Laura and Cal Siebenga of Gull Lake, Alta., stock their store, Small Circle Foods and Retail, with locally produced food and crafts. The couple raises about 70 ISA brown chickens. The breed is known to be prolific layers giving large brown eggs. The Siebengas raise Suffolk Dorset cross sheep. They sell their meat and also have two other producers who supply the same breed and quality of lamb. A protective llama keeps the flock safe from coyotes. The Siebengas sell food and artisan items from more than a dozen producers around central Alberta.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta foodies satisfied with being small and local

GULL LAKE, Alta. — The conversation is easy and relaxed like friends catching up. Laura Siebenga chats with a longtime customer who stops for eggs at Small Circle Foods and Retail, the store located on her and husband Cal’s 17-acre Brown Eggs and Lamb farm. “That’s a huge part of what this store is,” says […] Read more

Ria and Ken Holgerson built a barn on their Alberta farm in 2015 to host weddings and special events and are now booked into 2019. | Brenda Kossowan photo

Couples falling in love with Willow Lane Wedding Barn

Once the dream of owning a cattle farm came true, the couple invested some of their profit into a building and planning project

OLDS, Alta. — Retired businessperson Fred Huizing feared his daughter and her husband were about to lose their farm. “He thought we were crazy,” Ken Holgerson says, describing his father-in-law and former employer’s reaction to his and Ria’s new plan. They were setting up financing to build Willow Lane Barn, a special-event building in which […] Read more

Brian Mendieta shows off cuts of meat at his Westlock Butcher Shop in Westlock, Alta. | Karen Morrison photo

Couple creates thriving butcher shop

WESTLOCK, Alta. — A hunting blind that greets customers entering the Westlock Butcher Shop signals the time of year when wild game needs to be processed into steaks and sausages. “I’m surprised by the amount of walk-in traffic,” said owner Brian Mendieta. He opened the shop recently after he and his wife, Jen, outgrew the […] Read more


A pilot project being developed by Alberta’s Agriculture and Food Council aims to eliminate obstacles and help rural women bring their agri-business ideas to life.
 | WP photo illustration

Program helps women start business

New Alberta program is designed to help rural women tackle challenges of financing and time management

A woman’s idea for a rural-based agri-food business may be excellent but seeing that idea come to fruition can be fraught with obstacles. She may be juggling many demands on the farm, such as machinery operation, child care, livestock care and an off-farm job. She might lack confidence in her business skills or would benefit […] Read more

Jeffrey Taylor has given up his part-time job to focus on his art career as well as mentoring students. | Brenda Cardiff photo

Transforming clay makes potter’s day

After 13 years, pottery artist Jeffrey Taylor plans to give up his part-time job as a bus driver. He took on the job to earn extra cash after he began working out of the 85-year-old schoolhouse-turned-studio in Duval, Sask. “I can’t make pottery for eight hours a day and driving bus at 3 p.m. breaks […] Read more