September 20: Alberni Valley Family Farms Day

Posted by Heather Shobe on September 15, 2015

The Alberni Valley welcomes you to the 5th annual Family Farms Day – Sunday, September 20th 11AM to 3PM.

This free, self-guided tour features 8 farms in the Alberni Valley. Participating farms include a 30 acre mixed operation farm, permaculture homestead, mixed vegetable CSA, water buffalo dairy, community garden, winery & more! There will be local recipe books available, activities for children, farm tours and a sampling of local farm fresh products to purchase.

This year’s participating farms include:

Bowl of Colorful Fall Harvest

Leda Organic Farm
Gary, Jaqueline & Louis Swann
4361 Batty Road

We have been growing organically since 1976. We are a mixed farm with an emphasis on vegetable growing. Jacquie does the flowers, food preparation and seed saving. Gary does most of the vegetable and fruit growing. Louis does the Highland cattle (4 in the herd), chickens (11 hens and 1 rooster in the flock), fruit production, pruning, and wine and beer making. Weather providing, he makes maple syrup in late winter. For the last 10 years, Gary and Louis have been practicing bio-dynamic techniques.

Gary will give tours of the compost program. Louis will give tours of the garden. Jacquie will sell produce fresh from the garden.

naesgards_FFD_pic1Naesgaard’s Farm and Market
Naesgaard Family
5681 River Road

Naesgaard’s began as a family farm on McCoy Lake Road, with a small seasonal roadside market, about 50 years ago. Over the years Naesgaard’s has grown to include approximately 35 intensely cultivated acres in several locations as well as a busy market on River Road which operates from early March to Christmas each year. The second and third generations of the Naesgaard family now produce a succession of delicious strawberries, peas, potatoes, beans, carrots, dill cukes, corn, pumpkins and squash from June to October. Nobody knows more about the joy of farming in the Alberni Valley than the Naesgaard’s!

Take a walk through the fields adjacent to the Farm Market to observe the crops. Enjoy the fall decor and displays inside the greenhouse and Market. Learn about interesting herbs and produce. Sample veggies grown on the Naesgaard Farm. A selection of products from the Market’s Garden Centre and the Fashion Boutique will be discounted for the day.

arrowvale_pic1Arrowvale Farm
Bob & Ann Collins
5955 Hector Road

Ann & Bob Collins have farmed in the Valley since 1980. Their 68 acre property along the Somass River is blessed with fertile soil and ample water. For the past 16 years they have grown all their market garden produce without the use of pesticides or herbicides. Their beef cattle are raised without hormones and are only given antibiotics when needed. In addition, they raise purebred Canadian horses and keep goats and donkeys. Collins Farm is also home to beautiful Arrowvale Campground and Cottages.

Learn more about the issues facing small family farms and the alarming disappearance of nutritious, locally produced food. Take a guided tour of the barns and gardens, watch a spinning and weaving demonstration or enjoy a farm tour hay ride. See the baby chicks and feed the goats and donkeys at the petting farm. Buy a bowl of homemade chili or an ice cream cone, muffin, or piece of pie at the farm store while you enjoy live music and relax on the patio. Purchase frozen grass fed beef, Natural Pastures cheeses, jams, jellies, syrups or other farm fresh products to take home. Hay rides will take about 20 minutes. Maximum 20 people per ride. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

chase_FFD_pic1Chase and Warren Estate Winery
Vaughan & Joanne Chase
6253 Drinkwater Road

The 35 acre Chase and Warren Estate Winery is situated on a southwest facing slope that lends itself admirably to the growing of grapes. However, developing a winery is a huge undertaking. In order to establish exactly which varieties would mature most successfully in the Alberni Valley, 40 different varieties of grapes have been planted, since the Chase’s planted their first vine in 1996. Also, innumerable test batches of wine have been produced to try out the taste of these numerous varieties. The first bottle of wine was sold in 2003 and their wine is now available in beer and wine stores across Vancouver Island. Their aim is to produce wines of good value that are reflective of the Alberni Valley’s rich natural surroundings and to offer a personal connection to the folks who visit them.

Take a short guided tour through the vineyards with the grapes hanging lush and heavy on the vines just waiting for harvest. Learn about the challenges and joys of farming grapes and owning and running a winery. Enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valley. Wine is available for purchase at the on-site tasting room tasting room and wine store.

045Coleman Meadows Farm
Russell, Jennifer & Edward Dyson
6670 Coleman Road

Coleman Meadows Farm is located on Coleman Road – the road to the airport! The farm has gorgeous views looking onto the Beaufort Range, Mount Arrowsmith, Mount Klitsa and the Comox Glacier. The farm is central within the Alberni Valley – the best kept agricultural secret on Vancouver Island! This farm is 170 acres and is a mix of gardens, forage, pasture, forest and streams supporting Coho salmon. Russell, Jennifer and Edward take pride in balancing productive agriculture with the protection of the environment, and animal husbandry (buffalo love). They manage an additional 200 acres throughout the Alberni Valley that includes a portion of the Somass Estuary. Coleman Meadows is home to one of only 3 water buffalo herds in BC – all located on Vancouver Island. The water buffalo produce milk for Natural Pastures Cheese Company and we have on farm lean 100% grass fed water buffalo meats and cheese for sale. Water buffalo milk contains more calcium and more protein than cow’s milk, high levels of tocopherol — a natural antioxidant — but less cholesterol, making it a healthy alternative. The meat and milk from our herd comes from grass fed water buffalo which also means high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Currently the products produced from 100% water buffalo milk by Natural Pastures, include mozzarella di bufala, bocconcini, brie, cream cheese, paneer and yogurt. New products are being tested and we hope to have some great new water buffalo treats in the future…

Russell, Jennifer and Edward invite you to come to our farm and view our herd, tour the milk parlour and wander through our farm stand where we will have available for sale our water buffalo cheeses, sausages and beef.

DryCreek_FFD_pic2Dry Creek Community Gardens
Young Professionals of the Alberni Valley, Janette Cormier-Project Manager
4th Avenue and Napier Street

The Dry Creek Community Garden is just completing it’s first summer season! It is a great model of a successful community effort, led by the Young Professionals of Port Alberni and supported by the City of Port Alberni, to establish and maintain a community garden. The space includes co-operative and individual growing plots with both perennial and annual plants. Organically grown food and medicinal plants are produced here on a space which also encourages skill sharing and community engagement.

Learn about starting and running a successful community project. Join Janette at 1pm for an Oregon Grape Tincture making workshop or take a garden tour throughout the day.

Kat_FFD_picKat Belisle
5671 Chapman Road

We are a small family running a small farm just outside of Port Alberni at the entrance to the Beaver Creek district. Having moved to our property last year, our farm is in the in the exciting stages of beginner growth. We have newly planted fruit trees, berries and other perennials that are just beginning to nestle in their roots. Our veggie field and small green house were built with lasagna style, mulch layer beds and are producing bountiful, nutritious and delicious crops. This year we are growing a mixture of veggies, berries, and medicinal herbs, as well as laying the foundation for bee hives and fruit and nut tree production for years to come.

Please join our family for a tour of our farm and see how much can be done on an acre of space! There will be plenty of garlic, winter squash, greens and a selection of other root vegetables available.

veggiegarden-how-to-grow-your-own-vegetables-and-recipesHealthy Harvest Farm
Canadian Mental Health Association — Anna Lewis & Charles Thomas, Coordinators
4890 Beaver Creek Road, across from the Co-op

Healthy Harvest Farm is run by the Canadian Mental Health Association. The purpose of the farm is to provide a supportive, low stress, work environment for those affected by a mental illness. Healthy Harvest utilizes organic growing practices, following the biodynamic calendar whenever possible. They grow an assortment of vegetables and herbs which they sell through their farm stand on Beaver Creek Road, or distribute through a food box program ranging in size for the veggie loving single person to the family sized box as well as offering a weekly email list of what’s available for preorders to the local public and restaurants.

We invite you to come and see our gardens and huge greenhouse. There is limited parking onsite and an assortment of veggies and herbs will be available for sale. The Tofino Food Initiative will be personning a table onsite to inform people of some of the exciting initiatives that are occurring on the west coast.

All in all, the farm tour offers something for everyone!  This year we are excited to welcome the Dry Creek Community Garden and a new small organic farm. Small growers and community initiatives are important pieces in the food security and agricultural production puzzle. A big thank you to all our yourforkparticipating farms and all of our community members who make it out to support them and experience what our valley’s farmland has to offer.

The Family Farm Day brochure and map can be found online at  Check on the “ACRD What’s on Your Fork?” FB site for potential carpooling/ridesharing options.