Off the beaten path...

We are a local, family owned, community-minded fruit orchard and small animal farm located near Saskatoon, SK. We raise sheep, goats, heritage chickens, alpacas and miniature donkeys.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Our new blog!

We've moved all our posts to in order to avoid any confusion! New posts and pictures are there now!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We are Thankful!

Wow!  We have had a great and crazy summer and now fall and thanksgiving  is already upon us!

First the not so great news...  our orchards is still struggling due to the excess amount of water we have had in our area.  Some trees are still ok, the black currants seem to be flourishing, but most of the other trees have been stunted by the moist conditions.  We hope that next year, with new berms and maybe drier conditions the trees will continue to grow.

Now the good news.... our flock of sheep continues to grow!  We have about 100 in our flock right now.  Fall lamb will be ready by the end of October, and we continue to sell it at the Saskatoon Farmer's Market on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Our critters have not only expanded in numbers but as well as variety!  We still have some pygmy goats on our farm, and we have added alpacas and miniature palomino donkeys.  Our heritage breed chickens continue to lay us the best eggs we have ever tasted, and our ducks have inhabited the nearby slough, and now call the barn home.

 I am continuing to preserve and come up with and try new canning recipes, however, since we have started selling bread and baking at the market, I find myself doing more baking than canning.  Our jams and pickles continue to be popular at the bakery and at the markets! 

Our continued diversity has prompted us to rename our farm from Fruition Orchards to Old Trail Farm.  Anyone who has driven past our farm yard (on purpose or by accident) will know why! At the end of our property is an old trail and at the end of that trail is where Old Trail School used to be.  This is the school my dad and his brothers and sister attended.   My sister and I called this "roller coaster road" but the hills seem to have gotten smaller over the years :). It is an old summer road that hasn't been used for some time.  It's grassy and beautiful and it is our favourite place to take a long walk. 

We are thankful for so many things on our farm:
We are thankful for Nathan!  We have had the luck and luxury of having a full time helper this year at the farm.  Nathan came to us as a volunteer and agreed to stay and work and live with us for the summer.  He has been a great help with farm chores, as well as helping at the markets and in the bakery.  He's become a member of the family, and our kids are dreading the day that he leaves us.  We hope to keep him on a bit longer as we get ready for winter at the farm, then gear up for the Christmas season at the bakery.
 Calvin, Frances, Parker, Lily, Keith and Nathan at East Trout Lake.

We are thankful for WWOOFers!  We continue to host WWOOFers on our farm and we have had a steady supply of help from them this year!  They help us with everything from cleaning out barns, watering and feeding animals, weeding, picking, sorting, hauling...  they also help us with house chores, child care, and the list goes on and on...  we have been very fortunate to have such great WWOOFers help us.  We couldn't have accomplished everything without them this year.
 Our WWOOFer, Florian, from France, with Lily and Parker in the dune buggy he fixed for us! 

We are thankful for our families and friends that have supported us in our work on our farm, even though they may not understand why we do it.    It is a labour of love for us.

We are thankful for healthy children and a top notch school (Ecole Providence in Vonda) that shows our children the importance of community and diversity.

We are thankful that we are able to provide ourselves with food for our table, and that we can help others who cannot do the same. 

We hope everyone has had a productive and thankful growing season. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Holidays from all of us!

We wish you a "berry" Christmas and a happy new year!

Carmen, Keith, Frances, Lily and Parker

Sunday, September 4, 2011

White Birch Dinner Club at Fruition Orchards!

Check us out in Penny's blog:

We had a great evening with White Birch Catering.  We hosted their monthly dinner club at the farm.  If you want to experience food in a way you can't in a restaurant, you should become dinner club members!  Amazing food in a unique atmosphere, great people, and a learning experience about food all in one evening! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

our philosophy on raising animals...

We have had alot of interest in our animals lately, and we get a lot of questions about what exactly we do with our animals. Our family farm raises goats, sheep, and heritage poultry (so far, chickens mainly, as well as a smattering of ducks and a few turkeys). We strive to mimic how animals would behave if they were out in nature on their own.
We raise sheep and goats to use as lawn mowers and fertilizers in our orchards. They graze between the trees and eat the weeds and keep the trees from suckering. The chickens and ducks wander around after them, eating bugs and dragging straw around the orchard, consequently mulching around many of the trees. This is time and labour intensive for us, we move a temporary fence around the orchard to prevent the animals from eating the trees, and we haul water to them. We treat our animals kindly and compassionately. All our animals have 24 hour access to indoor and outdoor spaces, fresh water and food. All of our animals are used to being around people... They are handled kindly by our family and we ensure that everyone who comes to our farm does the same.
We also slaughter our animals for meat. We slaughter chickens ourselves and take our small livestock to a provincially inspected abbatoir. We have taught our children that these animals are not just pets, but are also being raised for meat. And they should be treated compassionately.
If you are interested in what we are doing, we would be happy to have you out to our farm and show you around. We also do school tours and have opportunities for people to help out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Now featuring in our chicken house - fresh farm eggs!!

Five days ago our chickens started laying eggs! We were pretty excited and the novelty still hasn't worn off for the girls - they go and collect the eggs every morning and have one each for breakfast. They are the best tasting eggs we have ever eaten. (according to us!)
We think our chickens look pretty, happy, they have inside and outside areas to roam around, plenty of food and water, and lots of company. So, we are naming our eggs "Happy Chicken" - now available Wednesdays and Sundays at our Farmers' Market booth!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The barn reno

After much consideration, we decided to renovate the old barn on our farm. The roof looked like it was going to fall down, so we decided to take the roof off and see if the rest of it could be fixed structurally.

We replaced the hayloft floor and straightened out the walls, and then replaced the front and back and added some doors...

And, for the roof, we are installing a greenhouse. We'll see how it holds up in the wind!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

looking for a summer student!

We are looking for a full time summer student to start June 1. Must be returning to school in the fall, have a driver's license, and some experience with small farm equipment (garden tractor, pull type equipment and ATV). Contact us for more details!

We are also pleased to welcome Tim and Calvin as our summer help this year... They will be working with our 4H program and helping us in the orchards, as well as doing a bit of landscaping and clean up after the flooding.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

goats and sheep and puppies (oh my!)

The critters have started arriving at Fruition Orchards - we have six adult pygmy goats and two kids, six sheep, and a great pyrenees puppy named Buster (to keep the sheep safe from the coyotes). We are still looking forward to the chicken entourage, starting to come at the end of March, and a three year old miniature donkey named Tuesday this spring!