Growing School: On Farm Learning with Apple Quill

Photo: Apple Quill Farm

Growing food in the East Kootenays presents a unique set of challenges: cool temperatures, high elevations, and short growing seasons to name a few. If you’re eager to learn about local growing, there’s no better way to learn than from the local farmers.

In the spirit of sharing knowledge, Apple Quill Farm is offering five workshops that will provide participants with local and practical growing knowledge. Workshops will take place from July through September, and will cover a diverse range of topics that are relevant to growing food in our unique climate. Workshops can be taken individually or as a series that provides a well-rounded perspective on growing food in the Kootenays.


Introducing Apple Quill Farm

Apple Quill Farm is a family-run farm on a 15-acre plot in Wycliffe. Marie-Eve Fradette, Michael Albert and their two lovely daughters, Adelie and Elianna, work together to grow local produce and raise livestock.

“When we purchased the property, we never bought it with the intention of farming. We started growing for the love of food and for our health” Marie-Eve said in an article by the Cranbrook Townsman. “Then we started sharing with friends and we fell in love with the process. It sort-of snowballed from there.”

Their products—which include whole frozen chickens and ducks, eggs, berries, heirloom tomatoes, and greens—are available at local Farmers’ Markets including the Kimberley Farmers’ Market. They have also been featured in a documentary film called ‘New Roots’ by Kimberley filmmaker Mark Locki.



The driving force behind Apple Quill Farm’s Growing School workshops, is a genuine desire to share knowledge with the community. “We have learned so much over the past few years about growing in the Kootenays and we want our community to benefit from our learning,” Marie-Eve explained to us. “We also strongly believe that more people growing locally helps our planet, community and even our business because people become more aware of their food, choices, and the system providing the food.” 

Through this Growing School, Marie-Eve and Michael plan to share the exact techniques that helped them start their bountiful family farm business. According to Marie-Eve, “We have implemented multiple systems over the years that are realistic on small scale or larger scale and that is also good knowledge to share.” In a nutshell, participants will learn growing methods that have been tried and tested in this region. 


Sign up for Growing School

Five Growing School classes are scheduled to take place at Apple Quill Farm on select Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm between July 23 and September 10, 2022. Each class will cover a distinct topic related to growing in the Kootenays and cater to a maximum of 12 participants per class.

Each individual class costs $75.00, but participants who sign up for 3 or more classes will receive $50 off in total.

Visit our Growing School event page for a workshop schedule, descriptions of the topics each class will cover, and registration information.


July 23: Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries and Gooseberries

Learn how variety choice, planting locations, and pruning methods are some of the ways to ensure baskets of berries every year.

July 30: Tomatoes in the Kootenays

Learn all about growing tomatoes in the Kootenays — outside, in protected environments, or a blend of both. Apple Quill shares modern solutions built on traditional methods. They are happy to share their ways to help you successfully grow your own tomatoes in this challenging area.

August 13: Winter growing

Despite the snow, we are able to grow a variety of greens in protected environments. Learn all about winter growing and why overwintered greens are sweeter!

August 27: Drip Irrigation

Discover simple ways to make your irrigation more efficient, effective, and convenient. In the Kootenay’s dry climate and with limited water supply, Apple Quill found that plants thrive on a regularly watered and well-designed drip system. This workshop will teach solutions that small-scale and home-growers can use.

September 10: Season Extension

Sunny days and early frosts are a part of growing in the Kootenays. Despite these limitations, there are ways for any grower to get around the cold.


Special thanks to Kootenay Livestock Association, Kootenay and Boundary Farm Advisors, Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Regen BC, Province of British Columbia, and Government of Canada for making these classes a reality!