This summer I admit to be totally smitten with berries. Luckily,
I've got a good reason to be happy because just a short drive south
of Vancouver, lies Emma Lea Farms right on Westham Island in Delta,
BC. I'm all for eating local and it's amazing to visit and support
a nearby farm.
While Emma Lea Farms isn't an organic farm, they do use an
integrated pest control management system to minimize the use of
sprays and pesticides. By introducing biological defenses (good
bugs to control the bad bugs) and spraying only when the bad bugs
get out of hand (and before there is any fruit on the plant), they
are able to help keep the area ecologically sound and your berries
I went with a group of friends in our co-op
van to pick strawberries. The berries were unbelievably
delicious; sweet, ripe and juicy and I think each berry gained
extra flavour points from picking it yourself. They were so much
better than the gigantic, styrofoam-like strawberries found in most
grocery stores. I managed to take home $17 dollars worth of
berries, which is a whole lot of strawberries!
This past weekend we decided to head back since a whole new crop of
berries are now ready for picking. With our sunscreen slapped on
and our re-usable ice cream and yogurt containers in tow, we were
ready to pick until we dropped.
We had our choice of six different kinds of berries: raspberries,
tayberries, boysenberries, black currants, blackberries and
loganberries. The blueberries had been over-picked the previous
day, so the only way to pick up a blueberry was by purchasing a
10lb box ($20) at their stand.
Since I can
pick blackberries for free in my own neighbourhood, my first
stop was raspberries. After filling up a one gallon ice cream
bucket, I then checked out the black currants. These were
definitely hard to pick because of their small size. I only managed
to pick 29 cents worth, but it was enough to cram into a batch of scones! Next stop, the tayberry!
Tayberries look like a marionberry (more long than round) but are
black like a blackberry. They were tart and sweet and easy to eat.
Despite all my snacking, I managed to pick two containers full.
Just when I thought the picking couldn't get any better, I
discovered the best berry of all: the large, juicy boysenberry.
I've never tasted a boysenberry before, which Wikipedia says is a cross between a loganberry, a
blackberry and a raspberry. It's deep maroon in colour and the
perfect balance between tart and sweet. Eating them warm off the
vine was like eating candy, but with better health benefits. While
I have plans of jam-making and pie-baking for the rest of my
berries, the boysenberry will be reserved for eating out of
you've finished picking, Emma Lea also offers freshly made
milkshakes, cones and sundaes so that you can cool off after a hard
day's work in their picnic area. So head over to your local
you-pick berry farm and take advantage of all the different
varieties of berries available. Maybe you'll even discover a new
Need ideas on what to do with your berry haul? Get inspired by
2727 Westham Island Rd.
(Watch for the signs over the Westham Island Bridge)
Open until early August from 8:00 am - 7:00 pm, 7 days a
Jeannette Ordas is a Vancouver-based Web designer and Food
Blogger who is probably right now thinking about what she'll make
Market posts are featured every Monday.
Posted: Mon, Aug 04 2008