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By Jaclyn Hayward Autumn may be nearing, but lavender season is still in full bloom, so relish and enjoy the sensory experience offered by this captivating and locally-grown herb. Lavenderland opened earlier this summer in Richmond, providing an excellent opportunity to take friends and family on a scented journey exploring endless photo-taking moments and exclusive products and treats. Purple-flavoured anything is delightful, and that goes without saying for this summer’s newest favourite food pairings available exclusively at Lavenderland: lavender-infused gelato, and lavender-infused tea. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Richmond Lavenderland (@richmondlavenderland) Blackball Tea has really captured the flower’s essence and colours with their magnificent purple display of new tea flavours created especially for Lavenderland. Try the Lavender Meet Yogurt drink and be ready to wander the fields refreshed. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Richmond Lavenderland (@richmondlavenderland) Steveston’s Mr.…

by Winnie Tam We were all asked this once: what do you want to be when you grow up? In addition to the usual answers of astronaut, doctor and marine biologist, young people in the Lower Mainland are increasingly considering an alternative profession – farmer. The trend can be attributed to a variety of factors. Some are tired of the nine-to-five grind and want to look for a job that puts them more in touch with nature. Others are motivated by their heightened food literacy and concerns about the global food system. Then there are those who want to shed themselves of technological clutter and return to simpler vocations. Whatever the reason, the demand for knowledge is definitely there, as Kwantlen Polytechnic University runs a popular 10-month program – the Richmond Farm School – that teaches students the skills to engage in small-scale agriculture. Some of the students have gone…

By Kathy Mak The latest point of pride for Peter Breederland is a berry that is virtually unknown in North America but lauded as one of the most nutritionally rich foods on the planet. The ellipsoid, jelly-bean shaped berries are bright orange-red in colour, 1-2 cm long, tart-sweet in flavour, and are most commonly referred to as ‘goji berries’. Breederland, based in the township of Langley, is considered B.C.’s first commercial grower to cultivate and harvest fresh goji berries. Already a successful horticulturalist in the Fraser Valley for the past 23 years, as owner of Topgro Greenhouses (specializing in mini-bell peppers), Breederland jumped at the challenge of growing goji berries when he was looking for a new and unique crop to expand his farm. With little to no existing information to guide him for goji berry farming, Breederland had to pioneer his own growing practice from scratch. After five years,…

By Kathy Mak To truly experience an authentic slice of local life, you can’t get more local than the neighbourhood farmers markets. Whether you’re shopping or browsing, each of the numerous markets showcases genuinely local products and proprietors from all over the Valley. Immerse yourself in sampling seasonal and fresh fare, gourmet treats, and artisanal delights that have been prepared or produced with a regional spin.   Half the fun is being part of the market’s social scene and friendly atmosphere. Chat with other food enthusiasts and meet small-scale but passionate food artisans. You’re certain to enjoy the stories or inspirations behind their unique products. Without a doubt, you’ll be glad you sampled and supported local flavours! On any given Wednesday to Sunday (May to October), there are numerous outdoor farmers markets in and around Vancouver communities. With so many choices, you may want to explore a market a day or…

By Tim Pawsey Most travelers are familiar with Abbotsford viewed from a busy stretch along Highway One, but even a few minutes detour off the road in either direction can lead to hours of entertainment fit for the whole family. Abbotsford is also easily accessible from Washington directly through the Sumas-Huntingdon Border Crossing. Coming from Vancouver, take exit 92 South and follow Clearbrook and Vye Roads to discover Maan Farms, a multi-faceted, small scale theme park that puts on a different, happy face according to the season. In fact, there’s so much to do that families often come here for a good part of the day. Drive up to the large parking lot and you might be greeted by a display of pumpkins or a cornucopian show of mouth-watering fruits and vegetables. However, there’s  more than meets the eye at this spacious farm market, where, while Mom and Dad are tasting…

By Nikki Bayley How about some walnut wine, artisan jam and a picnic under a shady tree? There’s plenty to explore in south Langley and the Vista d’Oro farm makes for a fun day out for all the family. Since taking over an ex-dairy farm in 1997, Lee and Patrick Murphy have created a beautiful 10 acre farm on Campbell Valley Park in the heart of the Fraser Valley, just four blocks from the US border. Growing a mixed bag of orchard fruits such as apples, pears, plums and cherries, there’s a vineyard onsite too, producing their estate-grown Marechal Foch wine. We spoke to co-owner Lee about what’s happening on their farm and why it’s a must-visit for foodies. “We’re part of the Campbell Valley wine route,” says Lee, “There ‘s a great little micro-climate out here; it’s pretty small, just four of us, but people seem to love it.…

Just an hour’s drive from Vancouver lies one of the region’s most delicious culinary destinations: from wineries and cheese makers, to one of the country’s most exciting Indian restaurants, the area surrounding Langley and Surrey has it all. Celebrity chef and famed restaurateur, Vikram Vij is one of the region’s most ardent fans, “It’s like being in the countryside without having to go far from the city,” he enthuses. “You can rent a car and drive through the mountains and past the ocean, you don’t have to take a plane or a ferry, it’s right here and the best of the best foods come from this area. We’re so lucky to have everything to make a great culinary destination right in our backyard.” It’s an area that many visitors might miss out on, but Vikram says they’ll be missing a treat if they do– and he has a few recommendations…

By Alexis Baran In BC, over 15 varieties of apples are harvested each year by the bushel; and you can pick 5 of them right from the trees yourself at Taves Family Farms in Abbotsford. More than just an apple farm, the Taves have turned the land into a seasonal playground and each year they invite families from the west coast and beyond to enjoy their corn maze, tractor trail, bee hive demonstrations, pony rides, and other activities. It all started with an immigrant farmer who came to Canada after his land was seized in his home country during World War II. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, John Taves, an immigrant from Ukraine, purchased a plot of logged land that was little more than grass and stumps in Abbotsford BC. John’s grandson, Loren, recalls helping his family clear the land as a child: “I remember as a 5-year-old…