Pick your fill at Lazuli Farms
Scott and Kylie Bartman and their three children Kamden, Kinsey and Greyson Bartman have been busy expanding their u-pick operations at Lazuli Farms, 10 minutes north of Camrose. Supplied
It all started in the fall of 2017 when Scott and Kylie Bartman, along with their three children Kamden, Kinsey, and Greyson bought a farm and decided to live life a bit differently.
This family decided they wanted to embrace the farming lifestyle, know what they’re eating, and where it comes from. Doing it all yourself makes this understanding pretty concrete. The Bartmans started their farm with just a few pigs and chickens and has since expanded far beyond that.
This spring, the Bartman family planted 9,000 strawberry plants, three varieties, across one of their 80 acres of paradise known as Lazuli Farms. After weeks of planning, and days of planting, their patch was in! When asked why strawberries, the Bartmans responded that they’d done their research on what’s available in the area, and didn’t want to step on the toes of other local producers. What they found was that there wasn’t a close-by strawberry u-pick, so it seemed like a great option.
These new plants are already producing bright red flavourful strawberries and the entire family pitches in to make the u-pick a success. The only rule they enforce for the kids, is that if you eat one strawberry from the patch, you have to in turn pick one weed. What a great way to motivate the kids to help as well. This family farm does everything together, and that’s how they want it to be.
The Bartmans wanted to not only grow their own food but decided early on that they wanted to share their farm with the community as well. They want their farm, to be your farm, and one of the ways they’re sharing the farm experience is by having a strawberry u-pick. The strawberries will be ready to pick on a regular schedule starting mid-July. Bring a pail or buy a pail and come pick as many plump red strawberries as you can. There are picnic tables on site, so if you want to spend the afternoon and pack a picnic you’re welcome to do so.
U-pick strawberries are $20 for a four litre ice cream pail, bring your own or purchase one for $1.75. If you don’t have time to pick but can’t resist these scrumptious strawberries, you can pre-arrange to have yours picked for you at a “we-pick” price. Bartmans advise guests to bring a cooler to take the strawberries home in to keep them cool, and when you’re picking, grab the stem and pull the strawberry away to try to keep the plant in-tact and not to pull the plant out of the soil. Another fun tip is to ensure the berries are nice and dry for storing. First rinse with water then dry them prior to placing them in the fridge.
Kylie has graciously agreed to share her favorite spinach and strawberry salad recipe with us!
Kylie's strawberry spinach salad with candied pecans and poppy seed dressing: 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup balsamic or raspberry vinegar 2 tbsp honey 1 tbsp poppy seeds 2 tbsp sesame seeds 6 cups spinach 2 cups sliced Lazuli Farms strawberries 1/2 cup pecan halves 2 tbsp butter 2 tbsp brown sugar Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add pecans and sugar. Cook until sugar is melted on pecans. Remove from heat and let cool on wax paper. Prepare dressing in a jar with oil, vinegar, honey, and poppy seeds. Shake to mix. Arrange salad in bowl by layering spinach, strawberries, and pecans. Pour dressing over salad and mix. Serve immediately and enjoy.
Once you’ve tried Lazuli farms fresh strawberries, the store-bought ones will be no comparison.
Another product they’re excited to provide is pumpkins. This family had such fond memories of attending a pumpkin festival every year to choose their pumpkin. They’ve decided this is the type of community they want to support and be a part of.
The Bartmans expect to produce about 250 pumpkins this year, and will be welcoming families to bring their kids and pick your Halloween or thanksgiving pie pumpkin. If you come early you’ll get to pick it right off the vine. After the first frost, they’ll be picked with care and awaiting pick up.
Getting your products local means you know the person who grew your food, and you know to what level of care they invested. All Lazuli produce have been raised without pesticides or insecticides so you can feed them to others without a concern.
Lazuli Farms is located just 10 minutes north of Camrose and only half a mile of gravel. The Bartmens also have other products available for purchase like pork and poultry. Watch their Facebook, Instagram, and website (www.lazulifarms.ca) for updates.
Stop by the Camrose downtown market on Thursdays to grab a sample of the Lazuli strawberries. You’re sure to return for more.
I’ll see you at the strawberry patch!