The Open Farm Days Incubator Program started in 2020 in collaboration with Alberta Open Farm Days and Open Farm Days participating farm. The program gives local farms the opportunity to develop their own product from scratch. While using home-grown ingredients, participants then have the opportunity to sell that product as an addition to their business.
The Incubator Program’s goal is to help farmers create a product that is meaningful to them while also being able to expand their business. The ability to create a product for resale helps farms create new business opportunities while working with industry professionals.
Products were created in consultation with Chef Andrea Haring, Chef Judy Wood and Tannis Baker from Food Tourism Strategies. The goal to develop a product for re-sale using fresh ingredients from their farm.
In 2020 farms included Red Fox Fungi who developed a Mushroom Jerky, Christy Creek Honey making their “Bee Sweet ” Stir Stick Lollipops, and Stonepost Farms who created a Bone Broth and a Smoothie Mix from Wild Country Gardens. This year’s farms represent the diverse ingredients grown in Alberta and how they can be used to create unique and exciting products.
Mushroom Jerky – Red Fox Fungi
Janine Aube from Red Fox Fungi in Wheatland County wanted to reduce waste on the mushroom farm and created an innovative and sustainable product. The Red Fox Mushroom Jerky has a purpose: to use parts of the mushroom that would normally be thrown away. After dehydrating the mushrooms, forming them into a powder, and then rehydrating them into a jerky, the final product is ready to be packaged and sold.
Fun fact: the products are grown with zero chemicals or pesticides which is something that she wants to promote with all products made on her farm to continue growing high-quality, gourmet mushrooms.
To finish off the process, all of the farms were able to pick the right packaging for their product which meant being included in the designing process. Janine was able to create a “nod to Canadian female farmers” by creating a logo in the form of a female fox.
Christy Creek Honey Lollies
As a small hobby farmer in Lac La Biche, Christy Creek Honey was looking for a way to kickstart the farm’s product development and grow their business, and the Incubator Program seemed like a great place to start. Being that Alberta is such a large honey producer, Joanne, from Christy Creek Honey, knew that making a honey-based product would promote this particular side of Alberta’s diverse industry while appealing to a “broad range of ages.”
Christy Creek Honey’s honey lollipops are a “new and unique” product that can be eaten as is, or used as a stir stick to sweeten your coffee or tea. By creating a honey lolly, they’ve been able to conduct sales in gift stores, coffee shops, and other businesses which has opened their eyes to many more opportunities for expansion. Joanne says that she wants to create various honey candies in the future to reach even more people.
The Incubator process was a great way for Joanne to learn new things about designing and creating products because she was able to learn from the other farms involved. Learning a “different side of the business” has also benefited their honey tours which is a main attraction during the warmer seasons.
Stone Post Farms – Bone Broth
Becky from Stonepost Farms in Wildwood created a bone broth powder. The process was extensive and time-consuming but the results shine. The goal was to make a high-quality product that was both convenient and healthy. They decided to go with a dehydrated bone broth to save freezer space and thus, expanding the accessibility and scalability of the product.
Becky Doherty, farmer at Stone Post Farm, favourite part about the Incubator Program was the ability to learn something new! She is interested in creating new products in the future including different kinds of bone broth to expand their product line. The process of finding a recipe she was happy with was tough, but working with Chef Harling, Chef Wood and Tannis Baker was helpful to create a product she loves.
Support the above farms and all of our other host farms by coming out to Alberta Open Farm Days on August 14 & 15!
Interested in purchasing some incubator products? Shop for them at participating farms during Open Farm Days or reach out to the participating farms.