Our farm is located northwest of St. Albert along the south bank of Sturgeon River. This 59 acre parcel of land was once part of the Michel Indian Reserve and much of it has remained untouched. Natural forests grace more than half of the farm. Low flood plains make up 12 acres of the cleared land and have been left in native pasture. The high land is used for hay and food production. The soil here is a well drained, rich, black, sandy loam.
Our focus is to cultivate this land and manage the forest using low impact, sustainable methods of production so as to maintain it as a natural area for future generations.
It is our desire to continue to grow healthy, life giving food here while maintaining the family farm values and conserving the soil, forest and wildlife. We delight in providing a peaceful place and opportunities for others to also enjoy the pleasures of the country.
How do we do it?
Our production methods encompass low impact farming techniques. We allow only light equipment on the land so as to reduce soil compaction. The tilling is usually done only in the spring to prepare the seed beds; weed management is accomplished by hand weeding and hoeing. The weeds and some garden waste are composted. We also feed the garden waste to pigs and chickens who delight in the organic veggies. We rotate the crops within the garden, employ companion planting methods and the rest the land regularly.
Green manure cover crops are used to prevent soil erosion on unused land. This also rebuilds soil fertility and organic matter content. We select old, proven seed varieties or open pollinated whenever possible. No chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides have been applied to this land since we started farming in 1993. We occasionally apply kelp concentrates as foliar spray to encourage plant growth. Extensive use of floating row covers has lengthened our growing season and has protected seedling from bird and insect damage. Pest control is also accomplished using cayenne pepper, pyrethrin and BT.
With opportunities to work alongside us in the garden, the share families get to observe, know and trust our growing practices. Their approval of our production methods renders Organic Certification unnecessary.