A Guide to Cranberries in Metro Vancouver

Photo by: Ann Hung from the Inside Vancouver Flickr Pool

The cranberry is one of only three commercially-grown fruits that are native to North America and around Metro Vancouver you can find these bright, tart, ruby red beads growing in Richmond and along the Fraser River in Langley. Uniquely “wet harvested” in water-filled bogs, cranberries paint the landscape around this time of year and are a delicious, nutritious treat, complimenting dishes and traditional Thanksgiving dinners.

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, cranberries are BC’s largest berry crop, with 82 million pounds of fruit produced in 2009. This accounts for up to approximately 12 percent of cranberry production in North America. Here’s a quick guide to cranberries and how to enjoy them around Metro Vancouver:

Photo by: Ann Hung from the Inside Vancouver Flickr Pool

Cranberry Info

Of all the cranberries harvested in Canada every year, about 60% are grown for Massachusetts-based Ocean Spray, to which most BC cranberry growers belong as a cooperative — as a result 90% of BC cranberries are shipped to the USA.

Richmond Country Farms. #7554

Photo courtesy of Tourism Richmond. Used with permission. Richmond Country Farms. #7554

Approximately 50% of BC’s crop is used to make sweetened dried cranberries, 40% is made into juice, 9% is sold whole frozen and 1% is sold fresh, according to the Government of BC.

Richmond Cranberries

Photo courtesy of Tourism Richmond. Used with permission. #9117.

Richmond is the largest producer of cranberries in Canada and Lulu Island Cranberries, established in 1992, is one of a number of Richmond farms that produces cranberries for Ocean Spray. Many of the hardworking family farms in the co-op have been around for decades.

Where to Buy Cranberries

The BC Cranberry Marketing Comission has a list of cranberry producers/sellers online that include just under 10 local farms in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, Langley, and Richmond.

Aerial view of cranberry bogs in Richmond. Photo by Stephen Rees on Flickr.

On that list you’ll find Maybog Farms Ltd, operated by the May family who received the “Minister’s Award of Excellence” from the Government of BC in 2008 for their contribution to the province’s farming industry as a long-established cranberry farming family.

In October of 2012 the May family opened The Fowl Farmer with a farm-gate market selling fresh and frozen free run chicken, which is situated along a cranberry bog. They are a part of the Ocean Spray co-op but also have a very small retail offering where you can visit and purchase fresh or frozen cranberries:

When you come to visit the market you might notice the cranberries that surround our farm. Lulu Island Cranberries was established in 1992 and produces cranberries for Ocean Spray. In late October it is worth your time to come out and watch the harvest. Don’t forget your camera! Oh and by the way, when you are at the market make sure to also pick up a bag of our cranberries, whether you are making cranberry sauce or baking with them you will notice quite a difference. [The Fowl Farmer]

The Fowl Farmer is located at 15539 Cambie Rd in Richmond, BC and they are open seven days a week. The cranberry harvest season runs September through October.

Photo by: Ann Hung from the Inside Vancouver Flickr Pool

In Langley, stop by The Fort Wine Co for berry wines (with 100% BC-grown fruit) and frozen cranberry purchases. Their Mighty Fraser Cranberry Wine is their flagship wine, first stocked on their shelves 10 years ago. They are located at 26151 84th Avenue just east of Fort Langley Village and they have a tasting bar, retail store, and bistro.

Fort Langley Cranberry Festival

The 18th annual Fort Langley Cranberry Festival takes place on Saturday, October 12, 2013 around the village of Fort Langley.

Traditionally, cranberries were hot trading commodities at Fort Langley (aka the Birthplace of BC) as local First Nations used them for food, dyes, and medicine. They would trade cranberries for HBC blankets, beads, and other items. In fact in 1858, cranberries were actually worth more than salmon.

Photo by: Michelle Lee on Flickr

You can celebrate the history of the cranberry at the festival starting at 10:00am with a pancake breakfast (earlier at 8:30am) followed by an entire day of family-friendly activities. There will be contest giveaways, live music and entertainment on the main stage, cooking demos, fashions shows, and more. There will also be over 70 market vendors, selling jewelry, specialty candy, organic coffee, hand-made crafts, and other goods until 4:00pm.

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7 Responses to A Guide to Cranberries in Metro Vancouver

  1. S. Rose

    You say “the cranberry is one of only three fruits that are native to North America” but what’s actually true is that it’s one of the only three native fruits that are produced commercially. Salal berries, huckleberries, salmonberries are three examples of native fruits that aren’t commercially produced, and there are in fact dozens of others.

  2. Anne

    Correction: Saturday October 12th.

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  4. Great article and nice pictures too! I was planning to go to Fort Langley soon, so why don’t do it during the Fort Langley Cranberry Festival?
    Thanks for the useful information!

  5. Steve

    So is there a maps/schedule of where the fields might be flooded for great photos like the ones above?

    • MoogsC

      I agree with Steve – need maps! Hard to figure out where to go just from the photo captions and tags.

  6. Wow! I always wondering where I can find this!

    We actually have few cranberry pictures too on our website. – Landscaping Company Vancouver

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