On Friday July 15th, 2022 is BC Blueberry Day, and the launch of the BC Blueberry Council’s GoBlueBC.ca website. And seeing as British Columbia is the largest provider of blueberry to Canada, the occasion is well celebrated. BC also ships blueberries to Japan, Korea, and India; with New Zealand as one of the newer markets.
We would learn more about blueberries with a tour of Canwest farms, one such farms dedicated to growing this bumper crop.
We would get a tour of their property including their permanent farmer’s market with fresh local produce and a collection of wares by local artists that they have curated and sourced. Done so in hopes of bringing a sense of community to their neck of the wood. They are looking to doing more events on their property in the future, so be sure to keep your eyes open for those.
We even learned about the machinery they used and their harvesting operations outside of their U-Pick farms. U-pick allows visitors to pick their own blueberries and take them home. A process that is a tad more time consuming as berries ripen individually and not in clusters.
The Berry harvester is only used towards the end of the season. As the start see berries starting to ripen that are more delicate and not all fully blue. With the harvester the operator sits atop and can clear 5-6 acres a day. As the harvester moves between rows, the picking rods shake all the berries loose. They fall to the bottom and are caught by a panel that funnels them back up to the top, where they are gathered into a box.
And not just one type of berry, there are a variety of different types of blueberries classified by the height of their bush, low or high. With names like high bush and low bush, Duke, and Bluecrop. Not easily discernible, but those familiar can do so by their skin colour and taste.
For more on blueberries be sure to visit at GoBlueBC.ca website. It is a hub for all things related to BC blueberries, including activities and recipes that they hope will inspire you get cooking with this versatile crop.
We got a taste of the possibilities through a picnic lunch hosted amongst the blueberry fields of CanWest Farms. A very blueberry focus menu catered by Well Seasoned Gourmet, based out of Langley.
It is as follows.
- Highbush Blueberry & Tarragon Gazpacho with Blueberry Spheres
- House made Savoury Herb Roll with Blueberry Compound Butter
- Wheat Berry Salad with local organic Greens, Watermelon Radish, fresh Peas, Milner Farms Chevre, sweet spiced Pepitas with a Blueberry Vinaigrette on the side
- Fraser Valley Duck Breast, cold smoked and sliced – served with a fresh blueberry gastrique
The GoBlueBC.ca website also includes a full listing of all the different blueberry themed events happening across the province from now until the end of #GoBlueBC season on August 7th, 2022.
For example on BC blueberry day you may have noticed that Vancouver’s iconic BC Place Stadium had its lights turned blue.
And on the following Saturday, downtown Abbotsford hosted a Berry Festival with entertainment, children’s rides, a fishing pond, local crafts, and market-style food options.
UBC’s Blueberry Festival will be held on July 20-22, outside the UBC bookstore. Event goers can enjoy a blueberry pancake breakfast and other blueberry baked goods with chef demonstrations. On the 20th the BC Blueberry Council team will be on-site, and visitors can buy fresh blueberries from a local farmer at the UBC Farm Market.
And the website also includes a chance to enter to win an Zygg E-bike (electric bike). That will be given away to a lucky BC resident in August. To enter and read the full contest rules, head to GoBlueBC.ca. Prize bike is pictured above in blue.
We would get a feel for these though a leisurely bike ride around Richmond’s blueberry farm country. The bike does not feel any different. It just comes with more hardware.
Zygg is the first of its kind in Canada, originating in Toronto, and now new in Vancouver. An E-bike subscription with the goal of making a more practical alternative to driving, more accessible.
Pictured is the black Model R we would be driving. It is the model they are renting by weekly, monthly or yearly plans. The bike is yours to look after with standard wear and tear costs covered. Each bike is approximately $3,000-4,000. It costs about $49 a week and $99 a month for a year.
It rides like a regular bike with cushioned seat that provides plenty of suspension. You can adjust the seat with an Allen key. The rule of thumb is the seat should be at the height of your hip.
The handle bars are where all the options are. After pushing the one button you have your choice of speed options from 0-5. 0 is manual and in that mode you can not accelerate outside of your own pedaling. Pushing down on the throttle gives you a little boost, propelling you forward. The bike can go up to 36km per hour.
Having tried it myself, I can safely conclude it is easy to handle, fun to use and removed a lot of anxiety around cycling on the road; when you have a little extra to play with.
In closing celebrate BC blueberry season by checking out https://gobluebc.ca/ and all the things you can do with blueberries, born and raised in BC.