South Peace News
The owners of High Prairie’s Shady Orchard & Winery are humbled yet grateful after receiving the Farm Direct New Farmer of the Year award at Nisku Feb. 27.
Owners Willy and Kristie Gordon say it’s a reward for all the hard work put in so far at the business, which opened Feb. 5, 2018.
“Before we jumped into Shady Orchard we had no idea how much hard work was involved,” says Kristie.
“It’s nice to be recognized after all the hard work,” adds Willie.
Shady Orchard was one of three winners at an awards ceremony and banquet at the Cost Nisku Inn and Conference Centre Feb. 27.
The award was presented by the Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association [AFFPA]. The Gordons have no idea who nominated them for the award because nominations are made confidentially.
AFFPA is dedicated to supporting the production of farm direct market vegetable crops, berry and fruit crops, bedding plants, perennials, herbs, flowers, meats, poultry, eggs, wines, meads, and other specialty items in Alberta.
AFFPA is a voluntary membership, non-profit organization representing direct market growers across Alberta. Most AFFPA members like Shady Orchard market directly to consumers from sales at local stores or through farmers’ markets.
The Gordons opened the family business just east of High Prairie and sold seven cases at their first Enilda Farmers’ Market March 3. Since then, sales have continued to climb until the recent pandemic, which has closed all farmers’ markets.
Shady Orchard makes a variety of wines using apple, pear, saskatoon, raspberry, strawberry and chokecherry, and/or a combination of such fruits.
The couple has been making wine since 2012, fine-tuning their craft with every batch until they reached a level of satisfaction for themselves and customers.