Four days ago, on 18 August 2019, I was fortunate enough to make a return visit to a wonderful farm, NW of the city. I left home a few minutes before 8:00 am and arrived back home at 8:00 pm, feeling totally tired out. This was partly because I had only had a couple of hours' sleep the night before, and because it took me two hours to get to the farm. This was the first time I had ever driven myself there, as we had carpooled on the previous two visits. To say the least, I was not at all impressed to see the Maintenance light on my car dashboard come on before I had even left Calgary! Have an appointment this afternoon, to see to the matter. After leaving the farm, I took some new back roads that had been recommended to me while I was at the farm; roads that I had never driven before. Beautiful scenery, and I discovered a rather nice old log cabin and two or three old rusty vehicles, including a beautiful big, blue bus. I am SO happy that I made myself do both drives. I had to do it, as this is an amazing farm, and I couldn't bear the thought of not visiting again.
This 53 acre farm, Akesi Farms, is a 90 minute drive from downtown Calgary and is near the town of Sundre. It belongs to Meghan Vesey and Kwesi Haizel. It is permaculture based with future crops of eggs, mushrooms, fruits and nuts! Hard to believe that this beautiful place has only belonged to this young, hardworking, enthusiastic couple since November 2014. A tremendous amount of work, thought and planning has already gone into adding to what was already there, with a 'little' help from family and friends.
Below is the link to a video about Meghan and Kwesi and the farm, by The Redneck Gourmet Show, 23 March 2017. The video was taken in winter - in summer, the farm is a mass of colour!
Our visit coincided with Alberta Open Farms weekend, where about 100 farms were open to the public. Our Naturalist leader had arranged to take anyone interested in nature on a nature walk, at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. A very interesting, short talk on the history of Bergen and the area around the farm was given by Marilyn Halvorson, who has lived in the area for many years. Three tables had also been set up - one had attractive barn quilts painted on wood (Jenni Weeks at N50 Barn Quilts). Another had knitted items and quilts from Irene Echlin. The third had produce such as jars of home-made marmalade (from Kettle Crossing Farm), and also green tomatoes which had been grown in a massive greenhouse near Olds. I discovered when I got home that eating just one tomato was not enough, they were so good. This is something I have been very impressed by ever since I first met Meghan and Kwesi. They are very community-minded, helping other farmers, which is so good to see.
We were also shown a small display of several edible mushroom species that are being grown on the farm, Some of them are also growing in a few places around the farm - Meghan's mother very kindly pulled a little cluster of three Wine Caps that were growing in the vegetable garden, for me to take home and try. Of course, I had to take a few photos last night, before I added them to a Spanish Omelette : )
Check out their mushroom business. They are selling mushroom spawn for if you want to grow your own. They also offer talks on how to do this. The Fante word "Akuafo" means farmer.
Thank you so much, Meghan, Kwesi and Meghan's parents, for such a lovely day! Great to see new additions to the farm (well done, Kwesi!), as well as all the familiar things, including those beautiful dogs, Whiskey (male Border Collie/Great Pyrenees cross) and Titan (male Great Pyrenees), and your chickens and geese. Too bad we missed the honey created in your beehives. I wish you all the very best - you deserve all the successes that come your way.