Lunenburg County Winery at Hackmatack Farm – 2018
He married a Nova Scotia girl who he met in a college geology class.
40 years ago he decided he wanted to be a farmer – so she took him home to Nova Scotia.
In 1979 two young farmers, Daniel and Heather Sanft along with Heather’s parents, purchased a 100-acre drumlin farm in Lunenburg County. Initially, Heather’s parents were planning to retire – but they never did.
Along with the 100 acres came 12 head of cattle, 1 milk cow, mixed hay and woodland. Accompanying the farm was something almost more valuable – a number of neighbours involved in farming as well. Over the years Hackmatack Farm was home to many wonderful animals from Romney & Merino sheep; Shorthorn, Durham and Angus cattle, several Guernsey’s, to geese, ducks and lots of chickens! Ultimately the family decided to change tactics, switching from livestock to blueberries.
“We decided to plant blueberries because there was a good market for them fresh – and they were exported to the USA in the fall,” Daniel explained.
The name Hackmatack comes from the local name for the larch tree, many of which surround their farm.
“In 1983 we began planting highbush blueberries and vineyards. We began a long battle for legislation which would allow a farmer to open a winery based on fruit ‘other than a grape’. We wanted to use only NS fruit & not imported grape juice which commonly used at that time.”
“In 1993 we opened Lunenburg County Winery at Hackmatack Farm as soon as the Cottage Winery legislation was approved,” they explained. The legislation was pro Nova Scotia agriculture a winery had to have 10 acres of producing fruit crop & had to use 100% NS grown fruit. This year we celebrate 25 years of making award winning fruit wines & estate grape wines as well.”
The winery helped make the farm more economic and also extended their fresh fruit market season by letting them work year-round on wine, bottling and labelling. Today, there are over 20 wineries across the province, as well as numerous craft breweries and distilleries.
For the last 10 years on the third Sunday in September, the Sanft’s have welcomed visitors to their farm as part of Open Farm Day. While there, visitors get to visit with and question a farmer of 40 years, u-Pick blueberries, take a tour of the winery, and for those of legal drinking age – free wine tastings!
“We believe it’s important to show people where their food comes from and how its grown. It’s also important to provide visitors with a connection to a real farmer/farm, where they can get accurate information, ask questions and explore,” Daniel explained.
When asked what their favourite part about Open Farm Day was, Heather replied,
“I like to meet enthusiastic families and kids, they care and the kids are our future. We need to enjoy, educate and nourish them.”
Did you know: that blueberries are Nova Scotia’s official provincial fruit? They are a beautiful blue like the blue in our Nova Scotia tartan and are known to cause blue tongues and in some cases… bluenoses