Hi! We are Brett & Jillian Byers, we have four little kids, 400+ cows, and a whole bunch of other farm animals! I (Jillian) am so glad you are taking the time to get to know us. We began growing our own food because we love being self-sufficient, knowing how our food is being raised, and we also realized that wow! It tastes so good!
Life on our farm began on June 22, 2011. Brett and I had been together all of a year and before we knew it we had a farm. We started out with a puppy, 3 horses, and 11 Red Angus heifers during the first year. During that year, we ended up adopting a stray dog and a kitten we named after our neighbor. The following years brought kittens, foals, and more cattle. We soon ran a herd of 800 grazing yearlings and 50 cows with calves at their sides.
During that time we managed to get married and start a family. Our daughter arrived and she became our little miracle. The seasons changed and after the summer drought in 2015, we decided to scale back on grazing yearlings, increase our cow-calf heard and diversify the farm. We wanted to expand our passion for healthy food and begin providing it to others.
In the spring of April 2016, we calved out 96 cows on grass, it was busy. Watching those calves run and play is absolutely enlightening. We also brought home our first lot of piglets, chicks, and turkey poults and began to build our Farm Fresh meat business. I was very pregnant with our son but managed to attend the last 4 weeks of the St. Albert Farmers Market...this is where we got the market bug.
Being able to talk to and communicate with our customers about our farm and products was very enjoyable. I spent the next couple of summers attending farmer's markets every week, it was a lot for me to take on while being very pregnant with our third child.
This is when we decided to take a step back from the markets and make more time for our family. And so sprouted a new idea of a Farm Store! ...and more work haha! In August of 2020, we had the grand opening for our very own Farm Store here at our ranch! We also hosted Alberta Open Farm Days and had a whopping 400+ people attend. We couldn't be more excited about it all!
Our Farm Store offered an impressive cut selection of our homegrown Beef, Pork, Chicken, and eggs. We want to support our local community and provide a place where others can sell their goods, like a co-op. So our shelves were filled with delicious products such as raw honey, sourdough bread - bagels - pizza, hemp seeds & oil, hot sauces, pickles - preserves - jams, tinctures, pre-made foods, home décor, and more.
We loved seeing kids come out to our ranch, so we built a kids zone with farm-themed swings, a playhouse, and a mini sandpit. From spring - summer you could see cows & calves, and our unicorn pony Gemma available for viewing and feeding. And our laying hens were just a short walk up the hill, and if you looked hard, you might find an egg or two to take home.
The best part about opening our Farm Store was connecting families back to the land where their food comes from. Seeing kids come out here and run free, collect eggs, watch the pigs root and roam, and discover life on the farm is what really gets me. Being able to offer this to the public on a larger scale, well it was just a little bit of magic in the making.
But! In the fall of 2022 I made the very difficult decision to close our little Farm Store - business was growing and becoming more demanding. But so was family life, as we were expecting baby number 5 in March of 2023 - yes, 5 is a lot of kids!! So in order to keep feeding families farm fresh meat, we scaled back the individual cuts and meat boxes to focus solely on affordable, delicious beef products. We now offer 20 lb & 50 lb boxes of ground beef, and bulk beef (1/4's, halves and whole beef). This is working so well for our family as I now have more time to focus on raising our children, and its working well for our business as we are shipping out our Beef all over Alberta every month!
Cheers & chat soon,