Dunvegan Market Gardens | MD of Fairview By Tormaigh and Jenelle Van Slyke | Photography by Melissa E. Earle
In 1953, Bill and Hilda Friesen opened Dunvegan Gardens on the flats at Dunvegan, which is south of Fairview. Now, nearly 70 years later, their grandson Trent Friesen, 43, and his wife Mandi run the gardens at the Dunvegan location, which features a greenhouse, acres of farmland they grow fruit and vegetables on, a 9-hole mini golf course, a take-out style kitchen, and an ice cream shop—don’t forget the ice cream.
The family business has since grown and branched out, and Trent never lost his ambition to keep the legacy alive.
“I have always worked in the family business,” said Trent. “It was always my highest interest and priority to become a farmer.”
Where are you from?
I was born and raised here on this farm by my parents Ron and Pauline Friesen.
I grew up with two older brothers. We eventually decided to branch out our business to Edmonton and Fort McMurray. Me and my youngest brother went into business together in Fort McMurray, so I settled there for about 13 years, and I met my wife there. Once we started our own family, I decided it was time to move us back to the farm at Dunvegan so that we could raise our kids in the same place I was raised. We’ve been living here since 2011.
What can people expect when they stop at Dunvegan Market Gardens?
When you come to Dunvegan Market Gardens you can be prepared to have a beautiful experience. Between the river valley view and the lush forest on rolling hills, it truly is breathtaking.
What kind of products are available in your farm store?
We are best known for our strawberry u-pick. We also have corn, cucumbers and homemade dill pickles, jams and other preserves as well as our beautiful annual and perennial flowers. We have a wide variety of veggies grown here on our farm such as lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, beets, cabbage, dill, garlic, leeks, kale, pumpkins, carrots, squash and zucchini.
We hear Dunvegan Gardens raises bison, and there’s a place onsite that sells several bison products for lunch. Tell us about that.
We decided back in 2011 to start raising bison. It was a good fit for our young family. We currently have a 120-cow herd that supplies not only our family but also many customers from Dunvegan, Fort McMurray and Edmonton.
My wife uses bison meat in all her recipes in our new kitchen.
The burgers have been a total hit. Every burger is topped with fresh homegrown lettuce and tomatoes, homemade dill pickles and real cheese.
Our three signature burgers have at least one special homemade item or twist. The Friesen Family Burger has a homemade bacon and onion jam, the John Deere has homemade pickled yellow and green peppers, and the Buffalo Bill has grilled jalapenos with homemade buffalo mayo.
We serve stewed bison meat on a toasted bun with homemade pickled peppers, garlic aioli and Swiss cheese. It is very popular on the menu. We also use ground bison in soups, chili, and for flautas and taco fries!
It’s a small kitchen but we feel we’ve done an awesome job utilizing the space as well as providing quality ingredients to make it really special.
Tell us about your ice cream shop.
Our ice cream shop sells 16 flavours of hard ice cream as well as a selection of novelty ice cream. Our kitchen is based out of the same building.
Tell us about your mini golf course.
Our mini golf course was built in 1997. I apprenticed as a carpenter while building the course. It is a challenging 9-hole course that has been thoroughly enjoyed by many people over the years.
What are your open hours?
We are open to customers from May 1 to the end of September (or the first hard frost). We are closed every Tuesday but open every other day from 10am to 5pm, except on Sundays when we are open from 12pm to 5pm.
Follow Dunvegan Market Gardens on Facebook @Dunvegan Market Gardens or on Instagram @Dunvegan_Gardens (Fairview Location)