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By Natalie Marcotte Whether you’re a fan of winter weather matters not at Glow, an immersive festive display of over 500,000 lights under the protective cover of a massive greenhouse in Langley. Work up an appetite exploring the light gardens and traversing the musical light tunnel, and then have your pick of food from the Christmas market, food trucks, and of course, a bar for the adults. A must-try for the kids is a festive lightbulb drink will re-charge the kids between a gift scavenger hunt and snowing bubbles, and allow you to explore the marketplace of boutique wears, decorations and locally made goods. Grab your flashing cranberry drink from Donners’ Bar in a re-usable lightbulb for $8. The outside food truck courtyard features wood-fired pizza, Greek food, tornado potatoes, kettle corn, mac n’ cheese and baked potatoes including a holiday dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce.…

By Catherine Dunwoody Hop in your vehicles for a lazy, autumn drive through Langley in BC’s Fraser Valley to discover the prettiest pumpkin patches and most amazing mazes – of corn that is. The fall season in all its colourful glory makes for a lovely road trip, so load up the car with the family and make a day of it. Your first stop, near the Canadian border, is the city of Langley, where you’ll want to pull over to visit Eagle Acres. For the past 29 years this family owned farm has grown to a whopping 20 acres of pumpkin patches growing 15 varieties, and 5 acres of animal displays in the barns and outside in pens – ideal for inquisitive city kids. The Pumpkin patch is open Tuesday – Sunday until October 31, with tractor-pulled hayrides out to the pumpkin patch to find that perfect Halloween jack-o-lantern, and…

By Kristi Alexandra Carousel rides, mulled wine, live trees, hand-crafted ornaments, and one-of-a-kind gifts can all be found at the Vancouver Christmas Market. Modelled after the European “Christkindlmarkts” of the old world, this relatively new-to-Vancouver tradition draws hordes of locals to its home at the Jack Poole Plaza every holiday season. And those who frequent the market come for the biggest attraction: the food. Housed in huts that recall a true Bavarian experience, here are a few treats to try, from traditional German fare to modern Vancouver flare. Pretzel from Das Pretzel Hut No trip to a German Christmas Market (or anything German-themed, that is) is complete without a big, doughy pretzel. Twisted, braided, salted: whatever you choose, this wheat-filled treat goes best with spiced mustard and washes down well with a beer. Hurricane Potatoes from Das Kartoffelhaus Known sometimes as “tornado potatoes” or “hurricane fries,” this food originated on…

Images by Michele Mateus Words by Alexis Baran The heart of local food that brings all the greens, grains, produce, cheese and meats to our plate isn’t often in our urban centres – it’s mainly found in the people and animals who work the fields and farms. There are several places within Metro Vancouver where you can bring the kids to meet the producers and see farm animals, and a scenic place to start is Langley along the Circle Farm Tour. At Milner Valley, a fifth-generation heritage farm, they specialize in a variety of artisan goat cheese. There is a whole crew of adorable goats to visit on Milner Valley’s farm, who are milked to create the cheese you can buy in their shop. All of the ogling, petting, and taking photos of the goats can get exhausting, so cool yourself with hand-made goats milk gelato, served up in the…

By Anna Black If you’re looking for something fun and different to do in historic Downtown New Westminster, then be sure to check out Fridays on Front, a free family-friendly event. A brand new weekly community experience that launched July 7th, 2017, Fridays on Front runs every Friday from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm until August 27th along Front Street in New Westminster. The event takes place in the 600-block of Front Street, which has recently been transformed into a modern, pedestrian friendly walkway that still retains a sense of industrial character. The fully licensed event offers visitors artisan, farm, meat, baked goods, and dairy vendors from New West Farmers Market and New West Craft, live music from the New Westminster Arts Council, and food trucks from the fifth annual Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest (happening July 29th from 4 pm – 10 pm). This includes Vancouver’s first bar truck,…

By Nikki Hillman You’ll know Rocco’s is passionate about supporting local as soon as you enter the store. The seating area is dominated by two, long wooden tables, built by a company directly across the street, who salvaged fallen trees from within the area. These tables foster traditional Italian family dining and, if you’ve visited Italy, you will be familiar with this concept – and Rocco’s is definitely about family. The store is managed by Andy and Jana Mollica (a retired Air Canada employee) and their trusted employee, general manager and chef, Pat Toynbee. Stop by on a weekday afternoon and you could be entertained by their adorable children as they munch on pepperoni sticks from behind the deli glass. Rocco’s opened in August of 2015 and has quickly become the go-to place for coffee, meats, cheeses and treats. Most of the pastries are made in store; try a café…

By Kathy Mak When it comes to apples, most of us are familiar with the supermarket’s uniform and shiny varieties. Beyond the stores in the Lower Mainland, there’s a range of local apples that are not only celebrated for their flavours but for their historical connection – referred to as heritage apples. For the love of these local apples, the annual Heritage Apple Day (October 1) festivities recently took place at the Derby Reach Regional Park in Langley. This 12th Apple Day festival was a free event held on the site of the original Fort Langley (1827), which is the current Derby Reach Regional Park. In 1839, a new fort was built 4 km upstream from the original and is the present day historical site of Fort Langley. Today, the 12km Fort-to-Fort bike trail links the two fort sites, including a loop at Brae Island Park and the village of…

Photos by Michele Mateus Words by Alexis Baran Goodbye summer heat, hello crisp morning air, vibrant sunsets, giant sweaters, hot apple ciders, and pumpkin spiced everything. Leave the long city shadows for a day and to head where the waning sun lights up expansive golden corn fields. Many of the kind farmers in the Fraser Valley will let you and your family run gleefully through their crop labyrinths – and they also have hot drinks (or cold craft beer depending on where you go), giant trampolines, and many things to climb, drive, and ride. If you are so inclined, they’ll even let you and/or your kids shoot produce out of cannons (yes, there are pumpkin cannons). (A full list of Fraser Valley corn mazes after the photo essay.) Maan Farms Open: August – October Activities: Daytime corn maze, flashlight corn maze (select October dates), haunted corn maze (select October dates),…

By Joanne Sasvari Photos by Joanne Sasvari As long as Steve Easterbrook can remember, he’s been fascinated by birds and, in particular, chickens. “It’s been a lifelong passion for me,” he says, remembering that when he was a young boy, he and a friend would visit a neighbor who raised chickens and game birds. “My friend and I became enchanted with poultry.” It’s not surprising, then, that Easterbrook became an egg farmer. Perhaps the only surprising thing is it took him until he was in his 30s to do so. That’s when he founded Rabbit River Farms, an organic egg producer in Richmond BC. (The company name is a play on his surname: Easter = rabbit; brook = river.) When Easterbrook started the farm in 1993, Rabbit River was the first certified organic egg producer in Canada – in fact, he had to write the country’s original guidelines for organic…

By Tim Pawsey Somehow, amidst the never ending tsunami of trends and the revolving door of openings and closings, the buffet endures. An array of tastes and flavours offered at a reasonable price is tempting to the eclectic diner and to parents of choosy children, but to really be a hit, a good buffet needs to not only offer variety but also be well tended, with dishes kept warm and replenished as needed. Perhaps because it remains a bastion of family dining, frequently served only on weekends, the buffet is the one holdover from times past that we not only tolerate but celebrate. In Burnaby, which neighbours Vancouver with a thriving community of families and multiculturalism, there are many to choose from, with a strong focus on international cuisine. In Burnaby, Indian buffets rule. Four blocks west of Metrotown, contemporary toned Saffron Indian Cuisine yields both lunch and dinner extravaganzas.…