Monday, June 27, 2011

Fun at the strawberry patch: Westham Island, Ladner, BC


June is strawberry month where we live, and if you're looking for something fun to do outdoors with your kids this time of year, going to a strawberry U-Pick farm might just fit the bill. My family went in the morning and returned home before lunch with 28 lbs of fresh berries!

Just like last year, we went to Bissett Farm on Westham Island, located in Ladner. I like Bisset Farm because it's low-key, and has an amazing variety of berries. Right now it's all strawberries, but in a couple of weeks there will be raspberries, tayberries, marionberries, blackberries, currants, and more available. Also, the farm's U-pick fields are located away from the road, so it's nice and peaceful while you're picking.

Because of the cooler, cloudier weather this spring, the berries were not quite as big or sweet as last year. Still, they were yummy, and we now have a freezer full of freezer jam and frozen whole strawberries.

Strawberry Fields forever.
The kids love strawberry-picking. They are very enthusiastic about finding the berries and filling their buckets. And they're fast too! I think we got our 28 lbs in about 40 minutes. Later in the year we usually take them blackberry picking in the "wild", meaning some dirt road somewhere or other. Sure, some of the strawberries they get might be a little on the half-ripe side, but that's OK. Once it's mashed and mixed, it's all good, sweet jam anyway.

I think our strawberry picking at Bisset Farm is going to make a nice annual family tradition. It has a lot going for it: fun outdoors while working together as a family, fresh strawberries, and a freezer full of berries and jam.

View of Westham Island. It's really, really flat.
Westham Island is a nice place to visit for many reasons. There are several strawberry U-Pick farms, and lots of  places selling various farm-fresh products depending on the time of year, including honey, herbs, fruit, berries, and eggs. The island is also home to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary which is a nice place for a walk and some birdwatching.

If you're in British Columbia and looking for a berry farm, this website and map by the BC Strawberry Grower's Association can really help!

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