There is no single reason why Matthew Schur launched The Old Red Barn in 2017: He wanted people to know more about their food and the farmers who grew it; he wanted to celebrate small-scale local farmers; and he wanted a tourism business combining farming and fresh food.
“We want to make sure people have faith in their food systems,” he says. “Most people get information from Google or the back of the food packaging, but meeting farmers, learning about what they do and why, it’s an important message and builds thrust.”
So he transformed a 1950s-era gambrel barn on his in-laws’ farm near the Edmonton International Airport into a dining room. He started with a single dinner for a few friends and now hosts one every two weeks through the spring, summer and fall.
Schur partners with local chefs who welcome the opportunity to host a farm-to-table dinner, and has farmers talk with the assembled guests between courses. “We recently had a fifth-generation garlic farmer from Wetaskiwin,” he says. “There’s a lot of stuff about garlic that you might not know.”
Schur says his dream is to have his own farm with accommodations for guests, farm tours and dinners several times a week. “If I could do that full time, that would be awesome,” he says.