Saturday, 20 July 2013

Krause Berry Farms

The joys of summer: continuous sunshine, no school (unless you go to summer school, then I pity you), sleeping in, eating icy treats, family vacations, trips to the beach, and berry season.

Every year, I look forward to my U-Pick adventure at Krause Berry Farms. No need to buy tiny boxes of berries at ridiculous prices, just pick the very best for yourself at only $1.75 a pound! I am so thankful that British Columbia is home to a variety of beautiful berries. I grew up vising berry farms for U-Pick; nearby home, in Penticton, but this farm in Langley has to be my favourite. 

Since my first visit to Krause Berry Farms years and years ago, they have expanded and upgraded in so many fantastic ways! New tables on 'The Porch' and in reused wagons can accommodate many more people during meal times, the bathrooms have more stalls, the market sells even more great finds, and they even have a cafe with fresh berry waffles and live music. Recently, they even opened their own winery! Krause Berry Farms has evolved into so much more than just a berry farm. Their market sells pre-picked berries if you would rather not get down and dirty in the fields, fresh vegetables, frozen pies and pizzas, preserves and jams, and other random knick-knacks. On this particular visit, I saw they have even started making their own fresh peanut butter! I got a taste tester and it was so. good. There is also a bakery that has so many delicious pies, shortcakes, cookies, fudge, and other sweets that are drool-worthy. Now that you have a glimpse of what the farm has to offer, let's see what the Crumpets specifically have to say.

Raspberries and Blueberries in mid-July

Check Krause Berry Farms' website to find out what U-Pick fields are open and their current prices. I highly suggest bringing your own buckets and boxes to hold your freshly picked berries. Small plastic baskets are sold at the little shack for, I believe, $1 each. There are also small red wagons you can borrow for a deposit of $1, very helpful to transport your many boxes of berries here and there. Containers are weighed so you aren't charged extra for the weight of the boxes. Once you have 'checked in', the employee at the shack will direct you towards the berry field of your choosing. There are large fields for each type of berry and certain ones will be open when ready to be picked. Sometimes rows are assigned to evenly spread out eager pickers and other times you can choose to go wherever. 

2 hours of picking, 40 pounds of berries

Both raspberries and blueberries were $1.75 per pound. The Coconut Family went crazy and picked almost 40 pounds of berries... We gotta last all year ya know! I am so glad we arrived before 9am and finished picking just as the sun began to heat us all up. There was a gentle cool breeze that came by every now and then, making the picking experience much more pleasant that when I used to come in the mid-afternoon. I remember my back being scorched as the hot summer sun beat down on us hunched over in an open strawberry field. There was a period of time where I disliked going berry picking, probably due to the heat. So go when the Earth is still cool! Less people during early hours too, another big bonus.

The Porch
One of the highlights on every visit to Krause Berry Farms is eating at The Porch. Their food is delicious and fresh, and the patio is a wonderful place to relax and do some people watching. I rarely eat outside so it's always a fun experience for me. 

As mentioned earlier, there is much more seating now, making it much easier to snag a table to eat at. We started having lunch at 11am and there were still many open tables, just ones without shade from the sun. 

If the lineup reaches the farthest chair, entertain yourself by peering into the kitchen and admiring all the beautiful food

By 11:30am, the lineup for ordering curved around the corner. I must warn you that it moves pretty slowly so prepare for long waits if the lineup reaches the market. However, once you place your order, the food is given to you quite quickly.

The Porch Menu

The food, oh the glorious food. The Coconut Family's usual lunch here consists of an entire 10-inch Corn Artichoke Pizza and 10-inch Berry Custard Pie. Both are a must-have in Coconut Crumpet's opinion and would be solid choices for first-timers. There are a few new items on the menu I haven't noticed on my past visits like panini and fries. 

Corn Artichoke Pizza ($14.95)
This is one of the only pizzas I will be running to get my hands on. It is filled with fresh corn from the cob, artichokes, bell peppers, and covered with a thick layer of browned melted cheese to seal all those veggies in. The crust isn't super thick but still stands up to all the toppings. I prefer eating it with a fork and knife but I won't stop you from scarfing it down like my dad because I know how delicious a warm slice of pizza with farm fresh veggies is. If you're running late and don't have time to enjoy the food on their porch, frozen corn pizza is sold inside the market. My mom bought a frozen one to enjoy at home later, can't wait!

Berry Custard Pie ($15.99)
Is this not the tallest pie you've ever seen? I promise you the height comes from the berries and not a mountain of custard. Doesn't look as pretty once cut, but it's the perfect dessert for the summer. I just thought the custard was slightly on the sweeter side; either my tastebuds have changed or the recipe has. But it's not so sweet that it's unedible, so no worries. The only downside to this time's pie is that we were given one with only raspberries. I saw triple berry (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry) custard pies at other tables and also in the market. Usually they put all the berries that are in season so they should've at least had blueberries and raspberries. Nevertheless, its a well-loved pie at the farm. Too bad my mom forgot it was also sold in the market; you get to choose one from the fridge and the line up for paying is a lot shorter. 

Blueberry Smoothie ($3.75) and Blueberry Lemonade ($2.95)
Please excuse Peanut Crumpet's tongue and Coconut Crumpet's minion nails. I swear I'm not that obsessed...

The drinks are berry good at quenching your thirst after a few hours of berry picking. (Sorry, I just had to :P) Each of the berry drinks are made with the berries currently available in the market. Today's choices were blueberry, strawberry, or raspberry. Peanut Crumpet had the blueberry smoothie, it was similar to the ones she makes with her awesome Vitamix at home, but who can resist a good brain-freeze worthy berry filled smoothie? Coconut Crumpet had a blueberry lemonade, it was super refreshing and the blueberries inside were actually really large! The Clumsy One had the strawberry lemonade, and I think it tastes better, so get the strawberry one! After gulping down our drinks, all of our stomachs were already half full.

There are many items yet to be tried so hopefully we can review more food items on the next visit! I have my eye on you, blackberry ice cream...

The Market
View of the Market entrance as seen from the Porch

Berry Custard Pies for Sale inside the Market
Blueberry Shortcake ($2.75), Berry Salsa ($5.50), and Potato Bun

Peanut Crumpet preferred to find lunch at the market.

The potato bun was just average as I didn't reheat it before consuming it. The previous times I bought this bun, I have always toasted it or made it into a panini. It's good to find food at the market if you just don't want to eat something piping hot on a summer's day.

Berry Salsa
Sold in the farthest fridge from the pre-picked berries is where this salsa can be found. This salsa really surprised me. I love the fact that it isn't salty like all the other salt laden salsas sold in your typical marketplace and it is also made with fresh ingredients, hence the refrigerator. I also really like that it isn't sweet from the strawberries (that would just be weird) and it's slightly spicy! I'm totally inspired to make something like this and share it with you guys soon!

Coconut Crumpet was so intrigued by the idea of berries in salsa, she had to get one to bring home. It comes in the same cup as the lemonade does. The ingredients are as follows: berries, bell peppers, green onion, tomatoes, garlic, farm-made raspberry vinaigrette, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. I admit it's a bit pricey for salsa, but a little splurge every now and then is okay... It's healthy too! The salsa is the perfect snack for the summer; refreshing but packed with flavour. The sweetness of the strawberries pairs beautifully with sour lime juice, but the unexpected punch jalapeno peppers a few seconds later creates a party of flavours in your mouth! Love it!

The Bakery counter at Krause Berry Farms
The bakery counter is where pastries, fudge, artisan breads, and other baked goods like the berry shortcakes can be found. 

Blueberry Shortcake ($2.75)
Three dollars can buy you a massive shortcake. The height comes from the mountain of berries inside (like the custard pie) and not from a thick layer of pastry. The pastry itself is soft and more like bread than a flaky croissant, but I think it works very well that way. It is sold warm when purchased at the bakery counter; it would be absolutely heavenly if eaten with a scoop of ice cream on the spot. The filling is not very sweet, which allows the true flavour of the plump blueberries to shine through. A wonderful find at the market!

The bountiful big blueberries in the Blueberry Shortcake
Again, Coconut Crumpet is a copycat and bought a blueberry shortcake to bring home.
Corn ($3.00)
Both Peanut Crumpet and Mama Coconut grabbed a bag of corn before leaving. The three dollar bag contains six to seven ears of corn. The corn is super sweet and slightly nuttier than regular corn from the grocery store. Super delicious~

Krause Berry Farms is a super family friendly place and a great place to spend half a day. It's a farm that is getting increasingly popular which is good so the money earned can be spent towards making improvements to the farm. Too bad we had to rush off to send Papa Coconut off to the dentist, we would've loved to have more time to explore the market and dream of buying everything we see. We were all very content with the eventful morning we had at Krause Berry Farms. The Coconut Family hopes to be back when the blackberry fields open in August to stock up and more berries for the winter (as if we need anymore). Our love for this place continues~

Krause Berry Farms on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet & Peanut Crumpet

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