Alexa Cranston, 5, checks out the treats prepared for last year’s Blackberry Bake-Off. The 2017 event takes place Aug. 17. Langley Times File Photo

Blackberry Bake-Off returns Aug. 17

Residents are invited to submit their very best blackberry treats for the annual competition

People who love to create tasty treats and those who love to eat them are encouraged to take part when the annual Blackberry Bake-Off and open house returns to the Langley Demonstration Garden.

The free event for all ages will be held Thursday, Aug. 17, from noon until 3 p.m., in the Demonstration Garden, located in the Derek Doubleday Arboretum in the 21200 block of Fraser Highway.

The afternoon will feature live music, displays, activities and games, a kids’ craft corner, and a locally-sourced barbecue that will be available for $5.

Guests will also have a chance to taste the star attractions: culinary creations from desserts to entrees, made with blackberries. Bake-Off entries must be submitted by 12:15 p.m., and tasting starts at 12:45 p.m. Guests can sample the submissions and vote to help determine the winners.

Registration is not required to attend the event, but those entering the Bake-Off should contact garden@leps.bc.ca or 604-546-0344 to register and obtain a list of acceptable ingredients, food safe considerations, and contest rules. Prizes will be awarded to the winners.

“Not only is the Blackberry Bake-Off a fun event and a tradition people look forward to each year, it is an opportunity to help the environment,” said Langley Demonstration Garden co-ordinator Emily Lorenz.

“Blackberries are a highly invasive species that quickly blanket vast areas, take over natural vegetation, and threaten local biodiversity. Eating as many of the seeds as possible will help prevent them from spreading.”

The Blackberry Bake-Off was first introduced at the Langley Demonstration Garden in 2001 to raise awareness of the impact that Himalayan blackberries have on the environment, and to enjoy their fruit.

The friendly competition also fits well with Langley’s Eat Local campaign, which celebrates farmers and food producers in Langley and the Fraser Valley, and encourages residents to choose food that is grown and produced within the community whenever possible.

“In case you needed even more of an incentive, blackberries are delicious, versatile, and packed with nutrients,” Lorenz said.

The Langley Demonstration Garden is run by the Township of Langley in partnership with the Langley Environmental Partners Society. Residents can drop by anytime throughout the year to discover sustainable yard and garden techniques, and Garden staff are on site weekdays from May until August to provide information and advice.