Last Updated on October 24, 2023
Autumn is the perfect opportunity to embrace the cozy season. Dust off your plaid attire and venture out to your nearby farms, festivals, and pumpkin patches for a delightful dose of seasonal amusement. After all, there’s plenty to do this fall in Vancouver.
However, are you tired of the usual fall activities? Looking for a unique fall activity to experience this year? How about immersing yourself in a colossal pool of floating cranberries?
Just under an hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver, you can do exactly that at Hopcott Farms, who also offers a market you’ll want to explore and a bistro you’ll want to dine at.
British Columbia is the second largest producer of cranberries in the world and has been dubbed “Cranberry Country” due to its ideal growing conditions. The province’s cool climate, acidic peat soils, and abundant rainfall make it the perfect location for cultivating this tart little berry.
Cranberries flourish in the lower Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island, contributing approximately 12% of the total North American cranberry harvest. This region’s bountiful yield showcases the exceptional quality and significance of BC cranberries.
Cranberry harvest season typically runs from mid-September to late October in British Columbia. During this time, the province comes alive with vibrant shades of red as the cranberries ripen and are ready to be harvested.
How Are Cranberries Grown?
Cranberries, as perennials, experience a dormant phase during the winter months (November to April) before flourishing during the growing season from April to October. Thriving in a unique environment, these remarkable fruits prefer the nurturing embrace of wood chips, acidic peat soil, or sand. They are harvested using a technique known as “wet harvesting.”
Wet harvesting is where cranberry fields are flooded with water, and the berries are gently knocked off the vines using specialized equipment. The buoyancy of the cranberries allows them to float to the surface, making it easier for harvesters to collect them with a suction pump. The berries are then sorted, cleaned, and packaged for distribution in whatever their new form is. Hopcott Farms cranberries are used for Ocean Spray Craisins!
What makes BC cranberries truly unique is their vibrant crimson color and exceptional taste due to being exposed to cool temperatures during growth. This results in a more tart and flavorful berry, perfect for making cranberry sauce or juice.
Health Benefits Of Cranberries
Aside from their delicious taste, BC cranberries are also packed with health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber, making them a great addition to any diet. Studies have also shown that cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections and may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
You’ll meet at the outside patio of the Hopcott Farms market, where a tractor hay ride will take you to the cranberry bog. Here, you’ll have a presentation where you learn about the history of cranberry farming in BC and the unique growing conditions that make these berries so special. You’ll also get a chance to taste a cranberry from the bog.
After the presentation, those fortunate enough to secure a coveted spot will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the bog, capturing joyful moments through fun-filled photos. Afterwards, the group will return to the market, marking the conclusion of the tour.
The Cranberry Plunge In Floating Cranberries
But the real highlight of any cranberry farm tour is usually a chance to experience the unique method of harvesting cranberries – by flooding the fields and corralling them for easier picking.
Visitors can don waders and plunge into a waist-deep bog filled with a sea of cranberries. This activity gives visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the process of harvesting cranberries and gain a better understanding of the hard work that goes into producing this delicious fruit.
It’s an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling like a kid again as you splash around and throw berries in the air. Experience the life of a cranberry grower and don’t forget to capture the picturesque essence of autumn with your camera.
For the 2023 season, the plunges will take place between October 16th and October 29th, on select dates.
What To Wear To A Cranberry Farm Tour
When planning a visit to a cranberry farm, it’s important to dress appropriately for the occasion. Here are some tips on what to wear:
- Comfortable clothes and shoes: As cranberries are harvested in flooded fields, you will be walking through water and potentially mud around the harvesting areas. It’s important to wear comfortable clothes and waterproof shoes that can get dirty. For the cutest photos, put on a plaid shirt!
- Layers: Autumn weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to dress in layers that you can easily adjust depending on the temperature. A light jacket or sweatshirt is recommended for cooler days.
- Waders: If you plan on participating in the bog plunge, the cranberry farm will provide waders for you. However, if you’re throwing cranberries up in the air, prepare to still get your shirt wet!
Pro Tip: Ensure you have a friend with you that is capable of capturing photos for you. There might be a queue of people, so it’s important to have your fun and let the next person have their turn.
Cranberry Farm Tickets
For an unforgettable cranberry farm experience, visit the Hopcott Farms website. There, you can book your cranberry farm tour and your ticket for the exhilarating cranberry plunge. To secure your spot, make sure to book your tickets online in advance.
Please note that Hopcott Farms provides waders for your use, so you don’t need to bring your own.
Hopcott Farms Cranberry Tour Pricing (2023)
Children 5 and Under: FREE
Children ages 6 to 12: $12.00
Youth ages 13 to 17: $14.00
Adults ages 18 to 64: $19.00
Seniors, ages 65 plus: $17.00
A private tour option is available for groups of at least 20 people. This exclusive tour can be scheduled on any day and time between October 13th and 22nd, outside of the regular tour schedule.
Take the Cranberry Plunge – $20.00 per person
Limit 5 per tour – Put on Waders and get in the bog (Ages 13 & up ONLY)
After you’re done exploring the cranberries, be sure to visit the Bistro for a delicious meal and wander the market for some delicious treats. The Hopcott Bistro is located within the market and offers delicious meals using their meats and other locally sourced ingredients.
During our visit, we tried the BBQ Hickory Cheeseburger and French Dip. Both were delicious and we vowed we would be back to try more!
You can also delve into the Hopcott market to discover a plethora of products that will elevate your next meal to new levels of deliciousness!
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