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Lunenburg County Winery at Hackmatack Farm – 2018

His mother gave him a love for gardening, his father, a love for geology and prospecting. Together they gave him a love for the outdoors and getting his hands dirty.

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


2 days ago

Meet Your Farmer

Maplewood Maple Syrup and Christmas Tree Farm is a 4th Generation Family Farm with 17 Hectares of Christmas Trees, a 50 Acre Maple Syrup operation and Woodlot 170 Hectares large. In addition to their wood lot and Christmas tree production, they also run a 4000 tap maple syrup operation.

The Nova Scotia Woodland Owner of the Year Award recognizes and rewards landowners for outstanding stewardship of their woodlands. It was developed to encourage woodlot owners to practice sustainable woodland management and to increase public awareness of the importance of private woodlands in Nova Scotia and good woodland management.
Maplewood’s woodlot is a 2 time Nova Scotia Woodland Owner of the Year, winning this award in 1996 and 2009!

“We participate in Open Farm Day in efforts to promote farming/forestry importance to visitors. There is a need to look after the forest.....the continued existence of the Human race depends on it."

Maplewood Maple Syrup and Christmas Tree Farm will be opening their doors to the public on September 15th, to give visitors a taste of what goes into their operation. "We will be offering free maple syrup, maple cream and maple butter to visitors, and a wagon ride through our “award winning” woodlot for $5.00 per person.”
#FarmerFriday #NSOpenFarmDay2019
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1 week ago

Meet Your Farmer

Terra Beata Farms is run by David and Evelyn Ernst, along with about 20 employees. David previously worked as an engineer in the fishing industry, and neither of them ever had any intention of becoming farmers. However, in 1998, when the opportunity of some undeveloped land came up across from their home, combined with a downturn of the fishing industry, they decided it was a great time to start a cranberry farm. Terra Beata Farms has been expanding ever since.
“We initially planned just to grow cranberries, but then ventured into cleaning and freezing cranberries, followed by processing cranberries and other fruits into juice, dried berries and cooked preserves. Now we work with fruit from our own farm plus a few others, export frozen cranberries to 10 countries, and sell products to Sobeys and Superstore. It has turned into a much bigger operation than we expected!”

On Sunday, September 15th, Evelyn and David will be opening their doors to the public, giving them a behind the scenes peek of what goes into making these products. “Visitors usually start with a half hour walk around the farm, where we talk about cranberry planting, growing and harvesting. Then the group walks through the building looking at the equipment we use for making juice, dried berries and cranberry sauce. We talk about food production and marketing. The tour wraps up with free cranberry snacks, juice and recipe cards.”

David and Evelyn are always excited for Open Farm Day, and have been participating in in the event since the very beginning. “[It] gives us a chance to visit with our neighbors and welcome people from across the province. We answer all the cranberry related questions people can think of, give them new ideas to encourage them to eat more cranberries, and give them a peek at modern food processing.” Evelyn says people are always surprised at the amount of work that goes into the products seen on grocery store shelves. “Visitors are so engaged! They ask great questions, and we find they remember their visit and their connection to our farm for years.”

Did you know:
1. Cranberries do not grow under water! The fields are flooded for a few days at harvest time in early November to make harvest more efficient.
2. Cranberry vines can live for over 100 years and produce fruit every fall, as long as they are looked after.
3. Except for what is grown and consumed within Russia, the world’s supply of cranberries is grown in 6 Canadian provinces and 6 American states.

Come down to Lunenburg County to visit David, Evelyn, and the rest of their team this Open Farm Day! #FarmerFriday #NSOpenFarmDay2019
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2 weeks ago

Meet Your Farmer

Did you know today is #FoodDayCanada?! A day to celebrate all that Canadian food has to offer!

We’d love to see some of the meals you’ve made using local ingredients! 🤤🍽
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2 weeks ago

Meet Your Farmer

Meister Field and Forest is a 6th generation farm that has been operating for over 200 years. They have Black Angus cattle with a new Red Angus bull, a flock of laying chickens, two dogs and lots of forest. They have also moved into an Agritourism part of the business with farm events on site.

"We love farming because it connects us to our food and to people who want to know where their food is coming from. We love the opportunity to work outside and contribute to our local economy as well as meet people who come to our farm interested in learning about it."

Dave says climate change is becoming a large problem for farmers. “Our biggest challenge is adapting to changes related to weather. With more weather related issues due to climate change, we are seeing trends of more abnormal weather patterns like the wet spring we have had or the late frost last year.”

On Sunday, September 15th, Meister Field and Forest will be one of over 30 farms across the province participating in Open Farm Day. “Open Farm Day is one of our favorite activities every year. We love having people come to the farm and meet us as well as learn about what happens on a working farm...Our favorite part is watching the kids learn something new or see something they never experienced like watching cows graze or even collect eggs from our chickens.”

Come visit Dave and his team at Meister Field and Forest in Lunenburg County this Open Farm Day!

#Farmerfriday #NSOpenFarmDay2019
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  1. Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition

    August 20 - August 24
  2. Digby County Exhibition

    August 21 - August 24
  3. Cumberland County Exhibition

    August 26 - August 31
  4. Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition

    August 28 - September 1
  5. Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition

    September 4 - September 8


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