County hosts Agricultural Service Board Tour with a culinary twist

Dancing Goat ASB

Kneehill County’s Agricultural Service Board tour, this year on July 26, was organized with a culinary theme that highlighted operations such as the artisan cheese of Dancing Goats Farm near Acme. Another Acme area business visited was the new facility Sunterra is building for Soleterra d’Italia cooked and cured meats such as pancetta and prosciutto using Sunterra’s pork. Lunch was held at the Hutterite Colony south of Three Hills with tours of their gardens, vegetable storage and manufacturing facilities. The next stop after the colony was literally across Hwy. 21 to the property of Good Knights medieval encampment where the tour group was able to look inside the luxurious tents and practice some axe throwing and archery and see how the trebuchet worked (with water balloons), There was also a stop in Three Hills to see the newly opened ‘Farm Basket’ that showcases locally produced foods, including Bauer Meats, of Torrington.

Good Knights Demo

The day was a scorcher that began at Horseshoe Canyon with coffee, pastry and a duffle bag filled with tour information and product samples such as High Seas fresh-roasted coffee, out of Linden (one of the day’s sponsors), honey, chocolate from Mousse Cake Sally, a cutting board, Sunterra meats, a booklet on invasive plant identification, and ‘I am an Entrepreneur’ self assessment guide book from Community Futures (a big sponsor of the tour).

Having air-conditioned busses felt good after spending time out in the sun at each tour location and each bus had a County representative (the Reeve on one of the busses) providing narrative on Carbon’s history, ag-related ventures, and the County’s role and policy with Parks, Planning, Agricultural Service Board, and Economic Development. This tour was to highlight the agriculture value chain involving producers, processors and retail and their success stories. “The County recognizes the importance of flexibility in paving a clear way to allow non-traditional operations that can be viable on smaller parcels of land,” stated Reeve Long. “We want to be supportive of the changing needs of Agriculture.” This support is promoted by the County’s recently revised land use bylaw that is to enable easier development of new agri-business or expansions and investment attraction opportunities.

It was explained that the minimum lot area in the Agriculture Business District is 4.05 ha (10 acres), with the maximum lot area being 16.18 ha (40 acres). The County also wants to enable tourism and investment attraction opportunities by showcasing its diverse landscape. It was no accident that the tour route included the site work done at both the Orkney look-out and Horseshoe Canyon.

The tour ended on a culinary high note with a unique, long table sit-down meal for County Councillors, staff and the 66 registered guests (3/4 of which were County residents with others coming from Calgary, Edmonton and other areas). MP Kevin Sorenson and wife Darlene, were special guests who were disappointed they couldn’t have come on the tour but were honoured and delighted to be a part of such a culinary experience in such a beautiful setting. “It’s good to see these kinds of events. It’s always exciting to see new ventures and new opportunities and groups coming out to see this.”

The fantastic menu was put together by ‘Our Daily Brett’ (14th Street Market), chef Brett McDermott of Calgary and his staff. Said chef Brett, “A lot of us have not had the opportunity to be out here, and the view is stunning.” A long tent was provided for sun protection and the setting, overlooking “Alberta’s Grand Canyon,” was a fantastic experience, not soon to be forgotten. Beer from Prairie Brewing Company, provided another entrepreneurial business to showcase. Wine was provided by the Fallen Timber Meadery.

Stated Reeve Long, at supper, “I hope that you learned something from the day, and the direction we (County Council) want to go. We are first and foremost an Agricultural community but with value added opportunities.”