The seventh annual event will take place Aug. 17 and 18 throughout Alberta and features more than 100 farms and farm-related businesses.
“Open Farm Days is great for getting people to the farms to learn more about where their food comes from,” Stender says. “My job is to educate and get people behind the scenes. They can meet the farmers and see what farm life is all about.”
EH Farms will participate Saturday only, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering a farmers’ market with produce, farm-fresh eggs, meat, and art, as well as a kid zone with pony rides, face painting and baby chicks to see. Throughout the Saturday lunch hour, they’ll offer genuine Hungarian goulash, and throughout the day, the Corry Boys will play live fiddle music.
Then, Saturday evening, the EH Farms team will offer a long table dinner showcasing pork dishes from their rare red Mangalitsa pigs, a heritage breed from Hungary that is famous for their thick woolly coats and rich, fat-marbled meat.
Stender says she hopes people will learn more about the breed this weekend. The Mangalitsa was almost extinct after the Second World War, until a group of European geneticists and farmers decided to save them. They started a breeding program and now the animals are found around the world. “I wanted to be a part of that, to continue to keep this breed alive,” Stender says. “The Mangalitsa are so unique.”
Alex Wilks, marketing team manager for Community Futures Wild Rose in Strathmore, is one of the Open Farm Days organizers. Like Stender, he wants people, especially those in cities who may not know many of the province’s farmers, to learn a little more about what they eat and where it comes from.
“Open Farm Days gives people a chance to come out and explore,” he says. “That’s what I’m most excited about, to see city folk come out and experience authentic country living. It’s important for people to understand where our food comes from.”