July 7, 2021
As if the pandemic wasn’t enough, this summer all BC farms feel the impact of a heat wave, poor pollination, and labor shortages. How can you support local BC fruit, crop and livestock farms during these tough times? Klaassen Farms in Chilliwack BC has answers for us.
Due to the trifecta of poor pollination, labour shortage and heat wave, farms across the board are forced to increase costs slightly as a form of cost recovery. However, it’s still often much cheaper to purchase directly from your local farm than from big box grocery stores.
To find out more, I interviewed Bernadette Maguire, Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Klaassen Farms. She told me that berry farms in general are expected to harvest 20%-60% less. BC has over 600 blueberry growers, who grow over 150 million berries each season. This means a massive economic hit for BC’s blueberry farms, even if they ‘only’ see a 20% decrease in numbers.
How the heck can this be? Find out below.
Thanks to a wet spring during peak pollination time, pollination is down by 70% for berry farms in The Fraser Valley. I learned that bees stay in their hives and neither fly nor pollinate when it rains. The bees were on strike for a while this year.
Thanks to COVID-19, it continues to be difficult for farms to get their foreign workers into Canada when they’re needed the most. For BC farms employing local workers, the jobs are hard to fill and the cost of labour is significantly higher. Klaassen Farms employs 99% Fraser Valley-based workers.
As this past June turned into July, the Fraser Valley had record-smashing temperatures as high as 47 degrees Celsius. Countless crops were disseminated and farms lost thousands of livestock. Local berry farms faced widespread scalding damage from the hot sun.
Now is the time for us to rally around our favourite local BC farms and show them our love and support. They really need it right now, so they can continue to stay open and do what they do best.
I think it’s so important that we teach our kids about where their food comes from. We love spending a few hours in the dew-covered fields, picking our own blueberries and casually chatting. We make cherished memories together, and we’re always so proud of the haul we bring home. I incorporate frozen blueberries in my morning green smoothie, and my son loves fresh blueberries on his cereal.
There are 90 acres of blueberries at Klaassen Farms. The U-Pick Fields are at 51211 Chilliwack Central Road.
The fields at Klaassen Farms are sorted by blueberry variety instead of by size, so customers get consistent flavor and learn to enjoy their favorite type of blueberry. They grow 5 delicious varieties, Duke, Bluecrop, Reka, Calypso & Elliott. For reference: Dukes are sweet, medium firmness and have a juicy flavor (and currently in season for July). Reka and Elliotts are a crisp, super firm berry that packs a punch of flavor. They’re often used for jam, frozen, or in wine making. Calypso is their newest variety; these will be in season starting early/ Mid-August. These will be a super large and sweet berry.
Klaassen Farms blueberries are so big thanks to the helps of their pollinator friends, the bees. I learned that the more times a bee visits a berry, the larger the berry! Since bees are used for pollination, the sprays they use are all bee friendly and won’t harm or make the bees sick. What’s good for bees is good for us!
Instead of going to a farm, perhaps it’s more convenient for you to stop by a Roadside Stand or a Market Location.
Klaassen Farms only harvests the best blueberries and pick, sort and package all their blueberries within a 24-hour window. This means that their customers always receive the freshest, best blueberries possible.
Or maybe you’d rather shop online from your own home and do curbside pickup — that’s an option too!
You can purchase pre-picked fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, cherries, dry baking mixes, lean ground beef, ice cream, or jams and preserves.
The Klaassen Farms Farm Store is located at 51211 Chilliwack Central Road, next to the U-Pick Fields.
You can buy pre-picked fresh and frozen blueberries, homemade Blueberry Cheesecake and Blueberry Blast Ice Cream, freshly made pies, vegan frozen treats, raspberries, cherries, dry baking mixes, lean ground beef, jams and preserves, local gifts and blueberry ice tea.
For the locally made ice cream, Blueberry Cheesecake is MY favourite, and Blueberry Blast is my son’s favourite! You need to try this.
Barking Irons Coffee Roastery is also on site for a freshly roasted Americano (my fave).
Klaassen Farms freezes their most recent harvest blueberries to be sold throughout the year. I was surprised to learn that many frozen blueberries in big box stores aren’t grown in British Columbia and can be 1-2 years old when they reach your home. I’ll never look at frozen blueberries the same way again. Can we coin a new term: FRESHLY FROZEN?
Word of mouth is KEY for helping to spread the word about your favourite local farms! Share what you love about the farm and tag their facebook, instagram, and twitter pages. It also helps to use their geotags and hashtags!
It also helps local farms if you like, comment and share their posts on your own facebook profile page and instastories. Also take the time to write a Facebook and/or Google review.
Buy Local BC. Sharing is caring!
This is our third year visiting Klaassen Farms. You can read the previous blog posts HERE and HERE. We clearly love visiting the farm each and every year! It’s a fun 1/2 day trip we both look forward to.
All photos by Yarrow Side Creatives
Despite the fact that this is a sponsored post, as always, all opinions are my own. We love sharing stories of local businesses, farms and community events.