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Meet the Producers: A Look at Three Food Producers Around Alberta

Popular farm favourites available at various Farmers' Markets include Sausage and Garlic from Parkland County, Farm Fresh Cheese and Butter from Sturgeon and Sustainable Honey Practices from Dewinton, south of Calgary.
2-3A Meet the Producers - 3 farms
Image by Nina Ulmer

Sausage and Garlic in Parkland County

Parkland County is home to Nina and Gary Ulmer’s The Sausage Lady and Nina’s Homegrown Hardneck Garlic. Both of their product lines are in high demand at farmer’s markets and through pickup at their farm.

The Sausage Lady’s handmade pork sausages come in a variety of flavours and they are all mouth wateringly delicious. Customers keep coming back to sample flavours like Tuscan, Chekalaka Coconut Curry, Sonoran Chorizo, and bratwurst (both American style and honey garlic). Nina makes Black Angus burger patties that are gluten free and they sell their pasture-raised Black Angus beef and Berkshire pork in bundles.

Nina also produces incredibly unique preserved garlic. “Black garlic is made from cured garlic heads that have been preserved through a temperature controlled, 12 to 30 day long process that converts the spicy, crunchy garlic cloves into a sweet, soft, savoury, complex flavour that pairs beautifully with wine and cheese, on top of your salad or stir fry, and as an appetizer,” says Nina.

The Sausage Lady products as well as Nina’s Homegrown Hardneck Garlic can be found in the summer until Thanksgiving at St. Albert Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and Collingwood Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Customers can also order products for pickup at the farm through their Facebook page.

Farm Fresh Cheese and Butter

In 2020, Lakeside Dairy in Sturgeon, which is owned and operated by the Nonay family, expanded their product line and started Lakeside Farmstead Cheese. 

“Lakeside Farmstead Cheese offers a selection of locally produced, artisanal cheese and cultured butter from our very own single-source milk,” says Staci Lesnik (née Nonay), Sales Manager for Lakeside Farmstead Cheese.

Their cheese can be found at a wide variety of markets around the province including at Italian Centre Shops in Edmonton and Calgary. A complete list of locations is available on the Lakeside Farmstead Cheese Facebook page. Soon they will be opening their own retail storefront located right on the farm. The shop will carry their cheeses, butter, and other locally produced products.

For the Nonay family, quality is everything. “Lakeside Farmstead Cheese is committed to quality. We start with the simple idea that if we give our cows the best of everything, they would, in turn, produce the highest quality milk you could ask for,” says Staci. “We pride ourselves on our long agricultural traditions and heritage of the Nonay name. Each day, we put care and pride into every step of our farming processes to make sure we end up with the highest quality products in the end – food that we are proud to serve on our table and yours.”

Lakeside Farmstead Cheese can be found online, or customers can place their pick-up orders by calling (780) 702-1200.

Sustainable Honey Practices

Jon Zwiers of Honey Meadows Farm Inc. is a third generation beekeeper with a great respect for bees. He and his wife, Arielle, produce raw, natural, unpasteurized honey and beeswax at their apiary in Dewinton south of Calgary. Customers love the delicate and gently floral sweetness in the Zwiers’ honey.

Though beekeeping is a traditional practice, the Zwiers have brought innovation to their farm. “I have been able to incorporate small, incremental improvements to support our business, such as experimenting with sensors for temperature control and using cloud-based apps for record keeping,” says Jon.

He has also recently installed solar panels at the farm and became organically certified. “These activities enable us to stay on the forefront of sustainable practices,” he says.

“As a beekeeper our number one priority is to ensure the bees are healthy, strong, and able to pollinate vegetation such as trees, shrubs, flowers and crops. We are careful to choose hive locations that have a water source nearby, protection from the elements, and allow a diverse food source.  We also think it is important not to overpopulate an area and allow the other species of bees access to the habitat. By acting in an environmentally sensitive way, we can sustain these practices for years to come,” Jon explains. 

For more information or to purchase honey directly from the farm, visit the farm online, contact them by email or call (403) 701-2804.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Shirley's Greenhouse for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.
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