Mark and Shannon Gadsby | Farmers Restaurant | Nampa, AB
By Tormaigh Van Slyke, Move Up Magazine | Photography By You & Mee
Farmers is a modern licensed Cafe with an eclectic, refinished twist – serving homemade fare and speciality coffee in a clean and bright atmosphere rooted and retrofitted with interesting pieces of local history.
Swing by for an ice cream and some freshly baked goodies or relax at a “buffalo rubbed” table and peruse the menu over a glass of wine. Either way, take a moment to look around, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you see. It’s an experience worthwhile.
MOVE UP: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN THIS RESTAURANT?
Shannon Gadsby: We were actually involved in the vision of this whole building from the very beginning due to fact my mom was part of the historical society. Mark’s a carpenter by trade and I am a landscape and urban designer, so my mom asked if I could come up with a plan for the property. Then, fast forward. [The Historical Society] got funding and partnered with the county and the building got built. Later, we put in a proposal to do the restaurant and we were successful. Looking back, it’s interesting how it was kind go my mom’s vision in the beginning. Sometimes I think it was her plan to bring me back.
Our background experience in the food industry started about five years ago. Mark and I left our careers and we bought the title 500 square foot cafe at Sun Peaks, which is a ski hill in BC. It was really run down and had no customers. We renovated it and built it from the ground up, and now it’s thriving and doing really well.
WHAT WAS YOUR VISION WHEN YOU WERE BUILDING FARMERS?
S: People drive through all the time to go to Alaska or NWT and it would be cool to have a nice, funky place to stop. We want to host events and partner with the museum and businesses in Nampa to create a whole Nampa experience. So, our vision was to incorporate the fact we have the museum in the back and to tie in a bit of Nampa history by reusing materials from the area in a brand new way – recyclesd but not at all run down looking.
You’ll see tons and tons of things here. For instance, the beams we repurposed from our friend Sherry Crawford’s old grain sheds. Then, a lady from Harmon Valley gave us some buffalo shoots, for loading buffalos onto the truck, and Mark built the tables from them. We called them buffalo rubbed tables. Mark made the lights too. They are custom made.
WHAT DINING EXPERIENCE ARE YOU TRYING TO CREATE?
S: This is the type of place where you can come for a relaxing meal or you can grab and go. Either way, you’re likely going to get something homemade.
TELL ME ABOUT THE CARE AND ATTENTION YOU TAKE WHEN SELECTING YOUR INGREDIENTS AND YOUR RECIPES?
S: Everything is grown or produced in Alberta.
WHAT KIND OF FLAVOUR PROFILES ARE YOU TRYING TO CREATE? ARE THET INSPIRED BY A PARTICULAR TYPE OF CUISINE?
S: There’s definitely a Ukrainian flair and some German too. We listen and respond to what people like, and when we have a Ukrainian plate, it sells out every time.
We sell homemade perogies. We have a perogy poutine, which is four perogies over a poutine. We also sell perogies as part of our breakfast plates.
WHAT’S YOUR “MUST-TRY” DISH?
Mark Gadsby: The Bürgermeister. The Bürgermeister actually is Sherry Crawford’s rendition of a burger.
S: The word Bürgermeister means mayor in German, and where it came from is Sherry’s Dad used to be the mayor in Nampa, so she named the Bürgermeister after her Dad. It’s a 6 oz beer and pork patty that we bring in, and it’s got sauerkraut, mustard, tomato, lettuce and it’s on a pretzel bun so its our own. It’s a really great burger if you want to try something different.
The other must try is the black bean veggie burger. We make our veggie burger in-house. People can be a little hesitant to try a veggie burger, but they are just amazing. It’s got the texture of meat, but it’s a vegetarian burger with lots of flavour. It’s really good.
HOW DO YOU WANT POSITION YOURSELVES IN THE MARKETPLACE?
S: We really want to serve this little community of Nampa, but also we want to become known as a destination – somewhere to come for a special date night, or if you’re showing visitors the Peace Region.
M: We are amazed how many times people drive from Peace River on their lunch break because it’s a 20-minute commute. It’s neat to see that.