The SandyView Story
The Early Years: 1920's to 1960's

Began as a mixed farming operation that was started in the mid 1920's by Rudy Gitzel and his wife Elizabeth, south of Spruce Grove in the Garden Valley area raising dairy cattle, pigs, chicken, and horses.

Rudy & Elizabeth had 7 kids (5 girls & 2 boys). Gerald the youngest son was the only one who showed interest in taking over the family farm. Mixed farming was not his passion, but dairy farming is where Gerald believed his future to be.

Gerald left the farm at an early age to work on the oil rigs to earn enough money to buy more dairy cattle. As Gerald added one or two cows at a time, his parents milked the cows and were able to ship milk and cream to create a small income. When the heard grew to 20 dairy cattle plus young stock Gerald moved his wife Selma and 2 children to the farm in to help work on the farm (1967).  This is when the farm became known as SandyView Farms because of the sandy hills that were on the farm.

Gerald continued to work on the rigs until 1969, when he could finally make a living on the farm. Even though the dairy herd continued to grow, pigs and chickens were still being raised for food for the family and to sell.

Growing, Changing, Overcoming
By 1971 Gerald and Selma had 2 more children and were well on their way to achieving the dream of raising their family on the dairy farm. Rudy and Gerald would butcher animals every year for food on the table and to make Bratwurst sausage for relatives, friends and of course the Gitzel family. The Bratwurst recipe was a traditional family recipe brought over from the old country that we are still currently making today.

The Bratwurst was made by hand using a small hand crank sausage press and a small wood building was used to do the smoking. In 1969 the dairy herd was about 30 cows; by 1982 the herd grew to 150 dairy cows, 250 steers, and replacement heifers. As the years went by the dairy herd grew bigger, but Gerald and Selma decided to still raise pigs and chickens to sell every year. Relatives and friends were always around when it came time to make the Bratwurst, it was a yearly event that brought everyone together.

The years went by and everything was going really well until 1985. Gerald and Selma were adding more dairy cattle to their herd from another farm auction, but these cows were diseased and had infected the rest of the herd. Thousands of dollars were spent to cure the disease, but it was eventually determined that there was no cure. All the dairy cattle had to go for slaughter and left Gerald and Selma with no income to continue farming. There was still young stock, but they brought no income, so to make ends meet the old garage that was used to make Bratwurst in over the years was converted into an inspected facility and this is when SandyView Farms the Meat Processors was born.

This new venture started of selling sides of beef and of course started selling our Bratwurst which everyone loved so much. Things were starting to look up when tragedy hit again. While starting the meat processing facility, Gerald was still farming the fields to help make ends meet. One night during harvest Gerald had an accident while cutting corn silage. His boot had been caught in the silage cutter and the machine was beginning to pull him in. Gerald was able to brace himself and pull his way out, but by this time most of his foot was missing.

This was an extremely rough time as Gerald was in the hospital for many weeks. Selma and the kids had to continue processing meat in order to survive while Gerald was in the hospital. Eventually, Gerald recovered and was back working. We were still making all sausage by hand and had built a new smokehouse out of cement blocks to smoke more sausage in less time.

The struggle to make ends meet continued, once Gerald's farming career came to an unwanted end, it was time to focus on SandyView Farms the meat processor. Gerald began to market the Bratwurst to local Co-op stores and other small grocery outlets. Delivering during the day and making sausage at night.

The SandyView Farms You Know
New products eventually were developed in order to grow the business. Meanwhile the farm was sold to try and pay debt that resulted from the diseased cattle. Therefore, a new facility was needed to continue processing. Gerald took on a partner and built a new facility in Stony Plain. Unfortunately, after one year the partnership and the new building were not the best fit for what was needed for growth. In 1992 Gerald then moved the business to Spruce Grove were it operated for about 10 years. New products continued to be added, as well as catering and soup & sandwiches.  Brent, the youngest son during this time was helping out with the business and eventually started to look after the operations of the business.

In 2002 it was time to expand again. However, this time is was a much larger expansion than ever before. Moving from a 2000sqft building to one over 8000sqft was a huge jump. The new expansion included a larger production area, a full service deli, 80 seat restaurant and a catering kitchen. We decided to stop delivering to grocery stores and instead started to focus on building our own in store sales.

The business continued to grow and over the past 10 years has been really molded into what exists today.

The future is an exciting time for SandyView Farms. We are focused on refining our products, procedures and policies so we can position ourselves for future expansion. In fact we have just added another retail location in St. Albert. This location is only a retail outlet (delicatessen) that sells all products we produce in our current location.