Words and Pix: Stephanie Yuen
If summer belongs to beaches and barbeques, autumn surely relates to farms and pumpkins!
“Take a closer look to this season’s festivals and feasts, aren’t they all about the fruits and vegetables our farmer-friends harvest around this time? What about those apples and pumpkins?” This was what my mom, a nature lover, used to say.
Perhaps they are the reasons why kids love to go visit the farms, even in the rain. All they need to do is put rain gears on, and out to the farms they go, to pick the corns and pumpkins and sing along on hayrides. Oh, but adults, my mom for one, would find themselves having as much fun too! Their facial expressions, once surrounded by golden shades of yellows and browns, shining gourds, big and round pumpkins and hanging apples, are blissful!
Now that my mom is no longer with us, so this time, it’s my sister and I who went to Fraser Valley to a magical place called Taves Family Farms in Abbotsford to re-live those carefree moments. With the help of a Google map, the 40-minute drive on Hwy#1 was very a pleasant prelude to what we’re about to encounter, probably because city slicers like us do treasure any excuses to leave work! This time more so since some U-pick actions at this popular family fun centre along with a corn maze, a bee hive, a jumping pillow, a petting zoo, pony rides and hayrides were waiting for us!
The first pair to greet us were kind of sloppy and daring, but as friendly as expected. Even to young kids, as long as they keep their hands to themselves. The two big and tall llamas in their own gated home were surely handsome and cool, not bad at all for a couple hairy gate keepers!
We picked up a site map at the entrance and were reminded to read the U-pick Policy at the back. Glad we did! Though we picked blueberries, picked hazelnuts and strawberries, but this was the first picking apples, any tips and guidance would help!
We have been eyeing the bins of pumpkins since we drove in. They were lining up along the driving path, at the entrance and further down the lane to the pumpkin patch. If you think pumpkin is pumpkin, think again! Those golden orange ones of all sizes and various round shapes are just the beginning. There are bright red ones great for cooking, smaller yellow ones for baking and even white ones. What about Full Moon, Harvest Moon, Cinderella, Sugar, even Ghost for names? The task here - choosing which ones to haul home!
After saying hello to the baby animals in the petting zoo and bumping our way through the corn maze, we decided to take a break and went into the shack where the bee hive and the apple cider machine located. Farm fresh apple cider and garnished hot dog never taster any better!And off to apple u-picking we went! The orchard, adorned by lines of apple trees where Alkmene, Honey Crisp and Fuji apples hung like Christmas lights, was extremely engaging. My sister started picking the first big apple she came across but did not take long to realize that many more were down the lane. My intention to pick my favourite kind – Fuji – was demolished instantly. Let me assure you, any ripe and flawless apples you could pick from the tree with your own hands will be the best!
With a bagful of apples and a drum-like red pumpkin in our hands, and big grins on our faces, we headed back to our car fully exercised and elated! Next time, we’re going to bring the whole family!
Taves Family Farms
333 Gladwin Road, Abbotsford. 604-853-3108 www.theapplebarn.ca