Riley Friesen, Prairie Wild Organics

Riley’s been a part of the Churchill Wild/Reimer family since his early teen years when he met Mike and Jeanne’s daughter Karli. It didn’t take long before Riley found out what her parents did and began looking for an opportunity to join the team.

Riley spent his first summer at Seal River Heritage Lodge at the age of 15, helping with maintenance of the lodge and equipment. It only took one summer to catch the Hudson-Bay-bug and become hooked on northern life. It was also around this time that he caught the love-bug and began pursuing a relationship with Karli. Throughout high school he studied culinary arts and continued to spend summers working at the lodges.

A man of many talents, he spent his first full season with Churchill Wild as part of the maintenance team and when Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge was purchased in 2010, put his culinary skills to good use as the lodge’s chef.

Riley’s career with Churchill Wild and his relationship with Karli blossomed over the next five years. He continued to hone his culinary talents, working alongside Karli in the kitchens at both Nanuk and Seal River, while also helping with construction projects in the off-season.

In 2013, Riley and Karli got married (yay!), and since then has studied aviation mechanics in British Columbia and woodworking in Germany. While in the land of bratwurst and beer, he noticed and developed and appreciation for an emphasis on seasonal eating within the community.

Now back in Manitoba, an earlier spark of interest in gardening and horticulture has been reignited by his time in Germany. In 2019, Riley launched Prairie Wild Organics with a modest orchard planted on the Reimer estate. 2020 saw the addition of a large garden and greenhouse designed to provide fresh fuel for our guests after days out trekking the tundra in search of polar bears.

Further expansions of Prairie Wild’s orchard and gardens are on the horizon—stay tuned to see what Riley has planned next!