Open Farm Days At Chatsworth Farm
Valerie Roberts with Old School Cheesery selling dairy products at Chatsworth Farm.
Photos Elaina John
On August 15, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chatsworth Farm participated in Alberta Open Farm Days, an open house event initiated by the province to increase farm visitation, on-farm sales, and give visitors a chance to understand where their food comes from.
Chatsworth Farm is a first-generation farm begun by Rick and Johanna Wasylik, whose children, Charlotte, Alex, and Nick work on the farm and operated much of the guided tour. The family also had seven friends helping around the farm during the tour.
Chatsworth Open Farm Days consisted of a guided tour of the home half-section of the farm and its diverse selection of livestock and crops.
Alex Wasylik guided the cattle portion of the tour, and Charlotte Wasylik took over to tour visitors around chicks, laying hens, sheep, broilers and turkeys, ducks, geese, and their heritage tom turkey. Nick Wasylik operated machinery during demonstrations.
Above: A flock of sheep.
Six kittens wandered around the farm, and during the tour, Lizzy the guard dog was tied up for safety. However, Lizzy typically roams freely around the farm.
In addition, Johanna Wasylik gave tours of the garden, and visitors could view the greenhouse.
Each portion of the tour had a station which displayed various equipment and tools used on the farm, and had hand sanitizer available for visitors.
Chatsworth Farm has more than 450 head of cattle, of which only a handful remain on pasture by the farm during the summer to avoid overcrowding. Laying hens are kept in a coop until noon to ensure all eggs are accounted for and then have the run of the farmyard, while the ducks, geese, the turkey, and sheep on occasion, are free-run all day.
Tours at Chatsworth were under a registration system due to COVID-19. Tours were booked by the hour, and each hour was limited to 35 visitors at a time to allow for social distancing and to give each visitor a chance to take in each stop on the tour. Chatsworth Farm had visitors from as far away as Edmonton.
“I’m very excited about how many visitors we had register,” Charlotte Wasylik commented. Chatsworth Farm had over 160 people register to visit as of Saturday
Above: Charlotte Wasylik holding a two-day old chick.
Wasylik also expressed gratitude for all the extra helpers they had for the day, and their sponsors, which included the Cornerstone Co-op, Main Street Hardware, Vermilion Credit Union, and Webb’s Machinery.
In addition, the Old School Cheesery had products for sale alongside the Chatsworth Farm pop-up shop, which offered beef, lamb, garden vegetables, and free-range eggs.