Shauntelle  and Lane Harding of Harding Heights Ranch are gearing up for this weekend’s Fall Bonanza

Shauntelle and Lane Harding of Harding Heights Ranch are gearing up for this weekend’s Fall Bonanza

Fall Bonanza highlights local farming, small business

A taste of Trail will be served up this Saturday in fall form when Harding Heights Ranch kicks off its first ever Fall Bonanza.

A taste of Trail will be served up this Saturday in fall form when Harding Heights Ranch kicks off its first ever Fall Bonanza.

The public is invited to check out local food and fare from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the celebration that will highlight farming and local, small business, according to event organizer Shauntelle Harding.

“It’s a beautiful time of year, and it’s a time of thanks and giving, so I thought it would be a nice thing to do for the community and to do for local businesses,” she said. “We want to give back a little bit because we’ve been totally blessed with the community support at Harding Heights Ranch.”

The ranch will form the backdrop to a farmer’s market with local farmers and small businesses putting their product on display for purchase. Seasonal produce like squash, pumpkins and apples will be up for grabs from Earthy Organics,

Just A Mere Organic Farms, Willow Springs Organic Farm (organic straw) and Treasure Life Flour Mills (with their line of organic ancient grains).

The list of crafters is growing but includes Kim Jackman with AZ-Tekk Food Services selling jams, jellies, preserves, borscht, natural soaps, lotions, deodorants, and their famous “Bug-Bee-Gone” lotion sticks; Pam Malekow is fundraising for the Horse clubs with borscht and handmade jewelry; Chicks In The Coop is bringing handcrafted signs; and Ashbrooke Creations will be selling handmade natural candles and soy soaps.

Gypsy Wagon Wood-Fired Catering and Rustic Crust are just a few local food vendors that will also line the Oasis property, offering hot lunch.

The savoury side will be shared with sweet sensations from Patrick Sims, who’ll be making Beavertails, Kay Bouma with Kreative Cupcake and Donna Grewcock with D&D Home Baking.

There will also be a couple face painters – Lola’s Party Central and One Good Eyed Murphy – on hand, farm tours and a petting zoo of all the ranch’s animals, which includes horses, miniature donkeys, sheep, chickens, peacocks, and rabbits.

The ranch is hoping to learn from the event and build on it for next year. Harding says an annual Easter egg hunt attracts anywhere from 400-600 people, and she’s hopeful the market will eventually attract the same numbers.

“The Easter event is very successful and very fun, and we love doing it,” added Harding. “The community seems to really take to it. They really love coming up and seeing all the animals and hanging out at the farm for the day.”

The public is reminded to hit the ATM for this cash-only event. The ranch is charging $5 a person or $20 a family and $20 to vendors setting up a table for the fundraising portion of the event. A good portion of proceeds made from these costs will be shared between the local food banks and Sanctuary, a pre-teen centre.

“I think (buying local) is becoming more and more popular, and I think it’s important that we support our local businesses and farmers,” added Harding. “Food is very important to our bodies, our health and our family’s needs.”