Whether it’s part of a day at the lake or a trip to a local park, a delectable picnic is as easy as a visit to one of Central Alberta’s many specialty shops to stock up on ready-made gourmet treats.

Whether it’s part of a day at the lake or a trip to a local park, a delectable picnic is as easy as a visit to one of Central Alberta’s many specialty shops to stock up on ready-made gourmet treats.

Central Alberta is a picnicker’s paradise

Your guide to finding your picnic-perfect ingredients

Central Alberta is filled with lakes and trails perfect for picnics.

And if you’re planning ahead and worried about the weather, the City of Red Deer also has a number of picnic shelters that can be reserved through the city website.

For many of us, picnics evoke nostalgic memories of a quick refreshment break between swims or a chance to pause during a hike to sit and enjoy the view.

The food was often a hastily prepared cooler or backpack filled while we rummaged for bathing suits or shorts, made for sustenance rather than a gourmet experience in its own right.

While we can think fondly of the warmish cream sodas and PB&J sandwiches, with today’s slowed-down world and renewed appreciation for everything local, it’s time to take another look at our picnic fare and give it the upgrade it deserves. Whether it’s part of a day at the lake or the reason for a trip to a local park, it’s as easy as a visit to one of the many specialty shops in the area to stock up on ready-made gourmet treats.

Here are just a few of the plethora of choices available in Central Alberta:

Bergen Farm Market Make a day of it and head to Bergen Farm Market just south of Sundre. Open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., from mid-June to mid-September at the Bergen Community Hall in Bergen Alberta, the market promotes healthy, sustainable agricultural products from area growers. You’re sure to find locally produced foods to take your picnic game to the next level.

Sylvan Star Cheese If you’re a cheese fiend, make sure you stop in at Sylvan Star Cheese and visit its well-stocked shop. While renowned for their additive and antibiotic-free gouda, the family-run farm has a large selection ranging from blue and Raclette to Monterey and goat cheeses. They also carry a great selection of crackers and honeys and a well-curated sampling of cured meats from Valbella Gourmet Foods in Canmore, including hard-to-source Bündnerfleisch.

Ranch Gate Market Located in Sylvan Lake, Ranch Gate Market has everything you need for a barbecue picnic, including locally sourced meats and accompaniments. And if you’re a jerky fan, they have a great selection to toss into your backpack to eat while you’re on the trail.

Central Alberta Co-Op One stop shopping at its finest, Central Alberta Co-op has a great selection of picnic basket items. Pick up a selection of charcuterie, fresh veggies, dips and breads to satisfy your hunger.

Local breweries – If you’re confining your picnic to your backyard, drop by one of the many craft breweries in Central Alberta for a growler of your favourite quaff. Red Hart Brewing and Troubled Monk in Red Deer and Snake Lake Brewery in Sylvan Lake are all great choices with beers that make the most of the area’s malt barley.

Plan your adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller

AlbertaCanadaFamily activitiesFoodStaycation secretsThings to do

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The team that disconnected, lifted and loaded the old Bobtail Road bridge. (Photo submitted)
Bobtail Road bridge moves to new home in Meridian Beach

The 100-year-old bridge was moved Jan. 14

Whether the Town of Ponoka gets enough ‘bang for its buck’ under its Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) membership was discussed during town council March 26.
File photo
Town of Ponoka appoints Sandra Lund as CAO

Ponoka town council voted unanimously at its regular meeting on Jan.12 to… Continue reading

Kelowna RCMP Stock Image.
Ponoka RCMP respond to several B&E’s

Calls include complaint of a spray painted garage

Black Press file photo
Maskwacis male charged with 2nd degree murder

18-year-old Kaydence Clark Roasting of Ermineskin Cree Nation was arrested at his residence.

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
750 new COVID-19 cases identified in Alberta Sunday

Central zone currently has 1,182 active cases of the virus

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Catherine Hay. Photo Submitted
Central Albertan lobbying government to help those affected by CERB repayments

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Lacombe is looking at its options for reclaiming sewage lagoons that are no longer needed. Vesta Energy Ltd. has signed a deal to use three lagoons to store water for fracking.
Map from City of Lacombe
Energy company to use former Lacombe sewage lagoons to store water for fracking

Vesta Energy Ltd. will pay Lacombe more than $100,000 a year in 20-year deal

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Monday that11 more people had died from COVID-19, bringing the province’s death toll to 1,447. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Eleven more Albertans die from COVID-19

There were 739 people in hospital, 120 in ICU on Monday

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

The Mountain Cree Traditional Band headquarters in Mirror, Alta. has been the target of theft and vandalism. (Photo submitted)
Mountain Cree Traditional Band’s headquarters broken into five times

AWNTB says not enough been done to deter crime in Mirror, Alta.

Most Read