10th edition of Alberta Open Farm Days starts today

This weekend more than 115 farms across the province will open their gates and welcome visitors as part of the 10th instalment of Alberta Open Farm Days

One of those farms taking part in the two-day agri-tourism event is run by the Trigg family.

Laurie and husband Chad started Backwoods Buffalo Ranch near Mayerthorpe, located about 150 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, about a decade ago when they were in their early 20s.

“We worked super hard to have this as our own,” Laurie says.

The Métis family are first generation bison and pork producers and the name of the ranch ties back to their family’s heritage.

‘They’re such a majestic animal’

2 days ago

Duration 2:25

Tag along on a tour of one of the spots taking part in Alberta Open Farm Days, Backwoods Buffalo Ranch, northwest of Edmonton, Alta.

You can see more on Alberta Open Farm Days this week on Our Edmonton Saturday at 10 a.m., Sunday and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV and CBC Gem. 

“Because we’re an Indigenous family that’s the term [buffalo] we prefer,” Laurie says. 

“It goes with our heritage and who we are as people.”

Laurie says the best part of the event is visitor reactions to the bison on the behind-the-scenes wagon rides. 

“You get up beside them and their heads are like this big, they’re massive right, it’s pretty incredible.”

This herd is often the big draw for Open Farm Days visitors to Backwoods Buffalo Ranch, near Mayerthorpe, Alta. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

The family also raises goats, chickens, ducks and have an onsite farm store. This weekend they’re giving farm tours, offering demonstrations and hosting a charity pig roast with proceeds going to the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Elk, wild boar and longhorn beef are also a huge draw to the Wild Ventures Game Farm, located about 130 kilometres north of Edmonton near Wildwood, Alta. 

Jackie Veldhouse says this is the first time they will take part in the event. 

“The world has changed so much and we have to change with it, and this is an opportunity to help our farm,” says Veldhouse who’s kids are now the fourth generation on the land.

The longhorns are a big draw to Wild Ventures Game Farm near Wildwood, Alta. (Submitted by Wild Ventures Game Farm)

Since launching in 2012 with just 46 locations, the event has registered more than $1 million in total sales with close to 150,000 farm visits. 

Today, Alberta wineries and distilleries, vegetable, hemp and garlic farms and ranches for horses, yaks, alpacas and sheep are all among the host locations.

“It’s unbelievable actually the talent and the availability of what we have right here in our own backyard,” says Veldhouse. 

All sorts of animals to be found on Chatsworth Farm near Vermilion, Alta. (Submitted by Chatsworth Farm )

Chatsworth Farm, located about 200 kilometres east of Edmonton near Vermilion, is expecting more than 200 people today.

“Each year it’s grown,” says the farm’s Charlotte Wasylik.

“We have our livestock tours, we have a small market and machinery demonstrations and each year we’ve grown and we’ve added different elements.”

Wasylik says it’s a chance to share their passion, pride and meet customers directly.

“More and more people are living in the city and they want to build a connection with where their food comes from.”

Admission to the farms is free but there may be a cost for some activities and many are cash only and some require booking before you arrive.

Locally grown food and the people who produce it is at the heart of the 10th Alberta Open Farm Days taking place across the province this weekend. (Rick Bremness/CBC)

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