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Acting as a catalyst in a vibrant Alberta local food industry, Explore Local is a team of experts servicing the direct-to-consumer industry who assist producers and small scale processors to capitalize on the demand for local food. The team achieves this through providing timely and targeted information, training and tools that support sound business and industry decision making; building networks through opportunities for clients and stakeholders; and encouraging industry led advocacy.
The Explore Local website (www.explorelocal.ca) provides a list of all upcoming events and new and updated resources to those interested in pursuing direct to consumer opportunities.
About this Project
The Explore Local Producer Profiles project is a collection of business profiles focusing on producers operating in Alberta who sell their local food products direct to consumers through a variety of local market channels.
The first five profiles were developed as a pilot to highlight small to medium-sized producers selling direct to consumers in the Calgary region.
Following the pilot, profiles highlighting direct-to-consumer operations from other regions of the province were developed. These profiles encompass a variety of operations from urban agriculture to livestock to market gardens to processed food products. In addition, a variety of market channels were spotlighted – farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSAs), on-farm sales, etc.
Explore Local contracted Detour Photography to engage the public, celebrate local food producers and anticipate local food products available to Alberta consumers.
This collection of profiles is a tool to celebrate the success of producers selling direct to consumers and the uniqueness of their food products as well as to inform consumers about local products and local market options. Meaningful relationships between consumers and producers are built on loyalty and trust, and this project strives to encourage consumers and producers to get to know each other and create real connections. The goal of the project is to present direct-to-consumer producers in an honest, straightforward and accessible way that promotes open communication and interaction.
Explore Local anticipates that this project will grow to include direct-to-consumer producers operating in all regions of Alberta. If you are an Alberta producer who is interested in being featured, we’d love to hear from you. Get Involved!
Local Food Producer Profiles
Antelope Creek Berry Farm
Gerald and Muriel Huber run Antelope Creek Berry Farm east of Brooks, Alberta. Their focus is on producing saskatoons (4+ varieties), sour cherries and raspberries, but they also grow black currants, strawberries, and chokecherries. Their most popular U-Pick crop is definitely strawberries. Read more...
Broxburn Vegetables & Cafe
Paul and Hilda de Jonge farm eighty acres of mixed greenhouse and field crops five kilometers east of Lethbridge, along Broxburn Road. During the summer months, U-pick berries and root vegetables are visible in the fields behind their home and greenhouses. The greenhouses themselves house peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. In 2002 they renovated an existing barn to hold a produce store and café and are now open throughout the year, happy to serve you a bowl of their signature red pepper soup. Read more...
Buffalo Horn Ranch
Peter and Judy Haase run Buffalo Horn Ranch in Mountain View County, north west of Olds. They currently run 175 bison, 50 of which are bison cows. Their bison are all pure plains bison, not cross bred with wood bison, as they try to maintain pure plains bison as a species. Read more...
Erna's Berry Farm and Country Cafe
Erna Varekamp grows beautiful rows of saskatoons (two varieties) and black currants as well as rhubarb, raspberries and a few different varieties of cherries southwest of Bow Island, Alberta. Customers come to Erna's to enjoy picking their own berries in the orchard, eat delicious homemade meals that Erna herself creates in the cafe kitchen and play a round of mini golf in the extensive play area between the patio and the berries. Read more...
Frugal Bush Bunny CSA
Melanie & Grant Gallie run Frugal Bush Bunny Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), 5 minutes north of Warburg, Alberta. This is their first year running their 12 week community supported agriculture (CSA) and currently fill anywhere from 9-15 veggie boxes each week. Read more...
GreenBerry Microgreens is an urban ag operation run by Daniel and Jasmine McAllister in the heart of the Hillhurst/Sunnyside communities in Calgary. They grow 30 different varieties of microgreens including sunflowers, pea shoots and arugula. With a product that involves intensive care and intuitive cultivation skills, Daniel and Jasmine are committed growers and incredibly dedicated to their small crops. Read more...
New Oxley Garlic
Jackie Chalmers grows a large amount of garlic on a small amount of land. This year she’ll grow up to 6,000 pounds of porcelain variety garlic on around two acres of historic ranchland just west of Claresholm. Read more...
Ian Griebel and Dana Blume are third generation farmers running Redtail Farms, 3 kilometers south of Castor, Alberta. They produce grassfed and finished beef, pork and chicken on 2000 acres of pasture and sell their meat directly to consumers as quarter, half and whole animals. Read more...
Harm and Dee Schipper farm 3 miles east and 3 miles north of Bow Island. They have 480 acres of irrigated land for grains, two barns for their broiler chickens and 30,000 square feet of greenhouse where they grow microgreens, strawberries, lettuce, herbs, flowers and various other greenhouse products. Read more...
Dawn and Cameron Buschert run Shirley's Greenhouse east of Didsbury, Alberta. They offer greenhouse grown long english cucumbers, mini cucumbers, three varieties of peppers, seven varieties of tomatoes, basil, five varieties of lettuces and kale. They also grow a variety of field vegetables including carrots, potatoes, zucchini and onions. Read more...