Open Farm Days a sweet deal for everyone, says new participant

Honey producers meet lots of their customers at farmers’ markets but are excited about hosting farm visitors

Richard and Amber Ozero have never been part of Open Farm Days before — but can’t wait to participate this year.

Operators of any sort of farm are being encouraged to sign up for the Aug. 18-19 event, and for the Ozeros, it was an opportunity to introduce their honey business to a new audience.

“Open Farm Days was the incentive to set up the farm to be open for tours,” said Richard Ozero, co-owner of Good Morning Honey near Stony Plain. “We’re proud of what we do here and the beekeeping industry. We’ve got hundreds of honey producers who make some of the best honey in the world.

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“We’ve got to let people know that it’s available and you can come and get it right from us.”

The couple currently sells their honey, beeswax, and pollen at three farmers’ markets in Edmonton as well as stores in Parkland County and the Edmonton area (and in bulk to national and international customers). They also have an active Facebook site.

But opening up their farm adds something more, said Ozero.

“We hope that Open Farm Days will help reintroduce people to where their food comes from,” he said. “There’s been a lot of growth and interest in local food for the past five to six years. It’s nice to give people this opportunity to see face to face where their food comes from.”

Visitors will be able to take a tour of the operation; see a candle-making display and an observation beehive; and taste some honey samples.

The Ozeros played host to the province’s ag minister for a PR event earlier this month aimed at encouraging more farmers to participate. Interested producers can sign up online at www.albertafarmdays.com. Participating farms can’t charge a fee (except for special activities such as a corn maze or pony rides or for food and beverages) but are covered by the event’s insurance policy.

Last year’s Open Farm Days featured 101 host farms, which received 20,000 visits and racked up an estimated $146,000 in on-farm sales.

About the author

Reporter

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for Alberta Farmer since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, she has also published two collections of poetry and a biography about a Sikh civil rights activist. Her freelance work has appeared in numerous publications across Canada.

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