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Parkland County's Local Farm Trail - Alberta Open Farm Days
Parkland County - Open Farm Days - Happy Acres U Pick - The Nomadic Wife (12).jpg

Post SPONSORED BY parkland county

photography by sara jewell


 

I want my son to know where his food comes from. It may seem a little early (he’s only 5 months) but let me tell you he was 100% captivated with all the things he saw. I want him to make positive associations with his food and meet the people who labor over the crops and raise the animals that feed him.

Alberta Open Farm Days lifts the veil on the ever growing question: where does my food come from?

Parkland County’s Local Farm Trail

I had the pleasure of visiting the five farms which are part of Parkland County’s Local Farm Trail this week with my dear friend Sara and our little critters. We got to meet the owners of these farms. They welcomed us with arms wide open and gab at the ready. We learn TONS about how their operations work, what they produce and most of all, who they are as people. As men and women. As families.

Curious about farms but unsure how to plan your route for Alberta Open Farm Days?

I don’t know about you but I’m a busy gal and sometimes, I have a hard time choosing. So, instead of trying to figure it all out on your own, the lovely coordinators at Parkland County may just have the thing for you.

 

Guided Tour
When: August 18th
TIme: 9 AM - 3 PM
Where: Get all your info + tickets here

Parkland County offers a guided bus tour + lunch (which only has about 20 tickets left)

 
 

Curious about where you'll be headed?
Here are the farms you'll get to enjoy on your tour!

Parkland County - Open Farm Days - Happy Acres U Pick - The Nomadic Wife (2).jpg
 

First stop Happy Acres U-Pick

If you decide to join the guided tour, your first stop will be Happy Acres U-Pick, a darling farm nestled in on the corner of Golden Spike Road & Range Road 273. You will be greeted by Tennille with a warm breakfast and coffee. Let me just tell you, from one foodie to another, that I would be there every single day for their muffins alone if this on-farm café was my neighborhood place!

Then you'll be whisked away for a tour of the property and early access to their u-pick gardens. Everything is clearly marked off for picking. They believe that nature will take care of things, so they don't irrigate (can you believe it?) and the variety of produce available is astounding!

Don't be afraid to ask questions!

I learned quite a few things as we went through the rows of produce. Namely that peas (shelling, snow and snap) are all entirely edible, you just have to be willing to pull the stringy fiber from the pods on the shelling peas! It takes a minute, but it sure is worth the effort and it can be a fun way to get help from your kids in the kitchen. Either way, I won't be composting those shells anymore.

From the gardens, you'll be able to walk back to the red barn and get to meet some pretty fantastic farm animals. Then you'll head back to the treat center (seen above) and get ready to move on to the next farm.

 
 

on to the next farm...

Parkland County - Open Farm Days - Aspen Grove - The Nomadic Wife (19).jpg
 

Aspen Grove Nursery

There will be a whole lot happening at Aspen Grove Nursery for Open Farm Days. They will have a handmade market, a confection stand, apple tasting in their orchard and a pruning demonstration. You'll have more than enough to do while you're there, but make sure you visit the animals too! 

This place is more than an awesome looking western-movie-set inspired nursery. Each creature that resides on the farm has a story to tell (usually from rather rough beginnings). They have a farm rescue program going strong on the farm and some of the proceeds from OFD will go straight back into the animal's care! They now all live as a happy family on the farm. There's even a cow who's pretty sure it's a donkey because it was raised since it was little with them!

Want to hear a cool story while you're there? Ask about the homestead. It's one of the first houses with running water in the whole county!

 

On to the next.. 

Parkland County - Open Farm Days - Farmer Dell - The Nomadic Wife (20).jpg
 

FARmer DELL

I wanted to knit a sweater so I bought a flock of sheep - Farmer Dell

Farmer Dell (which is her middle name by the way) has to be one of the most hospitable women I've ever met. Her charm and her property will make you want to stay forever!

Here you will meet some friendly sheep and learn about the arts of spinning and weaving. She has also dug her heels (and spade) into the concepts behind permaculture. She said something which really rang true to me "I'm not a sheep farmer, I'm a soil farmer". Truth is, if you're farming for better soil, you're improving the entire chain.

Better soil means better grass + vegetables. Which in turn means better sheep + chickens. Which in turn means better manure... which you guessed it, makes better soil.

She'll be providing some hot + iced tea during the tour so be sure to pause, have a sip and bask in Farmer Dell's wisdom.

 

Epicurean lunch on the trail...

Parkland County - Open Farm Days - Jim Schoepp - The Nomadic Wife (7).jpg
 

Homegrown Foods

That's a lot of exploring for one morning! The next stop is at Home Grown Foods for an epicurean lunch in the shade (where we are standing in the above photo) using the produce and products from the farms on the Parkland County Local Farm Trail.

While you're here you'll get a little bit of the farm's history. They've been a farm family since they moved over from Austria five generations ago. Talk about having it in your blood! While we were there I even got to meet the next generation of Schoepp farmers, their daughter. She was painting trim to tidy up before farm days!

You'll also be able to experience some of their goods, like beef, bread made from their freshly ground flour, as well as their legendary soft serve ice cream! 

If you want to know more about organic farming, these are the folks you want to be asking as they were doing it long before it was "the thing to be done".

 

Last but definitely not the least...

Parkland County - Open Farm Days - Good Morning Honey - The Nomadic Wife (30).jpg
 

Good Morning Honey

I don't know about you but I've never been to a honey farm before. Of all the honey farms we could have visited I was glad it was this one. Why? Because I recently discovered Good Morning Honey through some friends (who own The Colombian Mountain Coffee).

When I tried Richard and Amber's honey for the first time I had a coming-home moment. I didn't know why, and I couldn't quite explain it but I had a rush of sticky sweet memories from my childhood. When I visited their farm, I figured out what it was all about.

They produce (among other things) clover honey. Which is what I had growing up and they jar it in its purest, simplest form. Just as nature intended.

One of the things that completely blew my mind, and that I had never really stopped to think about was how everything gets used in a honey operation. Nothing gets wasted. The wax gets seperated for candle making, the honey gets bottled up and even the pollen.. oh the divine tasting fresh pollen, gets packaged up and sold.

This, my friends, will end your tour on the sweetest possible note.

 
 

Well friends, if you're still here, I strongly suggest you get some tour tickets because I barely scratched the surface of what I learnt this week visiting these lovely folk & their farms.

 

A huge thank you to everyone involved in making this tour happen & letting me take an ever so small part in it.

The only dough you need to know: Mini Pizza Dough Buns
The only dough you need to know: Mini Pizza Dough Buns | Emilie Iggiotti Photography

Article featured in YEG Inspired Magazine | Props by Shop Hearth | PHOTOS BY EMILIE IGGIOTTI


 

The only dough you need to master

Pizza dough is the only “bread” I know how to make, but the versatility of what you can make with it is endless. I've made everything from garlic twist buns, bread sticks, flatbread to dinner rolls with this recipe! The only thing that ever changes is the oven temperature and the amount of time it bakes.

These mini buns are crusty on the outside & fluffy in the middle, which make them perfect for mopping up sauce or having with a charcuterie board if that's your thing.

 
The only dough you need to know: Mini Pizza Dough Buns | Emilie Iggiotti Photography
The only dough you need to know: Mini Pizza Dough Buns | Emilie Iggiotti Photography
 

Bread dough worth fighting over

Every time I make them, it brings me back to those days when my parents used to order in pizza and it would come with a little dough ball in the middle. It's only purpose was to keep the limpy cardboard box from touching the cheese and tasted exactly the same as the rest of the crust... but we fought over it like banshees. Ah. The good old days.

 

 
Pizza Dough Buns | Emilie Iggiotti Photography

36 mini buns

2C warm water
2t quick yeast
1t salt
1t sugar
1T olive oil
4C flour

10 min prep + 1h rise + 18 mins bake

  1. In a large mixing bowl add the warm water, sugar & salt then mix until they are dissolved.
  2. Sprinkle in yeast and wait until it becomes active, you will see it foam when it's ready.
  3. Add olive oil then the flour and knead with your hands (or a dough knife) until all the flour is incorporated.
  4. Cover tightly with shrink wrap and let the dough rise for an hour.
  5. Preheat your oven at 325.
  6. On a well floured surface, and with slightly oiled hands, dump the batter and begin to tear it into little chunks and rolling them into balls that will fit inside mini-muffin holes.
  7. Once your tray is full bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden.
  8. Serve warm with preserves & butter or as mini dinner rolls.

WANT TO TRY SOME EASY HOLIDAY DISHES? CHECK OUT THESE EASY RECIPES:

Cherry Shrub : My kind of holiday bubbly
Cherry Shrub : Holiday drink | Emilie Iggiotti Photography Edmonton

Article featured in YEG Inspired Magazine | Props by Shop Hearth | PHOTOS BY EMILIE IGGIOTTI


 

Vinegar based drink

I was introduced to shrub by a local cafe, and I can’t quite remember what fruit was used then, but it was delightful. It’s a not-too-sweet alternative to soda (if you put it in carbonated water) and while I love all things vinegar, this really isn’t as vinegar-y as it sounds.

 
Cherry Shrub : My kind of holiday bubbly
Cherry Shrub : Holiday drink recipe by The Nomadic Wife | Emilie Iggiotti Photography Edmonton
 

Bubbly without the Booze

This recipe was passed on to me by a friend, Margaret, of The Kitchen Frau blog. I had a kick of a time picking the cherries with her & some other food blogging friend last summer. She has the most beautiful Evans cherries!

For this recipe, I adjusted her original version with apple cider vinegar & you could make it with just about any berry that you like. If you wind up making far more than you need, like I did, it makes for a perfect hand-made gift to bring your favorite hostess over the holidays..

 
Cherry Shrub : Holiday drink | Emilie Iggiotti Photography Edmonton

4L of shrub, which is enough for a year.

Vinegar solution 3 parts vinegar, one part water:
2 parts apple cider vinegar
1 part white vinegar
1 part water
 

12 C fresh cherries, pitted
¼ C sugar for every cup of juice

1 week sitting + 10 min boil

  1. Place cherries in a large bowl and cover with the vinegar solution.
  2. Let sit for a at least seven days on the counter, covered.
  3. Blend and strain all the liquid with the help of a muslin or nut bag.
  4. Place liquid in a large sauce pot, along with sugar and boil for 10 minutes then seal into mason jars.
  5. To drink, place 1-2T in a jar, top up with carbonated water & enjoy.
  6. Add milk and cream into a pot over medium heat, stir constantly until it begins to simmer.

WANT TO TRY SOME EASY HOLIDAY DISHES? CHECK OUT THESE EASY RECIPES: