This past Father’s Day, I decided to take our little guy out for some strawberry picking action before the end of season. Our regular strawberry picking farm was closed this season due to some difficulties so I looked around online to see what other farms were in the area that we could go u-pick some local berries. Now in the Vancouver region, and by region I mean out to the outskirts of Abbotsford, there are many places to go picking strawberries but surprisingly not many allow you or your kids to snack upon the berries in the field. This helps pin-point places in the area in which we could go. One of those places that allow people to nibble on their berries while being picked was Emma Lea Farms out on Westham Island in Delta.
We drive by Emma Lea Farms every time we take the kids to the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary. We have heard how great their home-made ice cream is and we see that they offered not only u-pick berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc) but they also had a fairly large pumpkin patch too. Well, this past Father’s Day I decided that is where we would go and to check it out for future adventures.
Emma Lea Farms
Emma Lea Farms is a multi-generation farm that was originally purchased back in 1885. They added strawberries back in 1975 and with the fifth generation adding other berries such as raspberries, tayberries, boysenberries, blueberries and more. They also have SPCA Certified beef cattle, free range chickens, miniature donkeys, a mule, and two Quarter horses! With 5 generations of farming under their belt, they definitely know what they are doing.
To get to Emma Lea Farms, you need to head towards Westham Islands. You can access Westham Island via Ladner. If you need directions you can check out their how to get here page.
When the little guy and I first arrived, I forgot that Emma Lea Farms was having a special Father’s Day event and it was a packed house. Their parking area was packed with cars and luckily we managed to get a spot fairly close to the entrance thanks to a family that pointed me to their spot they were about to leave from.
Once we got to where we were going, we just followed the signs.
First up was the check-in booth. Here you could get your own container weighed for its tare or you could buy pails from them for $2 a piece. We bought two of their pails and set off to the berry patch!
We might have to come back and check out their pumpkin patch in October! Picking pumpkins with the kids is a lot of fun, well at least I think so.
The walk to their strawberry fields wasn’t that long (like 5 minutes). They seemed to have at least 6 or 8 strawberry fields to choose from. I tired to get the little guy to wait a bit longer and walk him a bit further away from where there were not as many people picking. With the amount of berries that people had while walking past us, I was a bit worried there wouldn’t be much to pick! Though, once we started picking I found there were still a ton of berries to be picked with even more that would take more time to ripen.
We moved a round a fair amount trying to find less picked over areas. ‘A’ I think made berry picking into more of a competition. He would come over and ask me why I had picked so many and I would tell him he that I was looking into the plants to find the berries. He would then proceed to take berries out of my pail and place them into his pale.
Once I finished filling up my pail, he took it and dumped all the berries I had picked into his pail. I had to go back to picking more berries for my pail. I was determined to leave the farm with two full pails!
Eventually, I think the heat and promise of getting an ice cream set in and ‘A’ wanted to go.
I manged to get my pail almost filled (a second time..) before heading back to have it weighed and paid. I tired to get him to pose with some of the delicious berries we had picked, he was a bit reluctant to do it.
Not a bad amount of berries since I essentially did most of the picking with keeping an eye on him and my camera swinging around my body each time I went over to pick more berries. Did I mention that it was probably 30 degrees out? Was a bit of a hot day actually.
Now, Emma Lea Farms is not a secret, but I was not expecting such a lineup to have the berries weighed and paid for. The lined moved decently but ‘A’ kept wandering around as I am sure it was pretty boring for him to wait in line with me. We finally got to the pay area (there were 5 tills open) and paid $17 for our two pails of strawberries.
After putting our berries back into the car we went back and waiting in line for ice cream. Now, many different people have told us how awesome Emma Lea Farm’s ice cream is so I wasn’t giving up waiting in line no matter how bored ‘A’ got as he roamed around waiting somewhat patiently for his ice cream treat. Did I mention it was hot out?
Finally, 40 minutes later he had his vanilla cone and I had my vanilla milkshake. We both devoured our cold treats and were happy with our day out at the farm.
Emma Lea Farm does have a large play area for kids. Though we had to get back home and could not explore the rest of the area. I would have also indulged in some Father’s day BBQ that was happening if we had more time and didn’t have to rush back home.
Overall it was a good experience. I’m sure it was busier than normal because of the Father’s Day BBQ event they had going on but I am also sure we’ll be back to pick other berries as they ripen during the summer.
Here is the list of when picking times are good for their other berries this season:
- Raspberries: June 20 – July 10
- Tayberries: June 20 – July 10
- Boysenberries: July 15 – Aug 1
- Black Currants: July 1 – July 15
- Blackberries: July 1 to July 30
- Blueberries: July 1 – Aug 10
We might have to make a trip during the blueberry season as we do love local fresh blueberries.
Have you gotten to go berry picking this year? If so, where did you go? Are you planning on picking other berries this year too?