Hundreds of people gathered for their first taste of fall during Open Farm Days at Chatsworth Farm near Vermilion on August 19.
“Farm life is not something a lot of people have the opportunity to experience, so being able to showcase it is really special,” said Event Manager, Charlotte Wasylik. “This was our fourth year hosting Alberta Open Farm Days, and we really appreciate all of the volunteers, vendors, as well as all of the local and far-reaching visitors. Approximately 250 people attended the guided farm tours.”
Artisan market vendors featured items from beer to handmade soap, pottery, honey, flowers, and various baking items. Interactive, hands-on activities included a veterinarian showing people how to pull a calf, flour grinding, and a bouncy combine for the children. There was a seed planting station, and even a book signing with a master gardener from Calgary. Mallory Chipman, a singer/songwriter from Edmonton, performed live music, and a barbecue lunch (including hotdogs and flour from the farm) was a complete sell-out. There were also machinery demos, but many people’s favourite part was checking out all of the different animals.
Owner, Rick Wasylik, said he had purchased artisanal mill stones at an auction sale. They are operated by hand, and he felt it was a good find, because many of them are broken. Pouring the wheat in the top, he rotates the top stone, and as it turns, the wheat berries are ground into wheat flour.
Travellers from as far as Saskatoon, Calgary, Red Deer, Daysland, Camrose and Edmonton had the opportunity to check out what living off the land is all about.
The Red Brick offered a variety of hot and cold drinks, and owner Emily Ford said, “Chatsworth Farm always does a great job of promoting and is provincially recognized. This was a great opportunity to support farmers and local artists.”
13-Year-old, Isabelle Jacula with J6 Baking from Dewberry has been in business for the past couple years and shared decorative cupcakes, and said she returned as a vendor this year because it’s a great way of meeting new people. Being a youth entrepreneur, she said, “Trying to get myself out there is the biggest challenge, but the best part is that everything’s fun when you are doing something you like.”
Monica’s Jam & Jellies from Edmonton said the environment was stimulating with everything being lush and green, and being amongst the visiting and live music.
“Being able to establish relationships and gain support from the other vendors is really valuable. I believe there’s space for everyone at a market, and everyone’s craft is unique to them,” said Monica.
Also from Edmonton was Smithstine Copper who had attended a tour of Chatsworth Farm - Open Farm Days in the past, and opted to come back this year as a vendor. She was able to share her copper jewellery designs; all sawed out by hand, stamped, etched, and some even enameled.
Tansy Spyker, a friend of a friend of the Wasylik family, has lived in the city for the past nine years and commented on how nice it was to get back out to rural Alberta.
“This just proves how much I miss it. I love the sense of community, and how amazing the food, produce, and really cool products are. I’m glad I was introduced to all of this, and hope even more people can check it out next year,” said Spyker.