Your farm vacation might find you on the edge of a field overlooking the sea, looking out upon rolling countryside dotted with barns, atop a horse on the wide-open prairie, in the fresh air blowing in off a boreal forest, or amidst rolling foothills watching grass sway in the wind. Maybe you'll stay in a seigneurial-era home with a steeply pitched roof, century home with a peaked dormer window, stone house, log cabin, cottage, or maybe even a tent.
What is a farm vacation about?
Immerse yourself in the scenery, sounds, smells, culture, values, know-how, and work ethic of a rural area. Learn about livestock, cash crops, fruits, vegetables, fishing, greenhouses, and gardens -- and take part in chores if you're interested. Help bake bread, pick vegetables, milk a cow, or collect eggs. Then take in the countryside by hiking, picking wild flowers, listening to birds, watching the stars at night, and sitting at a campfire listening for coyotes. While enjoying local food offered by your hosts and local establishments, you are also learning where it comes from and what goes into producing it.
Farm stays across Canada
How do you envisage a farm vacation? Here is a sample of where you could find yourself:
• in a log cabin beside a creek at Brown Creek Ranch, a cattle ranch nestled on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta
• camping on the natural prairie grassland at McLeod Creek Farm near Edmonton, Alberta, a farm dedicated to raising rare breeds of livestock
• staying at a straw bale guesthouse on the edge of the prairie at Room to Grow in south-western Manitoba, a farm featuring gardens, herbs, and a greenhouse
• beside the wood stove in a cabin at Foymount Farm in the Ottawa Valley, where there is horseback riding, donkey rides, and a chance to collect eggs
• inside a historic house on the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick -- Le Gite de l'Ardora -- at an operation with cows, geese, pheasants, blueberry fields, and even an oyster farm
• on a cottage veranda at Lacadie Vineyards, situated in a developing wine region near the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia
• staying at a family farmhouse, taking hayrides, and learning about sheep and making wool products, at Springwater Farm on Prince Edward Island
Find a farm vacation
Many smaller farms don't have websites, so consult provincial tourism offices, bed and breakfast associations, or farm vacation associations. Here are some useful links:
• BC Guest Ranchers Association
• Alberta Country Vacations Association
• Manitoba Country Vacations Association
• Tourism New Brunswick
• Nova Scotia Agriculture and Food
• Ontario Farm and Country Accommodations Association
• Bed & Breakfast and Country Inns Association of Prince Edward Island
• PEI Visitors Guide
• Bonjour Quebec
• Tourism Saskatchewan
Be certain to pack supplies for both work and leisure activities:
• work clothes
• hiking boots
• reading material
• most importantly, your appetite!
A farm vacation is a great opportunity to learn where food comes from, and, equally important, a chance to meet the people involved and experience the lifestyle. Come home appreciating the effort that goes into making safe, healthy, flavourful food.