take part during this year’s Alberta Open Farms Days.
Stop in at one of several farms offering unique culinary experiences with fresh Alberta ingredients grown on site. For something straight out of Disney movie, buy tickets for a spot at Westerner Park’s “Dinner On Ice” in Red Deer, where a five-course dinner will be served at centre ice of the arena, surrounded by synchronized skaters. Closer to home, head to Glengary Bison west of Airdrie for bison smokies throughout Sunday afternoon, which includes a tour of the bison pasture.
If getting all turned around is your style, get lost in the sunflower maze at Eagle Creek Farms in Bowden. One of only two sunflower mazes in Canada, the Bowden SunMaze consists of more than 100,000 sunflowers which are set to be in full bloom just in time for Open Farm Days. Drop in between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. for free face painting and wagon tours on both Saturday and Sunday.
34530 Range Rd. 14, Bowden, 403- 224-3995, albertafarmdays.ca
Is there a better place to learn to line-dance than a barn? Break out your dancing boots and head to Windy Rafters Barn to learn the basics on Saturday in the immersive atmosphere of an authentic early 20th century barn. Between dancing sessions, Windy Rafters will also be offering rope making demonstrations, simulated cow milking and more.
93033C Range Rd. 250, Fort MacLeod, 403-553-2130, albertafarmdays.ca
Double-up on activities at Holmehus Antiques, located at The Farm with the Good Food. Track down a one-of-a-kind second-hand find in the two-story antique store, stocked with Scandinavian treasures and farm-focused products. After you’re done browsing the shop, head outside to tour the farm, which raises horses, pigs, hens, cattle and more.
Range Rd. 282, Red Deer County, 403-347-0516, albertafarmdays.ca
Learn all about what makes the bees buzz during a stop at Chinook Honey Company. Sample a selection of honeys, take a pollinator walk or stop in for a crash-course on honeybees on either Saturday or Sunday. If you’re looking for a different kind of buzz, Chinook Honey Company will have tastings of its award-winning mead and Just Add Alberta will be dropping by on Sunday afternoon with liquor samples.
386079 16 St. W., Okotoks, 403-995-0830, albertafarmdays.ca
Possibly the easiest way to appreciate Albertan ingredients is when they’re served on tap in a pint glass. Celebrating the abundance of brewing essentials grown in their backyard, six Alberta breweries have teamed up to create the Alberta Open Farm Days Haskollab Berry Cream Ale, a delicious team effort made all the better thanks to Haskap berries harvested from Broken Tine Orchard in northern Alberta. Along with Red Deer’s Troubled Monk Brewing, Edson’s Apex Predator Brewing, Lacombe’s Blindman Brewing, Chestermere’s Township 24 Brewery and St. Paul’s Lakeland Brewing Company, Calgary’s own Red Bison Brewery will be serving up the collaboration all weekend. Head down to Red Bison’s taproom to sample the all Albertan creation and take a tour of the facility, which includes information on how the brewery recycles their leftover grains back into animal feed.
3016 10 Ave. N.E., 587-435-6203, albertafarmdays.ca
There’s no better way to connect with what you eat than to take a tour with the people that make the food worth celebrating in the first place. With self-driving and bus tours that span multiple farms, heading out to the country is well worth the trip. Meet your rural neighbours and gain further insight into where your food is coming from with any of the number of tours, including “Re-connect to the Farm,” a four-stop tour departing just northwest of Calgary with stops at Fallentimber Meadery, Akesi Farms, Bergen Farmers’ Market and Double N Ranch.
112 Centre St., Cremona, albertafarmdays.ca