FVP has always delighted in sharing with you the wonderful, off the beaten path gems in our Fraser Valley neighborhoods. From boutique shops to great little cafes, we love introducing our readers to locally owned businesses and their owners. The Circle Farm Tours another great way for people to discover more about the businesses in their living area by participating in a self-guided tour that allows you to explore at your leisure and according to your interests. Having said that, you might surprise yourself by discovering something new outside your normal realm of interest.
We recently joined the Circle Farm Tour Langley to spend a day being a tourist in our own backyard. I have to admit that I had heard of almost all these businesses, but some of them I had driven by on a regular basis and never actually stopped at. I’ve conquered every business on the tour now and can’t wait to go back again!
With our tour beginning at the Fort Langley National Historic Site, we got to enjoy a brief history lesson on how B.C came to be. It was really enjoyable to see the staff at the Fort working in time period costumes. I can understand how kids would love to learn about the “olden days” (which came long before smart phones, I might add). They can also make friends with the rabbits, chickens and other animals on site.
We received a warm greeting from the owners of Aldor Acres Dairy Centre, Erin and Brian Anderson, a couple who are passionate about sharing their knowledge. From kids to adults, you get the chance to get “hands-on” with the cows, learning how to milk them, feed them or even make butter. While kids may love the chance to get up close and personal with the animals, older teens and adults can learn about modern farming technology (a fascinating robotic milking station), sustainability and more! Not in the “of course I’ve milked a cow” Club yet? This is a great place to go!
Not far down the road, we visited The Fort Wine Company and got to learn a little more about the wine making process using cranberries and other BC fruits. No trip to a winery would be complete without a few tastings, so we sampled several varieties, including the Valley Girl Blueberry Wine (a popular seller) and the Cold Snap Apple Dessert Wine. These grape free wines are unique and some of the dessert wines can be paired with other alcohols to create delicious martinis!
Sprawling over 45 acres, Cedar Rim Nurseries looks like a commercial sized business at first glance, but they also have an expansive collection of nursery space for retail consumers. This family run business has been around since 1978 and boasts everything a person might need to turn their black thumb green. With popular classes for kids and a great collection of garden decor and accessories, this is one location that deserves a dedicated amount of your time.
Just a hop and jump down the street, a newly formed company, Milner Valley Cheese, resides on a heritage farm run by the Smith’s, who boast of six generations of family on the farm. This little-store-that-could makes their own cheese from the milk produced by over 60 of their goats. Milner Jack, chevre, goat feta and cheese curds are just a few of the delectable selections on site. They also carry artisanal products including goat’s milk soaps. Never tried goat cheese? Start here, but don’t send us the bill!
With an agenda this busy, there has to be time to refuel and we did just that with a stop at the amazing Vista D’oro Farms & Winery. Remember our Vista D’oro spotlight from back in 2010? This place is delightful and we had an amazing lunch with fresh produce from Langley Community Farmers Market and a sampling of meat from JD Farms Specialty Turkey. Lunch without wine doesn’t seem right, so we sampled wines from both Vista D’oro and Domaine de Chaberton.
With full tummies, we were off to Kensington Prairie Farm, a farm that raises alpacas and hosts over 50 of them on their sprawling acres. Alpacas are used mainly for their exquisite fibers, which are then sold and made into sweaters and socks, among other things. This farm is not only a great place to learn about alpacas, but they also produce artisanal honey and other farm based food products.
B.C. is known for their amazing array of flora and fauna and Erikson’s Daylily Gardens is a mecca for plant lovers. With hundreds of varieties of hostas, daylilies, lilies and ferns, Owner Pam Erikson is nothing but a delight who quickly shares her knowledge and love for what she does. While the rain overshadowed our visit on this particular day, we can’t wait to return on a sunny afternoon to discover some of the hybridized varieties of daylilies that Pam has created.
The Thunderbird Show Park is merely a few minutes off the Hwy but is an epic centre for horse riding showmanship. From horse jumping to dressage, this premiere equestrian facility hosts national and international events throughout the year. Spectators can enjoy these events with their whole family if they want to. With seating areas and eating venues available, it sure seems like a fun way to spend a day.
Berry season is one of the “most wonderful times of the year” and we finished our amazing day on the Langley Circle Farm Tour with a stop at family owned Driediger Farms Market. From strawberries and raspberries to blueberries and blackberries, this market has something for every berry lover. With ready-to-buy berries available for purchase as well as u-pick options, this is a must-stop destination. Driediger Farms has recently expanded their retail store space and also carries local produce at great prices. We loved our apple pie topped with fresh strawberries for dessert!
We have so many amazing businesses in the Fraser Valley and the Circle Farm Tours are a great way to discover them at your own pace. Find a map online or at participating businesses around the Lower Mainland.
Thank you so much to our hosts Tourism Langley and Vancouver, Coast & Mountains and all the sponsors, Well Seasoned, Holiday Inn Express, Otter Co-Op and Bonetti Meats for a phenomenal day.