In the Garden: Pick your own berry flavoured fun (2023)

Berry-delicious destination for summer fun Krause Berry Farms is a unique destination for summer fun for families looking to do a day trip with garden-farm-food components. The farm now attracts 500,000 people a year and sells 60,000 pies and also had a marvellous designed cut flower garden plus many other interesting features, such as a berry-wine tasting cowboy bar.

Author of the article:

Steve Whysall

Publishing date:

May 27, 2016May 27, 20166 minute read

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In the Garden: Pick your own berry flavoured fun (1)

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Looking for a fun day trip with a delicious food and garden component you can do with the whole family this summer?

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Then consider a visit to a berry farm. I did it last year with my family at Krause Berry Farms, off 248Street in Langley, and had such a wonderful time, I plan to do it again this summer.

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First, there’s the joy of berry picking —quietly filling little buckets with scrumptious piles of fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Children love picking the sweet, juicy berries and although it is technically not allowed, you’ll find quite a few berries mysteriously never find their way into the bucket. (These juice-stained lips will never tell.)

Berry picking can be a wonderful shared moment with the calm of the countryside all around.

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When the picking is done, there are waffles smothered in berries and topped by whipped cream to enjoy back at the country market as well as a beautiful flower garden to wander around.

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Here, you will find two of the cutest metal crows drinking from spouting water in a bird bath.

And if you like what you see in the flower garden, you can cut some of your favourite blooms to take home in a vase.

Designed by Kelly Schroeder, of Heritage Perennials, this garden was designed to be a pleasant as well as educational “stroll garden” with a succession of blooms from spring to fall.

“I planted flowers of like colour in each row and worked through the rainbow,” says Schroeder. “This way, customers cango to the appropriate row for the colours they want.”

The garden has four circular patios, each surrounded by a different variety of lavender. And there are also four herb beds at the centre, plus a dry garden that requires no watering.In one corner, there is a vegetable patch that supplies veggies for the kitchen.

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New this year is Fresh Family Fun Field, a place where kids can enjoy expending energy by bouncing on huge jump-pads in the shape of a strawberry and pumpkin.

There are also canvas-covered chuckwagons that can be used for a pioneer-style lunch spot. The fun field will also feature live music, as well as various entertaining and educational farm-related activities.

Meanwhile, back in the farm’s country market building, there are pies, jams and syrups to purchase as well as berry wines to taste at a ranch-style winery.

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The farm is all the work of Sandee and Alf Krause, who hit on the idea back in 2002 of doing more than just growing fields of vegetables and sweet berry crops.

“Alf was frustrated that he was taking fruit to the cannery and getting virtually nothing for it,” says Sandee.

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“So we decided to do something different with the fruit and other stuff that came out of the field, and I hit on the idea of making jams and syrups and then pies just like my grandmother made.”

The pies, with their homestyle, pinched edges were as instant hit. Today, the farm sells more than 60,000 pies and has become a top tourist destination, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.

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The pickingseason starts at the end of May when the first strawberry fields open. Raspberries are the next crop followed by blueberries and blackberries in July and August, then back to late-ripening strawberries.

“We basically have a new crop ready to pick every two weeks from early June all through summer,” says Alf.

“You need to set aside about four hours for a visit here. If you come at the right time, you can end up picking three different kinds of berry.”

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Krause berry pies are so popular that many people order them to pick up. Unfortunately, demand reached such a peak a few years ago that some ordered pies ended up being be snatched up by wrong customers.

To prevent this happening, the farm now has a “pie bank” where ordered pies are placed behind bars under lock and key to ensure they end up in the right hands.

In the Garden: Pick your own berry flavoured fun (8)

The Krauses expanded infrastructure in 2006 and again in 2012, added more bakery and kitchen space, plus the winery and a market and gift shop.

Otherrecent additions include a cooking school and corporate and family “farm dinners”.

“I don’t really have an off-switch when it comes to thinking up new ideas, “says Sandee. “The fun field is my idea as a way of doing something special for families.”

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Over the past 10 years, the farm operation has grown from a small family-run business to an enterprise employing 200 people in peak season and offering 100 different products, including many field-grown items, such as asparagus, green beans, nugget potatoes and sweet corn, in addition to berry crops.

Twenty years ago, 95 per cent of the farm’s fruit went to the cannery. Today, 70 per cent is re-purposed into value-added products, while 30 per cent is sold fresh.

“Our primary focus is still as a food producer, and our desire is still to serve our community as best we can,” says Sandee.

Alf concentrates on what he calls the “whole farm” approach, which involves maximizing the benefits of crop rotation along with the most effective integrated pest management methods.

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swhysall@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/stevewhysall

Where to pick

There are more than a dozen other farms around Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley families can visit during berry season. Here is a list from familyfuncanada.com:

Abbotsford
Clayburn Berry Village (34486 Clayburn Road)
Mon toSat 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Maan Farms(790 McKenzie Road)
Open every day 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Willow View Farms(288 McCallum Road)
Daily except Sundays, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Chilliwack
Klaassen Farms(no-spray berries:6695 Banford Road) (other berries:8915 McElwee Rd)
Opens in July for blueberry season

Coquitlam
Gaskin Farms(4350 Oliver Road)
Opens in June for blueberry season

Delta
Bancy Farms(5050 36th Avenue, Ladner)
Opens in July for blueberry season

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Emma Lee Farms(2727 Westham Island Road)
Opens in June8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Langley
Clingan Blueberry Farm(24576 32 Avenue)
Opens mid-July for blueberry season

Driediger Farms(23823 72nd Avenue)
Open every day 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Krause Berry Farms(6179 248th Street)
Open every day 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
U-pick starts in June

Maple Ridge
Formosa Farms(12617 203rd Street)
Open in May by appointment; June for U-pick

Richmond
Cherry Lane Farm(9571 Beckwith Road)
Open every day, except Monday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

DFG Blueberries(11071 Blundell Road)
Opens in July for blueberry season

G J Farm(11300 Number 4 Road)
Open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Birak Farm(4200No 6 Road)
Open everyday from 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Surrey
Blueberries U-pick (18064-32 Avenue)
Opens in July for blueberry season

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Surrey Farms(5180 — 152 Street)
Open every day 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

How to grow berries at home

Tips from journeyman horticulturist Todd Major on how to grow berries in your backyard:

•Plant from February to June but not in July and August.

• Dig deep. Major suggests planting the roots 18 to 24 inches deep. If the plant is too shallow the plant will not be as healthy, and the berries won’t be as juicy.

• Don’t use bone meal or commercial fertilizer. Major says organic isbest:either kitchen compost or animal manure (preferably cow or steer.) Increase the volume of soil with organic amendments by about one quarter.

• Do not use mushroom manure. It is high in salt and has a high Ph, whichcould lead to leaching and yellowing plants.

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• Plants must get six to eight hours of direct sunlight or they won’t flower. They are full sun plants.

• Mulch. Use a layer of bark or composted mulch to protect the soil but do not use a ground cloth or other weed barrier underneath, as ithampers the soil’s ability to breathe.

• Blueberries and currants are easy to grow, while raspberries and blackberries take up more space. Saskatoon, haskap and goji berries will grow here.

• Always water thoroughly after planting.

• If you buy root-bound plants then pinch, slice or tear the root ball gently before planting. Do not be too aggressive with slicing, or you willdestroy the roots.

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