Follow Me Foodie to the Blueberries
A behind the scenes look at the blueberry production process & a visit to Krause Berry Farms.
Blueberries. It’s one of my favourite fruits and I can literally eat a couple pounds of them in one sitting. Anti-oxidant overload! Sure I could go on and on about how healthy they are and the benefits of eating them… but why? It’s probably something you already know, it’s not really a fruit that needs convincing, and I’m also not exactly a healthy eating blog. That being said, convincing you to eat blueberries would be like me telling you to eat candy, which is probably why the BC Blueberry Council now calls them “Nature’s Candy”.
I was invited by the BC Blueberry Council to tour a couple of the blueberry farms in the Fraser Valley. Yes, please! We started off with a behind the scenes look of the packing facilities at the Silver Valley Farms in Maple Ridge. It was a Mr. Rogers moment, or I guess for a more modern day reference I felt like Mark Summers from Food Network’s show Unwrapped; except even better, this was a candy that required no extra effort of actually unwrapping.
After my private tour of the blueberry packing facilities, I will never look at a box of blueberries the same way again. This was only a mid-sized production plant, but the process it takes to get you a box of blueberries, was more than I imagined. Yeah all those trays in the back… all full of blueberries!
It’s a three stage process just to pick out the perfect blueberries. The first stage removes all the leaves and shrubs, the second stage selects the ripe blueberries, and the third stage is the final “human inspection” stage. Every blueberry gets inspected before it gets packaged, and the unripe blueberries are separated and sent for the use of blueberry concentrate, so there is minimal waste.
It almost looks like the black market for blueberries, but the hoodie uniforms are because the room is freaking cold! They try to keep the blueberries as cold as possible before they’re shipped out and this is the final stage before they get boxed.
I found this part most interesting. Each box is given a unique bar code and if anything ever happens they can scan the container and trace it back to the exact crop and bush to see what went wrong. I’m sure this happens with a lot of products, but to be able to trace where one single blueberry came from out of acres and acres of blueberry crops is more than impressive.
Part two of the tour was something I’ve had on my foodie itinerary the whole summer, but haven’t gotten to yet. It was a visit to Krause Berry Farms. This is pretty much the land version of Splashdown Park or I like to call a “foodie paradise”.
Krause Berry Farms is a family owned “fun working farm”. It offers freshly picked or “U-pick” berry picking for strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, and also corn and fall vegetables for the later months. (In case you’re wondering, yes I dressed for the theme… and yes, I actually did go and pick the blueberries… in those shoes too!)
Of course the “U-pick” part is a draw, but that’s not what makes it special, after all u-pick farms can be found throughout the Fraser Valley and Vancouver’s lower mainland. The main attraction and what sets Krause Berry Farms apart, is their on site “concession”, also known as “The Porch”. The Porch is their mini restaurant that serves food and drinks made with the berries and vegetables grown on their farms. From roasted corn pizzas to freshly baked pies, blueberry kettle corn, and berry ice creams, it is one activity in the summer that is not to be missed.
It didn’t even stop there and the berry madness continued to their on-site Krause Berry Market which featured fresh produce, a bakery, house made preserves, and a frozen food section for you to take home your baked goods.
At the end of the day, needless to say, I was full of blueberries. When it comes to something healthy and delicious, I can pretty much forget about portion control… not that that’s ever a concern on Follow Me Foodie anyways. But I must have eaten at least a couple pounds even just as I was picking them. Being that it was blueberries there was no sugar high, or sugar crash, and despite how many I ate, I didn’t even turn into one. Yup, there was no Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Violet Beauregarde action going on, but pooped from the day I was… and perhaps later on as well. Ha! Whatever, it’s no secret what an over indulgence of blueberries can do to you.
I would highly recommend Krause Berry Farms as a great hands on experience for all ages, and especially families. It’s an educational and fun activity that incorporates all your senses and it teaches children where their food comes from and how it got there. It’s definitely worth the time, energy and gas to go check out!
Restaurant: Krause Berry Farms
Last visited: August 11, 2011
Location: Langley, BC (Langley)
Address: 6179 248 Street Langley Twp
Price Range: $10 or less, $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Family owned
- U-pick berries
- Fresh produce market
- On-site “restaurant”
- On-site bakery
- On-site market
- Outdoor patio
- Petting farm
- Carriage rides
- Gift shop
- Very family friendly
Hours of Operation:
SUMMER Berry Season
Mid June – September 5
Monday – Saturday
8am – 6pm
Sunday – Holidays
9am – 6pm
FALL at the Farm
September 7 – October 9
Wednesday – Sunday
9am – 5pm
**Recommendations: Corn Pizza, Blueberry Ice Cream
The Krause Berry Farms Market generally offers everything that is available from their Porch menu. All the pies, corn pizza, corn chowder, berry ice cream and even pie dough can be purchased frozen or fresh, and of course everything is made from all the fruits and vegetables grown at the farm. There’s even freshly baked loaves of bread, a fresh fudge section, home made preserves, honey, pie fillings and shortbread mix so you can recreate everything at home as well.
I can’t deny the “foodie” aspect of this blog and I have to get into the food. I did get a behind the scenes tour of the Krause Berry Farm’s Harvest Kitchen, and I did get hands on helping them make their Berry Cream Cakes.
Personally I was more impressed with the experience, operation and concept, than I was with the food, which actually became secondary. The food was okay, and it’s all very simple with basic recipes and ingredients. Some of it is fresh and some of it is frozen, but most of it sounded or looked better than it was. It doesn’t matter though because the food and menu are fun and what makes it is the overall experience, which is incredibly exciting! You can’t find this anywhere else and that alone makes Krause Berry Farms unique as a must try foodie destination.
On the table:
- This is their signature and for that reason you should try it.
- It kind of looks more amazing than it actually is and it would be even better served warm.
- It was in between a blueberry scone and a blueberry pizza pocket.
- It’s visually pleasing and the concept is what it has going on, but otherwise the flavour is very simple and you could easily make it at home.
- It didn’t taste like a shortcake, but more like a biscuit.
- It was a basic biscuit and it wasn’t buttery, sweet, or fluffy or made with buttermilk. It was a bit bland, but it was moist.
- It wasn’t cakey or like a muffin, but it reminded me of Bisquick mix topped with cinnamon and a drizzle of simple icing.
- The inside was bursting with whole blueberries and that was the nicest surprise.
- The blueberries didn’t taste very sweetened at all and it just seemed like fresh blueberries.
- The sweetness just depended on how sweet or tart the blueberries were, and sometimes it was a bit tart.
- Overall it looked better than it tasted and it’s something you could try at home, but the idea is great!
- I couldn’t help but to imagine it stuffed with some custard inside too.
- If you’re in the area I would recommend trying the Be ‘wiched Blueberry & Lemon Glazed Scone too.
- Slice $3.99 Whole 10 inch: $12.95
- This is nothing gourmet, so just expect fresh corn and simple ingredients and you’re sure to enjoy it.
- The generous amount of crunchy sweet roasted corn from their farm is the highlight and it’s what gives the pizza the points.
- The pizza crust is quite standard and it seemed like the crusts you would find at the grocery store. It’s a bit thicker, bready and it bakes up soft, but it’s moist.
- The tomato sauce is just a regular tomato sauce and there’s also one large artichoke heart and a few strands of bell peppers, which I thought were caramelized onions on top.
- The pizza is covered with a generous amount of melted mozzarella and cheddar cheese and it was good, but also something you could make at home.
- These are frozen pizzas, so you can take them home as well.
- Slice $3.99 Whole 10 inch $13.95
- The ratio of filling to pie crust is 6:1.
- The crust was flaky and crispy all around rather than tender and I did like it. I do wish it was an all butter crust, but it is a lard crust, hence the crispness.
- The pie actually isn’t that sweet at all and my guess is that there is very little sugar in the pie filling. It’s basically just whole blueberries and maybe some corn starch.
- There’s no spices, honey, maple syrup, or noticeable lemon juice.
- It was a good pie because of the whole fresh and plump berries in the filling, but otherwise it was a pretty standard pie.
- If you’re in the area, another place famous for their pies is Hilltop Cafe Diner – see them here.
- 1 scoop $2.50 2 scoop $3.50
- They offer vanilla, blueberry and perhaps a couple other flavours.
- I was surprised it wasn’t almost a dark blue colour bursting out of control with whole frozen blueberries like everything else was. Nonetheless it was still great!
- Ice cream is my favourite, so I could be biased, but there was a general consensus that this was a great blueberry ice cream.
- The ice cream is made in house, but it’s a pre made ice cream mix and they just add the blueberries.
- It wasn’t that sweet and it was creamy, but not hard. It was a solid blueberry ice cream with great blueberry flavour.
- I think they should offer blueberry lavender ice cream since they grow lavender on the farm too.
- If you like this idea you should try the Blueberry Lavender Coconut Cream Tart at Miku Restaurant.
- I strongly suggest getting the old fashioned berry milkshake over the smoothie. I thought the milkshake was the smoothie, and the milkshake looked so much better.
- This smoothie tasted like 100% blended frozen blueberries with no added sugar, yogurt or dairy products.
- It was very icy and almost tart so even if it wasn’t sweetened, the blueberries weren’t as sweet as they needed to be for the drink.
- I didn’t get to try this.
- Slice $3.99 Whole $15.99
- I didn’t try this, but I did help make one in the kitchen!
- It’s pretty much a trifle cake without the custard, but they load it with berries! I would know because they told me to go as liberally as possible with all the berries.
- It’s a basic shortcake recipe with a light glaze of simple berry syrup, freshly whipped cream and then a very generous layer of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
- Again it’s something you could make at home, but the amount of berries they use does make it worth it.
- Slice $4.50 Whole $15.99
- I didn’t try this either, but apparently this is another best seller.
- I’m assuming it’s the same crispy crust used for their regular blueberry pie and then filled with a very basic custard recipe, topped with a generous amount of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, and coated with a corn syrup glaze.
- Again, visually stunning, but probably something you’ve had before.
- The amount of berries they give you is their signature though, and that’s what makes these so special.