The 10th Annual Alberta Open Farm Days Begins Today

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

One of these farms participating in the two-day agritourism event is run by the Trigg family.

Laurie and her husband Chad started Backwoods Buffalo Ranch near Mayerthorpe, about 150 kilometers northwest of Edmonton, about ten years ago when they were in their early twenties.

“We worked very hard to make this ours,” says Laurie.

The Métis family are first generation bison and pork producers and the name of the ranch is tied to their family heritage.

“He’s such a majestic animal”

Join a tour of one of the sites participating in Alberta Open Farm Days, Backwoods Buffalo Ranch, northwest of Edmonton, Alberta.

You can catch more of the 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 are an aboriginal family, that’s the term [buffalo] we prefer,” says Laurie.

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

Laurie says the best part of the event is the visitors’ reaction to the bison on the wagon rides behind the scenes.

“You stand up next to them and their heads are like that, they’re huge, it’s pretty unbelievable.”

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

The family also raises goats, chickens, ducks and has an on-site farm shop. This weekend they are hosting farm tours, offering demonstrations and hosting a charity pig roast with proceeds going to Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Elk, wild boar and longhorn ox are also a huge draw for the Wild Ventures Game Farmlocated approximately 130 kilometers north of Edmonton, near Wildwood, Alberta.

Jackie Veldhouse says this is their first time at 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, whose children are now the fourth generation on the land.

Longhorns are a big draw for Wild Ventures Game Farm near Wildwood, Alberta. (Submitted by Wild Ventures Game Farm)

Since launching in 2012 with just 46 locations, the event has seen over $1 million in total sales with nearly 150,000 farm visits.

Today, Alberta wineries and distilleries, vegetable, hemp and garlic farms and ranches for horses, yaks, alpacas and sheep are all part of the hospitality venues.

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

All kinds of animals can be found at Chatsworth Farm near Vermilion, Alberta. (Submitted by Chatsworth Farm)

Chatsworth Farmlocated about 200 kilometers east of Edmonton near Vermilion, expects over 200 people today.

“Every year it grows,” says the farm’s Charlotte Wasylik.

“We have our breeding tours, we have a small market and machine demonstrations and every year we have grown and added different elements.”

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

“More and more people live in cities and want to make a connection to where their food comes from.”

Admission to the farms is free, but some activities may require a fee and many are cash only and some require booking prior to arrival.

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

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