What’s the connection between local farms and your fork? BC farmers produce over 200 different commodities that wind up on your table every day, from the sweet blueberries in your breakfast smoothie, to the tomatoes in your salad! Because August is the peak of summer flavours, we celebrated with a giveaway, and a look at some of the remarkable BC foods in season right now.
To help, we sent three adventurous bloggers on trips to tour some local farms, and they shared their photos and stories with us over on our Instagram feed. We didn’t stop there: we asked you to tell us about the farms you would like to visit too, and in return we offered a gift card to Save-On-Foods worth $250 -- because if you can’t get out to the farm, your local grocery store is another great place to find fresh, locally-produced food. Congratulations to our giveaway winner, Instagram user @joannstu! This giveaway is now closed, but to find out about future giveaways and to see our bloggers' beautiful farm photos, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
We sent Andria Millard (founder of the parenting and lifestyle blog The Cheerio Diaries) on a behind the scenes tour of Klaassen Farms in Rosedale to see how BC blueberries are grown. “We toured the farm, an amazing 100 acres, checking out their 5 different types of blueberries. Did you know there were different types of blueberries? I sure didn’t.” she posted. “We were given a hands-on picking guide as to how to select the perfect berry without over handling it, the importance of leaving the white powdery coating on and of course taste-testing our pickings!”
In a second post, Andria also shared why this has been a special harvest for blueberry producers. “Blueberry U-pick season might be over, but thanks to our amazing spring weather this year has been a surplus year for the 600+ BC blueberry growers. They produce an average of 150 million pounds of blueberries annually, which means local farms like @chilliwackblueberries still have plenty of berries available!” says Andria. Check out this gorgeous photo of her family picking blueberries on Instagram, plus this shot of how her kids decided to celebrate post-pick! Andria added: “After our farm visit I’m even more convinced that buying local food from our BC farmers is a great choice!”
Next up was Nora Hamade, founder of the food and travel blog Nom Nom YVR. She visited Houweling’s Tomatoes, and toured their greenhouses. “(I) learned so much about how these delicious and nutritious gems are grown. Many varieties of tomatoes are grown sustainably year-round in BC greenhouses. The southern coast of BC makes this region the best conditions for growing tomatoes and many other vegetables.” She also shared an amazing recipe for tomato tart created using BC greenhouse tomatoes - find it on our website and try it tonight! To get a taste of her tour, click on her Instagram story, and to find out more about BC greenhouses, check out our blog post.
We also had Pavlina Toren, founder of the lifestyle blog Cupcakes and Life, share her visit to Farming Karma. “Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a local tree-fruit farm here in Kelowna. @farmingkarma produces cherries and apples. They even turn their local apples into a delicious apple soda. We walked through the orchard and got a behind-the-scenes look at how much work goes into the production, and of course, tasted some incredible BC cherries. Did you know….95% of the cherries grown in Canada are produced right here in BC?” Pavlina shared more to love about BC cherries in a second post: “I love supporting local by purchasing and eating delicious BC food products. On my recent visit to @farmingkarma in Kelowna I learned that 80% of cherry varieties grown world-wide were actually developed in BC! In fact, Skeena and Staccato (among others) were bred right here at the Summerland research station. WE ARE SO LUCKY TO LIVE HERE!l” We agree! To learn more about BC cherries, check out this blog post from our archives.
If these stories have you motivated to visit your local farms, check out this handy farm-tour finder from BC Agriculture in the Classroom. There are also great directories to local farms from many of the BC farmer associations. Here are just a few to get you started: Blueberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries. To find out about future giveaways and get connected with more BC farmers and ranchers, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.