This year’s Blackberry Bake-Off on Wednesday afternoon featured 28 different dishes devoted to the fruit of the invasive species.
The annual event hosted by the Langley Environmental Partners Society offered the public a chance to sample sweet and savoury blackberry dishes, one sorbet and a blackberry drink.
“Since 2002, the Blackberry Bake-Off has combined community education about invasive species with an open house for the [Langley Demonstration] Garden, and of course, a fiercely competitive bake-off for the prestigious title of Langley’s Best blackberry chef,” said Emily Lorenz, LEPS demonstration garden coordinator.
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The focus on blackberries gives the local environmental group a way to teach about invasive species.
“Invasive plants are those introduced to a habitat from a different one,” she explained. “While some struggle in a different environment – think of exotic plants in your flower garden – others thrive and will even aggressively take over native ecosystems, usually because they lack the natural herbivores or climatic conditions of their home ecosystem.”
The public lines up to sample up to four of the dishes then votes on their favourite with the votes deciding the People’s choice award. A panel of local judges also weigh in on other prize categories, sampling all 28 dishes this year. The Nicomekl Enhancement Society was under the canopy at the Langley Demonstration Garden with their fundraising barbecue while community groups and local government agencies had information booths.
And the winners are:
First: Ken Lorenz with chocolate covered blackberries
Second: Amy Friesen with blackberry buckle with all fruit blackberry peach sorbet
Third: Darlene Sherwin with a blackberry tropical salsa
Peoples’ Choice Award: Carla Harrison with blackberry lemon bars