Archive for August, 2010

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy!

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

It’s no secret that the Edmonton area has world-class shopping, but some of the best items for sale are not found in any mall.

If, like me, you’re a big fan of fresh, locally grown produce and home-made goodies, you’ll be happy to learn about the Farmers’ Markets, U-Pick farming operations and market gardens found in the Tri-Municipal area of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County.  At all of these venues, consumers have the opportunity to make personal contact with the people who actually produce the goods.

(Google Maps feature is available for some addresses below:  Click on the addresses for a map of the location of the facility.) 

Local Farmers’ Markets

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFarmers’ Markets are not just a great place to get some of the best and freshest fruits and vegetables; they are also the spot to find home baking and wonderful fruity jams and other preserves (organic, no chemicals, no preservatives), along with special hand-crafted gift items.  A little tip about Farmers’ Markets:  For the best selection, it is always a good idea to get there early!  The “regulars” know which vendors sell the best in each category, and those vendors are usually among the first to sell out.

Spruce Grove Farmers’ MarketLocated at the Grain Elevator on the south side of Highway 16A :  120 Railway Avenue, Spruce Grove.  Saturdays, 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.  In 2010, operates indoors from April 17 to December 18.  For more information contact:  Lisa Lohr,  Phone 780-960-9380.

Heritage Farmers’ MarketToby Kazeil Pavilion, 4202 – 50 Street, Stony Plain (Stony Plain Exhibition Grounds).    Saturdays, 9 AM to 1 PM.  In 2010, operates indoors from March 20 to October 9.  For more information contact:  Lisa Wood,  Phone 780-963-2777.

Stony Plain Farmers’ MarketLocated in the Stony Plain Community Centre, 5008 – 51 Avenue, Stony Plain.  Saturdays, 9 AM to 1 PM.  In 2010, operates April 10 to December 18.  For more information contact Joanne Blicq,  Phone 780-963-3028.


Tips from U-Pick veterans:

  • For berries, bring your own plastic 4-litre ice cream pails with handles and lids (light, easy to carry, handle can loop over a wrist or be tied onto a belt to leave hands free for picking).
  • Always phone ahead to make sure field conditions are right for picking.
  • Wear a hat and proper footwear, and remember your bottled water, sunscreen, bug repellent and cash (many U-Pick operations are not set up for debit/credit cards). You may wish to bring gardening gloves and wear long sleeves to protect against scratches from prickly bushes.
  • Bring a cooler with ice packs for transporting your freshly picked produce.
  • Many U-Pick farms can accommodate large groups and often have picnic and barbecue facilities; phone and ask.
  • A website with more useful tips:

Grove Berry Patch:   52430 Range Road 265, Spruce Grove (1.5 km south off Highway 16A on Spruce Valley Road aka Range Road 265).    Kameron and Carol Jones welcome you to their 20 acres of saskatoon bushes and 1 acre of raspberries, chokecherries, black currants, high bush cranberries and vegetables.  Open daily 9 AM to 6 PM and evenings by appointment.  Open 9 AM till dusk during saskatoon season (July and August).  Wheelchair accessible.  Phone ahead to check on conditions and availability:  780-962-5824.

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamRoy‘s Raspberries26421 Hwy 16A, Acheson:   located just east of Spruce Grove, south of Hwy 16A on Range Road 265.   20 acres of raspberry bushes, 10 varieties of red raspberries, 2 varieties of golden.  Open daily 8 AM to 8 PM until Labour Day; after Labour Day, open reduced hours until severe frost.  For more information contact manager Harvey Boyko at 780-962-3959 or email

Dunvegan Gardens:  Located at 215 St (aka Winterburn Road) and 23 Ave, Edmonton.  Raspberries, saskatoons, black currants.  No pesticides used.  Open May to August Monday to Friday 9 AM to 8 PM, Saturdays 9 AM to 6 PM, Sundays noon to 5 PM; September to April Monday to Saturday 9 AM to 6 PM.  Also operates a greenhouse and garden centre.  For more information phone 780-470-0565 or email

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSaskatoon Valley OrchardsBox 19, Site 502, RR 5, Stony Plain:  6 km south of Stony Plain to Secondary Hwy 627; 13 km west on 627 to RR 22; 1 km south.  11,000 saskatoon bushes:  Smoky, Northline, Thiesson, Honeywood varities.  Open July and August, 8 AM to 9 PM.  For more information phone 780-963-8311 or email

Happy Acres U-Pick:  1 52225 Range Road 273, Spruce Grove:  5 km south of Spruce Grove on Golden Spike Road.  Chemical-free strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons, rhubarb, apples, currants, Nanking cherries + wide variety of vegetables.  Also offer farm eggs and honey.  Open Wednesday to Sunday 10AM to 9 PM.  Phone 780-968-0099, or email

Market Gardens

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamInspired Market Gardens:  Located at 52207 Range Road 25 near Carvel (35 minutes west of Edmonton).  Specializing in culinary herbs, edible flowers, and salad greens raised using all-natural growing conditions and sustainable agriculture methods, and naturally organic pastured poultry.  Hours for 2010:  May 1 to June 27, Wednesday to Saturday 10 AM to 5:30 PM, Sunday noon to 5 PM.  July to September, Saturdays noon to 5 PM.  Home of the World Bassett Hound Races!  For more information phone 780-968-4648 or 1-877-874-4455, or email

B.A.’s Market Garden:  Box 31, Site 460, RR 4, Stony Plain:  ½  mile south of Stony Plain, west on 524, follow to the end. At the entrance to Hasse Lake Park.  Barry Altheim markets fresh vegetables all year round.  Phone 780-963-0574.

Garden Valley Organic Orchards:  27212 SH 627, Spruce Grove:  3 km west of Edmonton on Hwy 16A; 10 km south on Hwy 60; 9 km west on secondary hwy 627 (Garden Valley Road), or 10 km south of Spruce Grove on Golden Spike Road aka secondary hwy 788 to secondary hwy 627; 1 km east.  Available for u-pick:  strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons, apples, chokecherries, black currants, rhubarb + wide variety of fresh vegetables.  Spring/summer Monday to Saturday 9 AM to 8 PM, Sunday 9 AM to 3 PM.  Phone 780-963-9370.

Home Grown Food & AgriProducts10 – 19 Granite Drive, Stony Plain.   Phone 780-963-5305.  Open Monday to Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM.  While technically not a “market garden”, this health food store is included in this list because of its commitment to fresh, locally grown, organic products.  From their website:  Homegrown Foods is here to provide you with the finest quality fresh, natural, organic, whole foods, nutritional products, body care products and health information in a fun comfortable clean, safe environment. We also have an extensive gluten free product line along with organic/hormone free meats & a large assortment of wild fish. 

 Did we miss some facilities that should be included in this list?  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at or contact me here.

Stony Plain: Top 9 Reasons to Live Here

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Stony Plain:  Top 9 Reasons to Live Here |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

1. Location

Real estate’s number one criterion really plays out in Stony Plain.  Located within Parkland County 8 km west of Spruce Grove and 17 km west of Edmonton, Stony Plain has easy access to all the amenities of both cities.  The town retains its rural roots while offering modern transportation options via Highways 16, 16A and 43, as well as rail and bus links.  Travel times:  roughly ½ hour east to Edmonton (great for commuters), an hour to the Edmonton International Airport, 3 hours west to Jasper, 3½ hours south to Calgary, 4 hours north to Grande Prairie.  Take a look at Stony Plain’s official website.

2. Lifestyle

Quiet small town atmosphere, 14,000 friendly residents, safe and secure streets, along with every convenience of modern life.

3. Neighborhoods

Many towns claim to cater to every taste and budget but Stony Plain truly does have something for everyone:  condos and low-rise apartment buildings in Downtown Stony Plain, mobile and modular homes in Meridian Meadows, all the way up to luxury homes on acreage properties within town limits in Country Plains Estates.

4. 100+ Years of History (a website that has regrettably been discontinued) had this to say:  “The Town has a pride in its history which began in 1881 when the first homestead in the area was documented. In 1892 the area was known as Dog Rump Creek until a post office was named for the region and it became Stony Plain. In 1907, Stony Plain’s first Sheriff, Israel Umbach, made national headlines when he chained a locomotive to the railway tracks for non-payment of taxes and changed the course of history. In 1908 Stony Plain was officially incorporated as a town. Stony Plain’s history is kept alive through its murals program, numerous historic sites, and the Multicultural Heritage Centre.”   Interested in learning more about the rich history and interesting tales of this area?  Check out Along the Fifth: A History of Stony Plain and District.

5. Unique Downtown Character and Hospitality

Stony Plain:  Top 9 Reasons to Live Here |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Twenty-six larger-than-life outdoor murals, historic buildings such as the Stony Plain Hotel which dates from 1906, quaint shops, and one-of-a-kind restaurants make it a treat to stroll through the downtown core of “The Town with the Painted Past”.

6. Multicultural Heritage Centre

Stony Plain:  Top 9 Reasons to Live Here |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo much to explore!   Housed in two buildings, the Old Brick School built in 1925 and the Oppertshauser House which dates from 1910, the Multicultural Heritage Centre with its beautiful landscaped grounds and gardens features displays and exhibits of local history and pioneer life, a gift shop and art gallery, Wild Rose Library and archives, and the much-loved Homesteader’s Kitchen restaurant, famous among locals for its fresh pies!  Also worth a visit is Stony Plain’s Pioneer Museum (5120 – 43 Ave) which hosts the Pioneer Harvest and Old Time Threshing Bee in September.

7. Festivals

Summer festivals reflect Stony Plain’s strong rural traditions.  Late May/early June features Farmers’ Days and Kinsmen Rodeo, complete with parade, midway, carnival games, arm wrestling competition and more old-fashioned fun.  The Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Music Festival, attracting well-known names and world-class performers, takes place each July (celebrating 25 years in 2010), followed in August by the Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

8. Farmers’ Markets

Fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade goodies, and handmade craft items are in abundance every Saturday morning 9 AM to 1 PM from mid-spring to early winter at the Stony Plain Farmers Market at the Stony Plain Community Centre (5008 – 51 Avenue) and at the Heritage Farmers’ Market (located at the Multicultural Heritage Centre).

9. Recreation

Everything you can imagine!  Sports of all kinds for all ages (soccer, hockey, baseball, basketball, golf, curling, skating, skiing, martial arts, BMX, you name it!), gymnastics, dancing, clubs of every description, and much more.  For specific details visit the Community Connections section of my website  and scroll down to Sports and Recreation.  But there’s more.  Stony Plain also has an extensive parks and trail system running through town, and is just a few minutes away from the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre  with its spectacular sports facilities and the Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area in Parkland County, as well as numerous other lakes and campgrounds.

Stony Plain:  Top 9 Reasons to Live Here |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhat a great place to live, wouldn’t you agree?  Contact me now for your Stony Plain Real Estate needs.

Life Expectancy and Your Home

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Life Expectancy and Your Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou’ve just moved into your new home, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, and you plan to enjoy and use your new property for many years.  The last thing on your mind at this time is the expense and aggravation of unexpected repairs.

Did you know that each element in your home has a predictable life span, an approximate time limit to a trouble-free operation?  If you know what this life expectancy is, you are in a better position to plan for the inevitable maintenance that comes with home ownership.

If the roof on your home has asphalt standard shingles, you can expect to have to replace that roof in 12 to 15 years after the home was constructed.   An asphalt premium shingle roof has more than double this life span:  15 to 30 years.  Wood shingles last only 10 to 20 years, while a slate tile roof, although much more expensive to install, is expected to last between 40 and 80 years.

What about home heating and cooling?  Most homes in Alberta have forced air furnaces for heating; 10 to 25 years is their life expectancy.  Central air conditioning will need to be repaired or replaced after 10 to 15 years, while window air conditioning may operate without problems for up to 20 years.

You might be surprised to learn that a hot water heater as young as 5 years may need to be replaced.  After 15 years, it might be a good idea to replace it simply as a precaution since that is the end of its normal expected life span.  Galvanized water pipes are expected to last between 20 and 25 years.  If you live on an acreage with a well and septic system, expect to replace your well pump after 10 years and your septic/sewer pump between 5 and 10 years.

Life Expectancy and Your Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamBudget for home appliance replacement also.  Expect 5 to 12 years of use for both an automatic dishwasher and a garbage disposal.  The range in your kitchen will generally run trouble-free for 15 to 20 years.  In the laundry room, 5 to 15 years for a washing machine and 10 to 25 years for a dryer are standard.

The above information comes courtesy of Pillar to Post Home Inspections.  Click on this link from their Living with My Home website for a detailed chart showing the life expectancies of other home components, as well as approximate repair and replacement costs.

Comments or questions about this article?  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Interest Rate Differentials and Your Mortgage

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Interest Rate Differentials and Your Mortgage |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamEver heard of Interest Rate Differentials, or IRDs?  If you haven’t, and your mortgage contract contains a clause referring to it, you could end up with much, much less from the sale of your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area than you had anticipated.

I just re-read an email from Frank DeAngelis, a Spruce Grove lawyer (contact information below) who often handles the legal side of home sales and purchases for my clients.  Although the email was written a year ago, its content and advice are just as relevant in today’s real estate market:

“In the last few months the Real Estate Department at Main Street Law Offices has dealt with some very surprised and upset Vendors relating to the amount of their mortgage pay-outs. 

“Most Vendors seem to be expecting a three month interest penalty if they pay their mortgage out early.  However, MOST mortgages call for a three month interest penalty or an interest rate differential (“IRD”), whichever is HIGHER.  This higher cost effectively reduces the equity that Vendors have in their existing properties, making their next purchase difficult to complete as they were expecting more equity from the sale of the old house. 

“IRDs can be substantial and are a current concern due to the large decreases in interest rates over the past year.  For example, take a $300,000.00 five year mortgage taken out in 2007 at 6.5%.  With current rates at 4% or less, the pay-out penalty today with three years remaining on the term is $300,000.00 X 2.5% X 3 = $22,500.00

“We strongly recommend that you insist on your clients getting an estimated pay-out statement from their banker, including the IRD pay-out, in any circumstances where reliance is being based on an estimate of equity in the sale property.  This will help avoid closing surprises and assist us greatly in achieving ON TIME TM closings for your referrals. 

“Sometimes the bankers can help resolve the issue by “porting” the mortgage.  Each lender has different policies, so each case has to be addressed on its own merits.  We suggest you involve the bankers early to see what they can do to make this issue less of an impact on closing.” 

Frank C. DeAngelis, Barrister & Solicitor

Barristers & Solicitors
Box 3407, 115 Main Street
Spruce Grove, Alberta T7X 3A7
PHONE:    780-960-8101
FAX:        780-962-3644
Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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