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Entrepreneurial females create products from plants harvested from their organic farm

The women like to say the company is owned, operated and managed by all the entrepreneurial female descendants of the original farm family.

What many people consider to be nuisance plants, Angela Hoffort and her family are turning into cool cash. Angela and her mother, Lyn Brown, and sister, Carmen Legge, operate Bedard Creek Acres, a family home business that turns flowers and herbs into edible delicacies.

The idea for making specialty products from edible flowers began a few years ago with Angela’s mother Lyn, making syrup from the blossoms of red clover which grows in the fields of the family farm, Bedard Creek Acres, near Choiceland, Saskatchewan. Lyn also made lip balms, creams and salves, and sold her products at a few local farmers’ markets.

“In the spring of 2008, I got on board,” Angela says. “I’m a stay-at-home mom with two little boys, and I figured I could help Mom do what she was already doing. The more I got into it, the more interested and motivated I became. Then my sister Carmen got involved, and our two other sisters, Arianna and Crystal, help as well.”

The women like to say the company is owned, operated and managed by all the entrepreneurial female descendants of the original farm family.

Most of the raw materials for the Bedard Creek Acres product line are harvested on the family farm which has organic certification. The products are all unique and visually appealing, particularly the line of “Prairie Jem Jellies” which boast rich jewel-toned colours (all natural) and delicious flavours.

Black Pansy jelly is a customer favourite, and is made from the blossoms of black pansies which are grown in a big garden plot on the farm.

“We harvest them all summer long,” Hoffort says. “The more you pick, the more they grow.”

The black pansy blooms produce a deep garnet-red jelly that has a flavour somewhere between raspberry and blueberry.

Nasturtium jelly is peachy orange with a rather peppery, radish-like flavour. The women make two kinds: a mild one and a hot version with habaero peppers. The hot version, Hoffort says, is very spicy and is delicious on crackers with cheese.

Goldenrod produces a light-yellow-coloured jelly that tastes faintly of lemon. Some of the goldenrod jellies contain calendula petals as well.

Fireweed blooms result in a lovely rosy-pink jelly that is sweet and floral in taste, while yarrow yields a golden-yellow jelly with a tea-like flavour.

“The yarrow was a surprise for

me,” Angela says. “We did one batch just to try it out, but when we took it to the farmers’ market, we got very good feedback from everyone who sampled it. Though we don’t mention it, yarrow happens to be quite medicinal.”

The flowers from red begonias are steeped with a cinnamon stick to produce orangey-red Cinnamon Begonia jelly.

Mint jelly is made from the wild mint that grows along the banks of Bedard Creek from which the family farm takes its name. “No surprises there,” Angela says. “It tastes like mint.

“We do our processing at a federally inspected kitchen,” Angela says, “in order to sell our product at shows outside the province.”

The women also make Red Clover Blossom Syrup and Black Pansy Syrup, and flavoured vinegars like Onion Chive Flower, Dandelion, Spruce Tip, Begonia, and Raspberry. Hoffort mixes the vinegar with oil to drizzle over salads.

“The response has been fun,”Angela says. “We’re producing something very different, but people seem to like what they taste. Black Pansy jelly is our bestseller right now, probably because of its rich colour, or maybe because people are familiar with that flower.”

For more information, visit www.bedardcreekacres.ca.

Darlene Polachic writes from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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