Crystal Ridge Farm & Artisan Gallery
By Shelley Kroes
We’ve found a unique experience just beyond the border of Huron County that we couldn’t resist sharing. Crystal Ridge Farm and Artisan Gallery is a creative outdoor space and gallery that, when combined, provides a person visiting the farm both blueberries for picking in season (season is expected to start by the first of July this year, check Facebook or website for exact hours) and the opportunity to shop the on-site gallery. Crystal Ridge Farm & Artisan Gallery is owned by Mike & Charlene Hamilton. The name Crystal Ridge is due to the farm sitting on a gravel ridge with crystal clear water filtering through it. The acreage is like a gem to the couple so the word crystal also seemed fitting for the Farm.
The gallery includes wood turned items created by Mike. Mike mentioned that he always liked working with wood, so when his wife Charlene stopped using the current gallery space for her work in upholstery and canvas, where she made boat and car tops for 23 years, it led to the development of the studio as a place to exhibit the wood-turning work. There are also locally sourced quilts there, as well as stained glass, pottery, paintings, jewellery and knitting; all crafted raw or handmade within a one-hour distance.
The blueberry orchard. growing early, mid-season, and late varieties, is nestled among beautifully landscaped shrubs, trees and a nearby pond. Charlene explained that this pond is a thriving ecosystem, providing natural fertility to the blueberries, in addition to the water. The blueberries were first planted in 2014 and according to Charlene, pests and fungus are reduced by the farm’s natural approaches to management of the blueberry orchard, eliminating the need for any sprays. For example, the distance they planted the blueberries apart in the row reduces the growth of fungus. Adding to the natural ecosystem are wild bees, and hives on the Farm are home to honey bees. The bees are a welcome sight as their pollination is the key to producing a bountiful blueberry crop.
The Farm is open to visitors from June till Thanksgiving this year Stay tuned on their websites as well, since Crystal Ridge Farm & Artisan Gallery plan to host an Art Day, Fibre Day and Christmas Shopping Days at the Farm in the future. www.crystalridgefarm.ca or www.crystalridgeartisangallery.ca 7557 Lakeshore Rd, Lambton Shores