Sunday, August 02, 2015

Farm Day

We turned this first day of Aug. to Farm Day by going to different farms around Highway # 22 or Cowboy Trail in north of Highway # 1. I had visited the road once but this time I was better familiar, as well we had destinations. The only problem this time was that I didn't have my T5 available to me because of what had happened on the way to Floe Lake, the day before.
Our plan was to hit the road in a way to reach the community of Bergen and see Bergen Farmers' Market but the road was longer than what we had expected and we reached there by about 10:45 which was fine. Bergen which has the same name as the Norwegian city in the east part of that country and is be one of the cities that I will visit, hopefully soon, is a very small community close to the Town of Sundre but the farmer's market of it is even smaller! 
The Lady was a little disappointed because there were not more than probably 10 merchants putting up their tents beside Bergen Community Hall. However we bought a jar of non-pasteurized Honey for $10, some Beets, a bag of supposedly Organic Peaches (they tasted good), a small bag of Basil which an old lady said she grew in her garden, a loaf of Bread from the same lady and she claimed she had cooked it and it tasted very good (no sugar) for $5 and I guess that was it. There were cookies, other baked goods, Pork and a few other stuff and for someone who lives in the surrounding area, it's not a bad trip to make but for Calgarians not worth the trip unless it's on their way or they go to one of other attractions of Cowboy Trail. The prices are very high. I guess because these people have their little market, they try to use the best of it but their good are really top quality, I would say, except for the guy who sold the Peaches and Beats to us. The Peaches had those small stickers to them, meaning he had purchased them from somewhere (most likely B. C.) and re-sold them to us. He had Garlic cloves for $2 each! He was very polite and also good at what he was doing. He explained about his produce in a very convincing manner.
This old style scale reminded me of my Grandfather. He used to run a small grocery store in the heart of Tehran Bazzar. He died almost 20 years ago. I had been to his small store which was not as popular in the last years any more but during the War year he was there with my Dad, my uncle and myself helping him distributing essential goods that you only could purchased to a certain level using special Coupons. It was more like of a hobby for him in those year as didn't bring much money to home. It's a very long story and lots of memories which has no place here. 
I almost forgot to say that we also bought a small bag of Green Peas and they look very good but I don't remember the price. Spending only maybe half an hour in that community after more than an hour and so drive was a bit of disappointment so The Lady suggested to check out a few of the farms that we had seen their signs on our way to Bergen. Heading back south on Cowboy Trail, the first farm you see is Solstice Berry Farm at your left. This farm is specialized in Saskatoon Berry and it was quite busy. It is very neat and has a small store. We had tried Saskatoon a few years back in The Saskatoon Farm and while they are good, I really didn't feel like walking in heat to pick a bucket of them. The farm has bagged Saskatoon, syrup, jam, pies and all other sorts of Saskatoon products and surprisingly people were buying. We didn't feel good(!) walking out empty handed so I bought a jar of 250 ml jam for $8. A lady was running the store and she said that their season usually ends in mid. Aug., in case anyone wants to go. The farm has a very nice pond which I bet if they sold admission for swimming, they would make lots of money but at the same time they probably have to get a permit, hire life-guards, there will be a chaos and such. So they probably never thought of that! People usually go nuts for swimming here especially if it's a sunny day with temperature around 28 Degrees C
Saskatoon Berry shrubs (I hope this is the right term to use) in Solstice Farm
Our next destination, which was a much better place, in our opinion was Buckler's Farm just a few kilometers down the road when you're heading south. This farm is a the same side of the road but not fancy like Solstice but the variety is much bigger. In fact Buckler's is a vegetable, herb and fruit garden. We were welcomed by a couple of dogs upon our arrivals. They were constantly barking and when I got out of the vehicle they ran toward me in a little scary manner but that's what farm dogs are supposed to act. They calmed down when their owner called them but had their eyes on us the entire time. We were first directed to a little vegetable patch where they grew Lettuce, Onion, Swiss Chards, Spinach and few other types of vegetables and herbs. The Lady pulled a few Lettuces out and we got a big bag for only $5. Then we followed the owner to Raspberry garden and started picking the berries. They were awesome but we only picked half a bucket which cost $9. Tired from heat and also yesterday's hike, I decided to leave after receiving OK from The Lady
Vegetable patch in Buckler's Farm. You see Lettuce here
We really enjoyed our time and were happy with most of our purchases although some were unexpectedly and unreasonably expensive. For example I forgot to mention that in Bergen Farmers' Market the old lady whom sold a few items to us had Croissants for $5 each! When The Lady asked how much they were. This is how she answered: They are expensive. $5 each! Apparently there are people who pay for that so they keep selling! 
There are other places near and around Cowboy Trail that you can enjoy your time. There are campgrounds, Spas, Provincial Parks (Big Hill Springs Provincial Park), Golf courses, Horse boarding, motels and hotels and other facilities. We may try a few of them later but they are mostly are not in our allies. For instance I've never been a fan of sleeping in campgrounds, playing Golf, going to Spa or similar but if you are there are lots of choices in the area. 
(Photo, top: I couldn't resist this photo. There are lots of Oil Pump Jacks around Cowboy Trail, They apparently suck oil out of the deep soil and bringing money to the companies and land owners)

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