Agritourism adventures in the Foothills

Posted on: Jul 31, 2021

You are invited on a behind-the-scenes tour of some of the best Foothills agritourism spots. If you've ever wondered what it takes to make a living off the land, plan a visit to one, or more, of our spectacular Foothills farms. Experience the rural lifestyle and meet our wonderful local producers and agritourism operators.
 
Forage & Farm – the incredible view of the Rockies will be the first thing you notice when you arrive at this farm, perched on a hillside west of Millarville. Forage & Farm specializes in growing a variety of hardneck garlic, which produces truly remarkable and unique flavours. Their Black Garlic (we recommend it spread on a soft Camembert paired with a fine wine from down the road at Spirit Hills Flower Winery) won the Made in Alberta Award. Owner Cheryl Greisinger will show you how her garlic pesto, garlic chutney, powders and bulbs can add to your culinary experience and take your cooking to new heights.
 
Stone Wood & Steel – right next door to Forage & Farm is Stone Wood & Steel. When we say next door, we mean it. These two businesses are shared by the Greisingers with Cheryl operating the garlic side and James Greisinger running the blacksmith studio. James has been working in the metallurgic arts for more than 25 years. He draws his inspiration from the landscape and wildlife that surround his studio. Offering classes in blacksmithing techniques as well as the creator of many works of art that combine form and function, James invites you to tour his forge, ask as many questions as you can and experience this old-world tradition and skill.  
 
Prairie Spirit Alpacas – meet Millarville’s resident alpacas at Prairie Spirit Alpacas. This herd of Huacya alpacas is owned by Carmen Jadick who raises these unique animals for their luxurious fleece. Alpaca wool is known the world over for its quality and texture. At Prairie Spirit Alpacas, they produce alpaca wool socks and small batch, hand-dyed yarn as well as knitted and woven items. Come visit this magical place and its adorable alpacas.
 
FarmTwo53 – Farm Two53 is a regenerative ag/permaculture farm where they endorse natural synergies through intensive cattle grazing, free-range laying hens, zero-waste composting, garden and tree mulching, bird and bat house habitat, snowmelt runoff collection, rainwater harvesting, soil building and carbon sequestering, solar PV water pumping, solar PV electricity production, food forest construction, vermiculture, fruit and vegetable production, and honey production. If permaculture and regenerative agricultural strategies are of interest to you, this is the place to see. The farm is easily recognized by the white-capped 60′ high silo that matches the distant Rocky Mountains.

Spirit Hills Flower Winery – A family farm turned winery with strong European traditions, Spirit Hills is a unique and unexpected find in the hills south of Millarville. Touted as the Napa of the Foothills, their stunning winery and tasting room are a haven for connoisseurs and those new to Alberta wines. The Bonjean family will happily teach you all about Rocky Mountain wildflowers, bees and honey harvesting, wine making and bottling. Enjoy a sampling their one-of-a-kind flower wines in this beautiful Foothills setting.
 
Eau Claire Distillery – the Foothills' own farm-to-glass distillery, Eau Claire Distillery is home to outstanding, locally-made spirits. Award-winning and world-renowned with good reason, their products are exquisite. Some of their wares include Parlour Gin, single malt Whisky, the unique and delicious Prickly Pear EquineOx Vodka and the newly released Rupert’s Exceptional Canadian Whisky. Their breath-taking tasting room is open seven days a week from 11 to 5, and is a must-stop on the Cowboy Trail. Also, discover their newly opened Speakeasy and Prohibition era exhibit right next door to the distillery where you can travel back to the days of Prohibition with the sights, sounds and tastes of the 1920s. Tours are Saturday and Sunday starting at 11, ages 12 & up only. This is a must-do experience when visiting the Foothills. 
 
Bar U Ranch – To get a taste of what Alberta is all about, you must make a trip to the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. Ride into history in a horse-drawn wagon pulled by two stately Percherons. Experience the life of a ranch cowboy from the late 1800s in the Bar U’s meticulously curated exhibits. Wander through the authentic buildings, sit fire-side and listen to old-time yarns and learn all about the massive draft horses that made this ranch famous at the Percheron exhibit. With a stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, the Bar U is a Foothills gem not to be missed.
 
Millarville Farmers’ Market – it’s very likely the Millarville Farmers’ Market was the original draw to the Foothills. This long-running, sprawling market has been a Foothills favourite for decades. You will find everything under the Foothills sun the Millarville Farmers’ Market, with nearly 200 vendors selling jams, veggies, art, knick-knacks, homewares, clothing, and everything in between! The market runs every Saturday until October 9 with a $3 suggested donation. COVID protocols are in place and they insist you leave your dogs at home (service dogs are of course exempt from this rule). Bring your shopping bags, wagons and sunscreen and enjoy a shopping experience like no other.
 
Trail’s End Beef – The members of this fourth, going on fifth-generation family ranch work, play and eat together. Raising free-range cattle is no easy task but the Herberts make it look like fun. Tyler and Rachel along with their two kids are the brains and muscle behind everything at Trail’s End Beef. Their place is just southeast of Nanton and their summer grazing lands are in the Porcupine Hills to the west where the cattle have rolling hills, lots of grass, springs and shelter. Visit them at the ranch and learn all about what it takes to keep cattle. Sample their products, marvel at the perfectly organized farmyard and catch a glimpse into a lifestyle that has been part of these Foothills for generations.

Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre ­– Just up the road from Trail’s End in the Town of Nanton, stop by the old grail elevators for a rare glimpse into the past. There was a time, not long ago, when these prairie giants helped feed the world as well as provided a sense of community and a chance to visit with far-flung neighbours. Participants will enjoy tours of the restored Pioneer grain elevator and see the rare 1929 Alberta Pool twin elevators. The Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre’s goal is to preserve these three remaining prairie icons to educate visitors about Nanton’s and Alberta’s agricultural history. As often as possible, tours are conducted by former grain elevator managers or employees who are a wealth of information about these “skyscrapers of the prairies” that were so closely tied to the well-being of Alberta communities for so many years.

Hartell Homestead – The Hartell Homestead opened its doors in 2020 with a mission to showcase fresh and local ingredients while bringing people closer to their food. Owners Nick and Alli started the farm with just ducks and horses but quickly grew with the addition of the Highland cattle, chickens and goats, along with a large, kitchen garden. A few short months after opening their doors, Hartell Homestead became a one-stop-shop for local produce, meats, honey, homewares and art. When you visit, you are in for an insightful tour filled with information about farming practices, heart-warming and funny tales about the livestock and maybe even a kiss from Queenie, the queen of the pasture and Nick’s favourite cow.


Related Places

Forage & Farm is a small family farm at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Southern Alberta. They specialize in growing a variety of heirloom hard neck garlic cultivars and craft various specialty foo..

Stone Wood & Steel offers traditional blacksmithing experiences, located on an organic garlic farm bordering Kananaskis Country in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Stone Wood & Steel is a family..

Prairie Spirit Alpacas is a Canadian farm, nestled amidst the rolling hills of Millarville, Alberta.

Spirit Hills Winery is a true family-run local success story. Beginning in December of 2012, it is owned and operated by Ilse and Hugo Bonjean and their family.

See first-hand how it’s all made at Alberta's original distillery and then stay around for tastings and a delicious locally-sourced menu!

Established in 1882, it is one of longest standing ranches in Alberta and has hosted princes, outlaws, and a whole lot of history!

The people behind the tables at the Millarville Farmers’ Market are the real deal. They are the growers, farmers, makers, bakers, and artists of the foothills!

Trail's End Beef is an authentic family ranch located near Nanton, AB. The ranch raises specialty grass-fed, grass-finished beef, sold to local customers online and to visitors at the onsite farm stor..

The Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre is museum that hosts a wide range of information about farming, grain production, and the life style of the pioneer days.

Fresh, local and amazing