Judges taste the blackberry dishes but the public also gets to vote at the Blackberry Bake-Off. (Langley Advance files)

Public helps pick winners at Langley’s Blackberry Bake-Off

The free event is Aug. 17 at the Langley Demonstration Garden.

The Blackberry Bake-Off typically has about two dozen tempting treats submitted for judging and the public has a role to play in whose culinary creations win.

In addition to a panel of local judges, the bake off has public voting and people can taste test submissions.

“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 Coordinator 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 bake off happens noon to 3 p.m. on Aug. 17 at the Demonstration Garden in the Derek Doubleday Arboretum, 21200 Fraser Hwy.

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. People can check out the garden and learn about the Langley Environmental Partners Society which oversees the arboretum and hosts the event.

But the main attraction is the luscious berry creations, both sweet and savory.

Bake off entries must be submitted by 12:15 p.m., and tasting starts at 12:45 p.m. The public can find out about entering a dish by contacting garden@leps.bc.ca or 604-546-0344. Anyone submitting dishes must register in advance so they can obtain the list of acceptable ingredients, food safe information and contest rules.

There is no cost to attend the event.

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 (LEPS). 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.