When it comes to holiday travel, Vancouverites are not limited solely to destinations available by plane or ferry, especially when it comes to foodies and fans of slow and local food cultures.
Just 30 minutes from the city, the Township of Langley is pushing to make its mark on the agri-tourism map by offering year-round tours of everything from wineries to cheese makers to dairy farms. So for anyone who really wants to know where their food comes from, Langley is a great place to start.
It’s not just food growers and producers included on the self-guided Langley Circle Farm Tour but also markets, the Thunderbird Show Park and Milner Village Garden Centre, the retail division of Darvonda Nurseries spread across 25 acres under glass.
This past weekend I had an opportunity to speak to several of the producers, growers, farmers, designers and vintners included on the tour and it was a good reminder that while I’ve taken part in similar excursions in more tropical locals, such as Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii, I’ve previously paid little attention to the evolving agri-tourism scene in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
And while I did not partake in the alpaca, supplied by Kensington Prairie Farm, I sampled locally produced cheeses, turkey-based charcuterie and a variety of wines, each produced from grapes grown in the area. Wineries open to the public during self-guided tours include Chaberton Estate Winery and Bacchus Bistro, Backyard Vineyards, the Fort Wine Company, Blackwood Lane Vineyards and Winery and Vista D’Oro Farms and Winery.
und and, depending on the weather, can include a stroll through a berry field, visit to a commercial dairy farm, wine and cheese tastings and an opportunity to watch world-class horse jumping at Thunderbird Show Park. Depending on your interest and time limitations, tours can take an afternoon or be spread out over one or two days.
Other options on the tour include stops at JD Farms Specialty Turkey Store and Bistro and Krause Berry Farms and Estate Winery, where the bumbleberry pie alone makes the trip worthwhile. Meanwhile a visit to Aldor Acres Dairy includes an opportunity to milk a cow by hand, make butter, feed farm animals and see how robotics are used in dairy farming today. Cheese lovers will enjoy a stop at Milner Valley Cheese, a fifth generation heritage family farm and goat dairy where visitors can check out the goat milk gelato and soaps.
During berry season, tour-goers will want to check out the Driediger Farms Market, where they can purchase blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and currents, as well as pies and jams. Other seasonal stops on the tour include Cedar Rim Nursery, the Fort Langley Village Farmers Market and Fort Langley Community Farmers Market.
Because many of these locations sell their products on site, foodies might want to consider a day trip to Langley to collect fresh ingredients for a special dinner where they can impress their guests with heirloom fruits and vegetables, fresh baked pies, specialty turkey products and, for the more adventurous, alpaca.
For more information visit circlefarmtour.com.