Have you ever driven down Hwy 91 in Richmond or elsewhere in the Fraser Valley and wondered about the bright rose-coloured fields that magically appear this time of year? I sure have. The first time I saw them, when I was new to the area, I didn’t know they were cranberries floating above irrigated fields about the harvested.
Now I can see them when I look out from the deck at my home. The crop forms a bright row running parallel with the river. Quite remarkable, so I grabbed my iPhone and took this photo for you (sorry it’s a little grainy).
B.C. grows about 12% of all cranberries grown in North America
Cranberries are a major local crop for farmers in BC. This certainly includes Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. It’s a very fascinating and colourful crop and industry that you may have wondered about. It’s also a major industry and tradition we can be proud of. Cranberries grown in B.C. account for about 12% of all cranberries grown in North America.
Artisan’s Harvest Preserves #BCbuyLocal Event and the Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe demonstrations presented by Bernardin representative, Darlene Tanaka, is a great opportunity to understand more about this valuable crop and share some insights about the local the cranberry harvest.
When we contracted Darlene Tanaka to demonstrate the preparation of her delicious Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe at the Artisan Markets, in keeping with our locally made, baked, grown mandate, we reached out to our friends at Cranberry Meadows to provide a local Cranberry supply for the demo and for samples to give to you, our valued consumers.
Cranberry Meadows is a family run multi-crop farm that also features a destination countryside grocery store, Hopcott Meats, and cafe with a great view of the valley and mountains. Lately, they’ve created a whole new business hosting weddings on their property.
Did you know that there are two ways to harvest cranberries?
One harvesting method is a wet pick, the most common in B.C., where fields are flooded and the cranberries are beaten off by a machine so that they float to the top to be collected.
When cranberries are to be sold fresh, as with those the market purchased, they are dry harvested, where the berries are combed off the vine by a machine that looks like a lawnmower.
100 million pounds? That’s a lot of Cranberries!!!
This year’s cranberry crop is significantly reduced from last year’s crop and headlines tell the story: “2016 B.C. cranberry harvest could reach 100 million pounds” vs. “Extreme weather leads to B.C. cranberry shortage – just in time for Thanksgiving”.
We understand from Cranberry Meadows, that the cranberries they do not sell locally are sold to the world’s largest cranberry processor, who will buy all that they can provide. These cranberries will be shipped south of the border for processing, and then be shipped back to Canada for sale on our retail shelves. That’s a great example of how much food travels when it is not sold locally. Imagine the impact of the food we import from other countries and where that food may have traveled to before it makes its way to Canada. And, in the case of cranberries, some produce even makes a round trip!
Lucky for us, we have more locally grown cranberries than we can consume, right here in BC!
See http://bccranberries.com for more cranberry facts.
Get the Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe here!
Funding support provided, in part, by the BC Government’s Buy Local Program; delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC with funding from the Government of British Columbia.