Local residents looking for a unique experience will have the opportunity to visit farms and ranches throughout Lacombe County during Alberta Open Farm Days later this month.
Farms and ranches across the province will open their doors to those who want a behind the scenes look at where their food comes from and to see a variety of farm activities.
In Lacombe County seven farms, ranches or agriculture tourism locations will be open to visitors on Aug. 23rd.
“Farms and ranches are a critical part of our province and our culture and they supply many necessities of life,” said Minister of Culture and Tourism David Eggen. “With Open Farm Days, these farms and ranches are able to showcase themselves as a new type of tourist destination. This is a fantastic way for Albertans to experience a side of Alberta they may not have seen up close.”
Executive Director of Lacombe Regional Tourism Marie Peron said the number of participating farms in the area has grown from last year. “We are really excited for this year,” she said. “We have a new variety in addition to the staples from last year.”
The area covered during Open Farm Days spans from Bentley and Gull Lake to east of Lacombe.
“We have a larger foot print for sure,” said Peron. “You can visit a variety of farms all free of charge. It’s a different way for many to have a farm experience and have a firsthand opportunity to go out in nature and see what agriculture is all about.”
This year the locations featured on the tour include gardens and greenhouses, machinery and tractor displays along with the returning Lacombe Blacksmith Shop Museum and Ellis Bird Farm.
“They are also hosting a culinary event to raise awareness of local food in conjunction with the teahouse,” said Peron.
Flying Cross Ranch, located just five minutes outside Lacombe, is also returning as a participant this year.
“They are really stepping it up a notch with a country-style market with local artisans,” said Peron.
The Old Tyme Country Fair also features roping demonstrations and a petting zoo.
“This is a great time of year for a rural adventure at our province’s farms, ranches and wineries,” said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier. “It is great to see those from our province’s urban centres venturing out to the countryside and learning more about the many different aspects of agricultural life.”
Participating locations in the Lacombe area include Bles Wold Dairy, Ellis Bird Farm, Flying Cross Ranch, Garry Peterson, the Lacombe Blacksmith Shop Museum, Hidden Valley Garden and Little Cherries on the Prairie.
Admission to the farms is free but some locations may charge for additional activities.
Last year, 61 host farms participated in Alberta Open Farm Days.
For more information about Open Farm Days, visit www.albertafarmdays.com.