What is Echo Hill Farms? Where did the name of your business come from?
Echo Hill Farms is a sustainable and ethically focused pastured pork and specialty cut flower farm located in the sandy hills of Bad Heart (NE of Teepee Creek), overlooking the Smokey River valley. From certain vantage points on our land we can bounce our voices off of the river valley banks…hence the name!
Tell us about Echo Hill Farms – where did the idea come from and what is the purpose?
We have always wanted to own land and create a space for ourselves and our children. A space where our actions are in harmony with nature. Upon purchase in 2015, we immediately set to work revitalizing the soil and we did all of it with pigs…and fell in love with their intelligence, workability, and deliciousness. Over the last 5 years we have increased our herd to a manageable size that allows us to offer seasonal, pasture raised butcher hogs as well as weaner pigs to families wanting to raise their own. Both Jerome and myself are avid gardeners and so last year we decided to diversify our farm by growing specialty cut flowers. Growing fancy flowers in a 100 day growing season has its challenges, but the success of last year has us gearing up for many more seasons. Everything we do here on the farm we do with sustainable and ethical agricultural/husbandry practices. We use natural fertilizers, practice no till, create low stress environments for animals, and work to create a space that invites nature into its folds.
Why is this important to you?
I was always in awe of my grandmother, a woman who wasted nothing, worked hard, and found joy in successes large and small. Her yard, although in the city, seemed immense and filled with nature. Being able to recreate that for our own children while encouraging sustainable approaches to farming have been paramount to our farms vision.
What is the best way for people to get a hold of you to purchase your products? Currently we have both farm Facebook and Instagram accounts. Messages or direct phone calls are our primary point of contact. We will be working toward a website soon…but I am technologically disadvantaged!! Our pork and weaner pigs are available seasonally and by wholesale purchase. Our flowers are of course seasonal and available at the Sexsmith and Grande Prairie Farmers Markets, Gateway Homesteader Health, by special order, and very soon we will be launching Bouquet Subscriptions.
When did your family move to the Bezanson area?
I followed my husband back to Alberta in 2004. We bounced around the Peace Country a fair bit, finally landing in Bezanson in 2011. We found our 80 acre farm in Bad Heart several years later and put our roots down permanently.
What does living in Bezanson mean to you?
I loved my time in Bezanson and still maintain many wonderful friendships and connections within the community. It is a tightnit small town in a bustling industrial area…a reassuring reminder that no matter the world around you, connection and community are paramount.
What is your dream for Echo Hill Farms?
I think we are living it! There are so many struggles along the way for small and large farmers alike, but producing quality food and quality flowers with the smallest environmental footprint we can manage has been incredibly fulfilling. Plans and ideas evolve, but for now we meet the coolest people, spend the majority of our time outside, eat well, and have each other. We don’t want for much more!