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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Featured: The Sweet Life: Local Berries in Season!

It's been a grey start to summer, but the local crop of strawberries has begun, slowly but surely.

Never had them before? Local strawberries are generally smaller than their imported counterparts -- which are picked before they are ripe -- but what these lack in size, they make up for in flavour and sweetness.

Source: The Richmond Reel

When the June-bearing varieties are exhausted in early July, late everbearing strawberries will start to ripen and, if weather is good, the crop will provide fruit through September.

The June strawberries are perfect for eating, while in July, the sugar content of the berries peaks, making them perfect for making jams and preserves.

Local strawberries are in stores now, but if you're feeling adventurous, a number of farms in the Lower Mainland also offer "u-pick" programs. People pay a fee and pick their own, saving a few dollars off the cost of strawberries in grocery stores.

Not all farms are ready for u-pick season yet and it's difficult to predict the exact opening dates for most, so farmers strongly urge customers to call ahead to ensure fields are open. Heavy rain will also close most fields.  The local picking season begins in mid- to late-June and lasts for about a month.

Source: Canadian Veggie

Not a fan of strawberries?

There are also a number of blueberry farms that offer u-pick programs. Others offer raspberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, and more!

Approximate Picking Dates
(Source: Emma Lee Farms)

: June 14 to July 10
Raspberries: July 1 to July 25
Tayberries: July 5 to July 20
Blackcurrants: July 15 to August 1
Blackberries: July 15 to August 20
Blueberries:  July 15 to August 20
Boysenberries: July 15 to August 1

Where to Pick Local Berries
Please call farms ahead before you go to make sure their fields are open for picking.

Bissett Farms 2170 Westham Island Road, Delta (map) (604) 946-7471
Berries: Blueberries, currants (red, black, and white), raspberries, marion berries, gooseberries, tayberries, blackberries

Clingan Blueberry Farm
24576 32nd Avenue, Langley (map) (604) 534-7360
Berries: Blueberries

Driediger Farms
23823 72nd Avenue, Langley (map) (604) 888-1665
Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries

Emma Lea Farms
2727 Westham Island Road, Delta (map) (604) 946-8216
Berries: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, tayberries, boysenberries, blackcurrants

Krause Berry Farms
6179 248th Street, Aldergrove (map) (604) 856-5757
Berries: Strawberries

No. 5 Blueberry Farm
7040 No. 5 Road, Richmond (map) (604) 836-7888
Berries: Blueberries

Surrey Farms
5180 152nd Street, Surrey (map) (604) 574-1390
Berries: Raspberries

W & A
 Farms 17771 Westminster HIghway, Richmond (map) (604) 278-5667
Berries: Strawberries

For a list of u-pick farms in BC and further details, please visit the Pick Your Own website: http://www.pickyourown.org/canadabc.htm

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