Explore Alberta: How To Make The Most of Open Farm Days 2016 (Preview)

(Photo above: getting an urban farm tour at Lactuca Farm Northlands during the Grand Taste Tour in July!) 

I’m super excited for the weekend (August 20 + 21) – when farms and ranches across Alberta open up to the public for the fourth annual Alberta Open Farm Days 2016

Alberta Open Farm Days is like a big open house for the province’s farms.

It gives Albertans the easy (and for the most part – FREE!) opportunity to visit local farms and get a better understanding of where their food comes from.

Grand Taste Tour 124 Grand Market Farms

Open Farm Days weekend is a great one for a farm-to-table dinner!

I’ve been fortunate enough to go on a few different farm tours over the last couple years (most recently I went on the 124 Street Grand Taste Tour which was fantastic, photos from that tour are in this post), and last year I got to eat at Northlands’ Urban Farm (Lactuca) as part of Open Farm Days 2015!

I love heading out of the city and visiting these farms – learning about how they operate, seeing how much the farmers, ranchers, and producers care about their animals/produce, hearing of their incredible challenges, and ultimately coming away with a better understanding of where our food comes from and all that goes into getting it to our plates.

I’d encourage you to do the same!

There’s nearly 100 farms across the province doing some type of programming (and samples) throughout the day Saturday or Sunday for Alberta Open Farm Days and here are some of my tips on how to make the most of the weekend (and where I think you should go!)

3 Tips To Make The Most Out of Alberta Open Farm Days

Alberta Open Farm Days - Map

So many farms – so little time! Make a weekend out of it on August 20 + 21, 2016.

1. Use the Open Farm Days website to plan your route

Alberta Open Farm Days’ website makes it really easy to plan out your farm tour route and if you want to make the most (see the most, learn the most) from your farm weekend, you absolutely need to do a bit of advance planning.

Research by type of farm and type of activities offered, by farm experience or culinary experience (hint: culinary experiences generally cost more), and be sure to note days and times for the different activities. Most of the free activities in the Edmonton area take place on Sunday so that’s probably your best bet, but there are a few activities on Saturday that I’ll be taking in!

After you’ve selected a few places, put it into the Plan Your Route page and get directions to and from each place. Factor in how long it will take to drive to and from each place and give yourself about an hour at each location.

2. Come curious and ask lots of questions! 

I find farmers and producers are always up to share their stories and answer your questions so don’t be shy in asking!

Some of the farm visits will feature guided tours and demonstrations, while others will be more self-guided. (Pay attention to the farm experience descriptions to know what to expect).

Either way, when you’re at the farm, be sure to take that opportunity to ask why and how because you don’t get this type of access to the province’s farmers often so be sure to take advantage.

Also consider tweeting what you learn!

Share the knowledge with everyone by tagging @OpenFarmDays and #OpenFarmDays.

3. Bring your camera and document the country adventure

If you didn’t take pictures of something, did it actually happen?

Ha, but seriously, I know my country / farm experiences are few and far between so whenever I get the opportunity, I snap away!

Open Farm Days is great for all ages – whether you go with friends, partners, or families – and considering all the different activities being offered (and the sure-to-be scenic settings) you’re bound to get some lovely photos.

Checking out livestock, doing tours, tastings, and getting food samples,

I’ve been pushing Alberta staycations and weekend getaways all summer and Open Farm Days is a perfect one.

Be sure to capture it!

Grand Taste Tour 124 Grand Market Farms

Come see the cows!

Edmonton-area Open Farm Days destinations

To save you some clicking/planning, I’ve highlighted some of the Edmonton-area farm tours available below!

Saturday, August 20, 2016 

  • Babas & Borscht Ukrainian Festival | Andrew, Alberta | 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | FREE
    • Zabava Banquet | 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. | $50/person advance ticket
  • Flying Cross Ranch | Lacombe, Alberta | ‘Field to Fork/Night of the Cowboy’ Dinner | 6 p.m. | $25/person
  • Heritage Agricultural Society: Corn Festival | Stony Plain, Alberta | 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | FREE
  • The Farmer’s Table | Thorsby, Alberta | 4 p.m. | $95/person
  • Winfield & District Ag Society | Prairie to Plate Dinner | 5 p.m. | $30/person

Sunday, August 21, 2016 

  • Vesta Gardens | Thorhild, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | FREE
  • Banack’s Homestead | Roundhill, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Barr Estate Winery | Sherwood Park, Alberta | 10 am. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Big Rig Craft Distillery | Nisku, Alberta | 12 p.m to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Bles Wold Dairy | Lacombe, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | FREE
  • Cajun Angus | Bon Accord, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.| FREE
  • Crooked Lake Farm | Wetaskiwin, Alberta | 1 p.m .to 4 p.m. | FREE
  • Ellis Bird Farm | Lacombe County, Alberta | 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Flying Cross Ranch | Lacombe, Alberta | 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Gatekeeper Farm | Camrose, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. | FREE
  • Gold Forest Grains | Sturgeon County, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. | FREE
  • High Field Farm | Lacombe, Alberta | 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Horse Hill Berry Farm | Edmonton, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | FREE
  • Horse Sense Training and Petting Zoo | St. Albert, Alberta | 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Irvings Farm Fresh | Round Hill, Alberta | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | FREE
  • James Schoepp Homegrown Foods | Stony Plain, Alberta | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | FREE
  • Kiwi Nurseries | Spruce Grove, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | FREE
  • Lacombe Blacksmith Shop | Lacombe, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | FREE
  • Midmore Farms | Morinville, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Newman Country Retreat Farm | Carvel, Alberta | 10 a.m .to 4 p.m. | FREE
  • Northlands Agricultural Society | Edmonton, Alberta | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
    • Prairie to Plate Dinner | 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. | $86/person
  • Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm | Sturgeon County, Alberta | 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. | FREE
    • Fire Roasters Longtable Dinner (6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – $149/person)
  • Reclaim Urban Farm | Edmonton, Alberta | 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. tours, 12 p.m. lunch | FREE
  • Sunnie Valley Farm | Westlock, Alberta | 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Tipi Creek Farm | Villeneuve, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | FREE
  • Triple Lyoness Farm | Dapp, Alberta | 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
  • Vesta Gardens | Thorhild, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | FREE
    • Farmed and Foraged Tea | 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | $40/person
  • Wild Country Gardens | Wildwood, Alberta | 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. | FREE

You can see just how much is going to be happening out on Alberta farms this weekend (and that list above only represents some of the Edmonton-area ones within an hour-driving distance!)

There are also a bunch more activities taking place throughout the rest of the province.

Grand Taste Tour 124 Grand Market Farms

That sweet country air.

So, will you be taking part in this year’s Alberta Open Farm Days?

Decided where to go yet?

Tweet me or leave a comment below.

Also follow along this weekend as I share my farm day adventures on social media!


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Disclaimer: I am partnering with Travel Alberta to help promote the 2016 Alberta Open Farm Days. This does not impact the opinions stated in this post! 

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