Alberta Open Farm Days recently came and went, and Greentree Village participated for the first time.
I’d like to tell you it was the result of good planning, but it came about more as the result of a lucky accident. We had settled on August 18th as the date for our monthly Love Local Market, and one of our vendors suggested that we should register for Open Farm Days. “Open farm what?” I said in my usual alert and intelligent manner.
Well it turned out that Open Farm Days was the perfect accompaniment to the market – a chance to open up our horticultural village for tours, and get a few of the merchants involved in showcasing their work.
Once I registered, it was all-hands on deck to create a tour route, complete with barriers and directional signage. ‘Behind-the-scenes’ areas, where pallets were piled with scrap wood, old irrigation parts and assorted other sundries, had to be tidied; wild areas needed taming, and weeds required pulling. We were lucky that Tarance has spent the last two and a half years consolidating and organizing the clutter that was spread across the entire farm when we moved here, so the task wasn’t as monumental as it could have been.
It was not the warm, sunny day we had envisioned for the event – in fact it dawned dim and smoky, thanks to the awful wildfires in B.C. It was so bad on our side of the Rockies, it’s hard to imagine what it was like for those poor people in the midst of it. We lost two of our vendors first thing, due to the poor air quality, and I don’t know if it put off any potential visitors.
But in spite of all that, it was a fun, busy day. And our peahen rose to the occasion by bringing in three surprise chicks from the tree field. She must have laid the eggs out in the field, where the birds free-range, coming in to the pen just to eat. When they hatched she brought the chicks into the safety of the pen.
We had a great group of vendors for the market – and were pleased to carry on our mandate of featuring local growers, producers and artisans. Bloomfield Garden Centre brought in BC fruit for the event, and we also had a lovely selection of produce from our own Village greenhouses and fields.
Tarance started the open farm tours by taking visitors to see the Larchwood Nurseries tree fields and meet the peacocks, chickens, ducks and Huckleberry the miniature donkey. He then took them to meet Jason from the Leaf Ninjas, Jeremy from Sunshine Earth Works and Neil from Mak Farms. They each explained a little about what they do, and we hope visitors enjoyed learning about some of the ways our village merchants are helping make the world a healthier, more beautiful place.
Tarance later commented that Huckleberry the donkey was definitely the hit of the tour. Not surprising, as down at the garden centre end of the village, it was Tuck who stole the show. Tuck is a Buff Orpington bantam chick who was attacked by the other chicks and had to be separated. He is now a house-chick and thinks Ann-Marie is his Mum.
It was a lot of work for a few very short hours, but we think it was worth it! We love to introduce new people to our Village, and explain what’s going on here. So, all in all, I think we’ll definitely be registering for Alberta Open Farm Days 2019. If we didn’t see you this year, make sure you stop by next time!
In the meantime, watch this space for news of our September Love Local Market.