A Red Deer hop farm will be one of many locations showing off their land next weekend for Alberta’s Open Farm Days.
Hard Hels Hops, located in the east end of the city on Range Road 270, will serve food and beer from Red Hart Brewing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15.
Colin Smith and his wife Jaclyn started the farm in 2018 – this is their first time participating in Open Farm Days.
“We’ve put a lot of love and time into our hop yard and what we have here. It’s very exciting to show it off to the public,” said Colin Smith, adding there will be tours and a treasure hunt throughout the day for children.
Growing hops was a perfect fit for the Smiths, Colin added.
“My wife and I like beer, we like going to breweries. This was a way that we could get into the industry,” he said.
“Also we like growing stuff – my wife and I both come from farming backgrounds. This land is my father-in-law’s land, so it’s surrounded by all his grain farming. This was a way for us to get back into the farming world and get into the beer industry.”
Open Farm Days will take place on Aug. 15-16, with about 80 different host farms across Alberta opening their doors to offer open houses, local food experiences, tours and more, the Government of Alberta said in a statement.
Tim Carson, Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies CEO, said Open Farm Days gives Albertans the chance to experience the “innovations in agriculture and the care and stewardship these amazing farmers have to feed the world.
“Open Farm Days is also the perfect excuse to travel throughout Alberta’s rural communities and experience the beautiful landscape and unique local culture that is Alberta,” said Carson.
“Although 2020 is a very unique time, the Open Farm Days hosts are ready to greet you and your family into a friendly and safe environment full of wonder and excitement you won’t soon forget.”
Participating organizers and host farms are working together to ensure Open Farm Days follow all current public health orders and guidance. New safety measures are being introduced this year, including enhanced cleaning protocols and an online booking system to help host farms schedule and manage the number of visitors at the venue.
Due to event gathering restrictions and space limitations, Albertans who plan to visit a host farm are required to book their spot online ahead of time.
Visitors can visit www.albertafarmdays.ca to browse this year’s offerings and book the experiences best-suited to them.
Admission to farms is free, but there may be costs for some activities and many are cash only. It is recommended that visitors bring a cooler to store produce and other products.
Alberta Open Farms Days is a collaborative project presented by the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Travel Alberta and participating farms and ranches.