Sep 242017
 

Gardens, gifts, food, saskatoon berries and more
at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

At the Saskatoon Farm just outside Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, you’ll find a plant nursery, a gift shop, a restaurant, a bakery, a farmers’ market and lovely garden spaces. Saskatoon Farm is a favourite stop when I visit family in Okotoks.

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

It is a pleasure to walk through the grounds

Thirty years ago, Paul and Karen Hamer planted Saskatoon Berry seedlings on this property. They continued planting trees, shrubs, and other plants. Eventually the farm expanded to what it is today.

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

Shrubs for sale under a shady bower

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

Flowers for sale

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

Fresh produce for sale

Saskatoon berries look like blueberries but are more closely related to the apple family. They are high in fibre, protein, and antioxidants. The taste has been described as similar to a blueberry but with a subtle “wildness”, a mixture of blueberry and raisin, or sweet and nutty. The name comes from a Cree word.

The Saskatoon is native to the Canadian prairies, northern Canada, British Columbia, the northwestern and north-central United States and Alaska. It is popular in Canada (especially on the prairies), where it is cultivated commercially and used in pies, tarts, muffins, sauces, cakes, jams and salad dressings. Saskatoon berries are known by other names throughout North America: prairie berry, shadbush, service berry, juneberry, and pigeon berry.

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

The restaurant at Saskatoon Farm

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

My lunch – churros with Saskatoon sauce and Saskatoon ice cream

Historically, Saskatoon berries were used by First Nations people in pemmican. Pemmican was made from the lean meat of large game, such as bison, elk, deer or moose. The meat was cut in thin slices and dried over a fire or in the hot sun until it was hard and brittle. Then it was pounded into almost-powder consistency and mixed with equal amounts of melted fat. Sometimes dried fruit, Saskatoons for example, were added. The mixture was packed into rawhide bags for storage. It remained edible for years.

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

A turkey and chicken on the farm

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

A spot at the back of the farm overlooking the valley is used for wedding ceremonies

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

the valley

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

Store space of over 2,000 square feet offers an eclectic mix of goods for shopping or browsing: gifts, clothings, home furnishing, garden decor, Saskatoon preserves and more

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

The bakery offers a variety of Saskatoon treats to take home and enjoy. There is an annual U-pick for Saskatoon Berries and Sour Cherries. The Farm also holds special events, such as cooking classes, paint nights, yoga classes and concerts.

More than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm in Okotoks, Alberta

A sampling of garden spaces

Saskatoon Farm is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The restaurant closes at 4 pm. The Garden Centre is open mid-April to the end of October. The Farm is usually closed from December 24th to mid-January. Okotoks is 45 kilometres south of Calgary, so a visit to the Saskatoon Farm makes a nice day trip. You may wish to combine the visit with a stroll through Olde Towne Okotoks, where you’ll find a collection of unique shops.

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  16 Responses to “More Than Saskatoons at the Saskatoon Farm”

  1. I had no idea what a Saskatoon is. Nor had I heard of any of the alternate names you listed. Not sure many of them have found their way over to the east coast.

    • Ken, I grew up knowing about saskatoons and was almost middle-aged before I realized they were virtually unknown in other parts of the world.

  2. I know I keep saying this, but gosh I love reading about all these great places in Canada, Donna. It’s a real eyeopener because I’ve only spent time in the Guelph area in Ontario. I’d never heard of a Saskatoon berry/bush, but it sounds like a good way to add taste to pemmican!

  3. Saskatoon Farm looks really delightful on the outside and inside. What a treat it would be to explore such a lovely setting. I’m pretty sure I’ve read about Pemmican before, but didn’t know the word for the end result of the process.

  4. Hey, I can easily go here from Calgary or on the way to Calgary visiting my daughter and her family! Thanks for the info. Sounds like I will enjoy the farm lots!

  5. Donna, the Saskatoon Farm has all the elements of a place I would love. Thx so much for sharing this Prairie gem.

  6. I’m STILL working on travel plans to Calgary and the greater Alberta area. This Saskatoon Farm visit looks like an uplifting way to spend a day. I’m adding it to my file.

  7. I’d love to walk the farm on a sunny day as you did. There are so many quaint and lovely places to visit in Canada!

    • Elaine, this last visit was on a lovely sunny day. There are things inside the Farm to see on a rainy day, but the grounds are so much more enjoyable on the sunny days.

  8. What a gem, Donna and I loved your beautiful opening and closing photos! The Saskatoon berries sound delicious and oh, would I love a taste (or two) of the churros with Saskatoon sauce and Saskatoon ice cream. They look like the very definition of delicious! Anita

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