GFM Network News


Peter DenOudsten, of Lacombe, has grown his Piedmontese cattle operation from a few cows in the late ’80s to the largest herd in Canada.

Is Piedmontese ‘the beef of the future?’

There’s just one herd in Alberta, but rancher Peter DenOudsten 
says yield and taste give the Italian breed a big advantage

Peter DenOudsten never intended to become a Piedmontese cattle producer when he bought a few cows in the late ’80s to graze off some grassland he couldn’t crop. “I only had a few cows and it wasn’t worth having a bull around, so I just got Dad to artificially inseminate them with some beef semen […] Read more



Parking is one of the factors to consider when 
participating in Open Farm Days.

Educate consumers through Open Farm Days

Registration for Open Farm Days 2016 is now open. Last year’s event had more than 70 participating farms; 18 farm-to-table culinary events; 10,000 visits to farms; and almost $100,000 in food and on-farm sales. The event, which runs from Aug. 20-21 this year, provides an opportunity to support local food producers, educate consumers about agriculture, and […] Read more

Rod Bradshaw, pictured here in a carrot field with his wife Shelley and his sons Kurt and Brent, runs Beck Farms.

Low dollar won’t necessarily make 2016 a banner year for local produce

Cash-strapped produce consumers may go for ‘most bang for their buck’ in beleaguered Albertan economy

Some might think the low Canadian dollar might make 2016 a good year for local produce growers. Not necessarily, say two experts in the field. “The talk I’ve heard is that high food costs will normalize farmers’ markets or direct-market sales. These might have cost a little bit more before. Our cost of production is […] Read more


Shannon and Danny Ruzicka and children Madalynne, Joshua and Molly are only eating local food for a year.

Living large — and eating only local — in a land of bounty

It’s a huge shift to eat only foods produced in Alberta, but the members of 
the Ruzicka family consider themselves ‘so lucky’

In a season where most people spend more, the Ruzicka family is learning to live with less. Shannon and Danny Ruzicka and children Madalynne, Joshua and Molly have been living on local foods since August. “Our experiment is to live off the Albertan land for a year — we live off what we grow, raise […] Read more

Calgary baker makes pita bread a hit with Albertans

People had ‘no idea’ what to do with pitas 40 years ago, but Byblos Bakery now makes 1.8 million a week

Calgary’s Byblos Bakery has found the sweet spot: consumer-pleasing quality, a diverse product line, efficient production, and rigorous food safety. The bakery produces 18,000 pita bread per hour, 20 hours per day, five days a week. But things were much different in 1975, when George Daklala first introduced Albertans to pita bread. “When we first […] Read more


The discovery of adding vegetable oil to hazelnut and chocolate created a breakfast treat that’s still a hit with consumers.

The secret of success can be found in a simple breakfast spread

The man behind Nutella shows how simple ideas can be very powerful


I was first introduced to Nutella while travelling in Europe as a young woman — the thought of chocolate for breakfast was just too good to be true! Today, the sweet treat remains a frequent visitor to our home, disappearing in the early hours shortly after waking. The man behind the mysterious blend of hazelnuts […] Read more

Getting on the menu

Getting Into Local Restaurants takes place Feb. 9 at the Agri-Food Business Centre in Leduc. “You will meet two chefs and the local producers who supply them, discover what chefs look for in a local food product, explore techniques for getting in the restaurant door and establishing a strong business relationship, and learn about plate […] Read more


Food hubs a hot new trend

Food hubs are growing in popularity as an alternative marketing option for Alberta’s smaller producers and processors, says new-venture specialist Christine Anderson. Most food hubs serve as a drop-off point for several farms in a region and a pickup point for customers. Along with marketing, they may “also offer a number of additional services including […] Read more