We had planned to go to Innisfail in central Alberta to see an Asparagus farm and we did it yesterday. The weather has been miserable in the past 2 weeks, I would say, continuously pissing but we wanted to go anyways especially because I checked Weather Network and realized that unlike Calgary, Innisfail was only cloudy with chances of light rain in the afternoon.
So we left the city around 11:00 hours with the hope to reach there by 12:00 or 12:15 hours at the most. It was rainy, cloudy, sunny every few kilometers of the Queen Elizabeth Highway but it was so beautiful too. It around 12:05 we finally exited the highway from number 365 but I guess I took the next road by mistake and that cost us at least extra half an hour! That's why having a G. P. S. is very good for the road trips.
Anyhow we got there when there was a light rain and we paid the admission which I had known from their website but later was a bit unfair but I'm not too concerned about that.
There was a good crowd over there but it was obvious that the weather has a huge affect on the festival. Picking was not available but we walked to Asparagus field under the light rain and it was beautiful. There was a lady over there, an old Dutch lady who was volunteer and welcomed us. Seemed that parts of the field had been harvested and the other parts were being done on the day. I had assumed that the Asparagus would be picked by simply walking on the field, cutting them and putting them in a bucket but the system is more advanced. The Farm had hired temporary Mexican workers and they would ride a kind of small rover, driving between the lines, picking the vegetables up and putting them in the provided baskets. It's much faster and if rains, the workers do not have to walk in the mud and under rain. It's interesting to know how much the Farm pays these poor guy. There's no doubt that's a win-win situation. The Farm gets the harvest done and supplies the market and the Gringo gets a few hundred dollars in their pocket after traveling more than 4500 Km! We were encouraged to walk beside the row of Asparagus, pick a few by snapping on the side and try them. We picked a few and it was not bad. I had tried steamed ones at home and liked them. Here there were raw and still edible but a bit sandy.
The rain became heavier so the lady left us on our own to take as many photos we want and eat as many pieces we like! We always thought the the thin Asparagus is better than the fat ones. Fat sounded old to us but on the field we actually realized that there is no difference and in fact the fat ones are a bit tastier and juicer. So if definitely is a mist to pick the thin ones at a supermarket.
We knew the Farm had Angus Beef and we could see them from there in the woods. So we walked up to them to have a closer look. All the cattle and calf were gazing at us and as soon as we got a bit closer, they started departing. A row of barbed wire and fence was separating them from us and there was no gate. So we could not get any closer and I don't think the owner would have liked it, if we had done it.
At the time we were almost soaked but it was fun and we walked back to main building while passing by a Rhubarb field on our way. It looked like Zucchini in the first glance but the sign said something we had not known. The leaves are quiet similar. Rhubarb is one of the vegetables that you see them here a lot compare to what we use in the old country. They even make pie out of it. We male a sort of stew which is sour and tasty. In the main gathering area people were busy with different things and in places like these kids are the happiest. We wanted to pick some Green Peas but we were told they would be available in July and then we asked about fresh Beef and realized recently frozen is only available. We bought two packs of frozen Angus Beef, one Short Rib and another one which I don't recall. We'll make them soon to see how different they are from the Beef purchased from supermarkets. After adding a pack of Asparagus to our basket we realized we had better be gone before we catch cold or anything like that.
Overall it was a fun experience and would have been much better if the sun had been shining and we could pick what we wanted but things do not go the way you want them all the time! There are so many other exciting things to discover in the world!
(Photo: Asparagus on the field. The distances between the pieces is more than what I imagined. The green stuff you see is a kind of weed which was called by the Dutch lady but I forgot and it's not so important but it's important for the owner because it's weed!)