At Riverbend Gardens we start off our season when everyone else is still huddled up in sweaters and snow boots. We do crazy things like snow plow the fields to get a start on our crops, and we get bedding flowers… out of bed (!) and ready for you in the spring.

We keep growing and going to markets through to Thanksgiving, some all year long, but August marks that time of year when we hit the top of the mountain and enjoy the view!

FIVE IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT OUR FARM

  1. We have 120 acres of farmable land. We grow more than 20 kinds of vegetables.
  2. It has a unique microclimate that enables us to harvest vegetables much earlier than the norm.
  3. It’s located on the banks of the magnificent North Saskatchewan River.
  4. Our farm is within Edmonton’s boundaries. In fact it is the easternmost point in the city. There is a movement to preserve farmland in this area.
  5. We take great care with our farming methods. We are responsible and cautious in our treatment of the land.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR FARM

  • 1958 After emigrating from the Netherlands, Janelle’s Grandparents Clarence and Jenie Visser started farming here in 1958. They raised hogs.
  • 1981 Janelle’s Father Doug and mother Evelyn began growing vegetables on a couple of acres.
  • 1981 Doug set up for Riverbend Gardens’ first farmer’s market at City Market downtown. He wasn’t actually allowed a spot inside but they found some room for him on the street and squeezed him in. We’ve been at City Market ever since!
  • 1983 Riverbend Gardens set up their stall for the very first year of Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market.
  • 2006 Janelle and her husband Aaron join Doug and Evelyn as partners!
  • 2007 Janelle and Aaron’s daughter Evie, the first member of the fourth generation to live on the farm, was born!

Fun Farm Facts

  • We irrigate from the North Saskatchewan River and our fields ideally need 1/2 inch per week. The water is very clean and we get it tested every year.
  • Our land includes 75 acres of old growth forest. It’s on a lower elevation than our fields and has flooded three times in the past 30 years. It’s a great habitat for deer, moose, coyotes, beavers, porcupines, badgers, weasels and all kinds of birds – osprey, pelicans, owls, pheasants and woodpeckers to name a few!
  • Our soil is amazing and has incredible drainage. When it rains too much, we’re still able to get into our fields and when it’s too dry, we use the river to irrigate. Moisture management is key in growing healthy crops.
  • Almost all of the buildings on the farm were build in the 1950’s and 1960’s and have now been retro fitted to store veggies and serve as our wash stations and equipment storage.
  • Our 100 year old farmhouse was moved to the farm in the late 1970’s from the Humberstone Farm, which is now Rundle Park. Janelle has lived in this house for all but a brief 20 months when she and Aaron lived in the Beverly neighbourhood before they returned to the farm in 2006.
  • We have two potbellied pigs named Winston and Lantern. They roam free on the farm and no, we are not planning to eat them.
  • The farm is at a lower elevation than most of Edmonton. Sometimes fog will linger on the farm until noon when it’s nowhere to be found in the rest of the city. Often at the first frost when other farms in the region have frozen solid, we only have frost on our rooftops. This allows us to have a longer growing season!