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VIDEO: Sweet – Blackberry Bake-off returns to Langley

Family-oriented event is a way to teach about the invasive plant

The Blackberry Bake-Off has some new fans.

Drew Storey is a 17-year-old student at Langley Fine Arts School and though he lives a short distance from the Derek Doubleday Arboretum where the celebration of all things blackberry takes place, it was a new experience for him.

“This is my first time,” he said.

In fact it was his first time checking out the arboretum and its many attractions. He was one of those attractions, hired to perform live music during the Thursday afternoon family-oriented event.

“I got the gig through InstaGram,” Storey explained.

The bake-off was also a new event for the Gallagher family. Aly brought her two children to experience the event.

Aldergrove’s Vienna Gallagher, six, was an instant fan as soon as the food sampling started.

The public was allowed to sample up to four of the approximately 19 blackberry dishes submitted by the community. There were sweet dishes as well as savoury ones and even some drinks made with the berries.

People could then vote on their favourites while a panel of three judges sampled each item and selected winners in various categories. The judges this year were Diana Munday, a community herbalist and member of the Langley Field Naturalists, Lilianne Fuller, also with the naturalists, and Township Climate Action Team member Meghan Woods.

Public voting was tallied and factored into the judges’ scores which were based onoriginality, inclusion of blackberries, taste and presentation.

The winners:

1st place - Sandra Reams, blackberry iced tea

2nd place - Heather Diewert, sweetgrass blackberry coffeecake with lemon basil compote

3rd place - Natalie Walsh, blackberry lemon-lime scones

Kids’ entry - Madeleine Mowat, blackberry tea sandwiches​

“We estimated that 125 people attended the event,” said Alexandra Falconer, garden programs coordinator with the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS).

People could also tour the arboretum to see learn about blackberries, the community garden, the composting and other LEPS initiatives at the site, and more. It’s where LEPS holds many of its educational workshops throughout the year.

The bake-off, not held for the past two years due to COVID, returned to the popular in-person format with kids crafts, sampling, a barbecue, live entertainment, community group displays, and lessons on blackberries. It was a hot sunny day and this year organizers brought in a misting tent as well.

LEPS hosts the event, using the tasty berry to raise awareness about Himalayan blackberries being an invasive plant that crowds out native plants. People are encouraged to enjoy the berry but work to eradicate the plant which has taken over a great deal of land since it was brought over by European settlers.


• READ MORE: Battling invastive blackberries in Langley (with video)

• READ MORE: Langley volunteers free up native plants with blackberry removal


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Dallas Snow and others were able to keep cool thanks to a misting station set up for this year’s Blackberry Bake-off. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Rory Pearson helped decorate the booth of the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society for the Blackberry Bake-off. They and other community groups had booths set up to connect with the public. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Dallas Snow tried out the hopper balls that kids could play with at the Blackberry Bake-off Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. There was also a misting tent to help people stay cool. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Drew Story sang and played guitar, providing live music during this year’s Blackberry Bake-off on Aug. 25, 2022. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Before LEPS handed out samples, people checked out the list of about 19 dishes submitted for the Blackberry Bake-off. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Lisa Dreves, with LEPS, brought blackberry ketchup which was used at the barbecue held in conjunction with the Blackberry Bake-off. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
The public, including Aldergrove’s Vienna Gallagher, were lined up awaiting samples of the many blackberry selections. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
LEPS hosts the Blackberry Bake-off which features sweet and savoury dishes the public can sample. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Sam and Roseanna helped bring the family’s entry in the Blackberry Bake-off, delivering up scones for all to enjoy. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Vienna Gallagher, six, enjoyed sampling blackberry dishes at the Blackberry Bake-off on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, in addition to receiving blackberry play-dough to take home, courtesy of the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Judges Diana Munday, Lilianne Fuller and Meghan Woods captured the experience with photos. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Ryann Ward spent some time doing crafts when she stopped by the Blackberry Bake-off on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
The Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society entered a sweetgrass blackberry coffeecake with lemon basil compote, made by Heather Diewert. It won second place. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
The Blackberry Bake-off included sampling, a barbecue, crafts, tips on controlling blackberries, live music and more. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Heather Colpitts

About the Author: Heather Colpitts

Since starting in the news industry in 1992, my passion for sharing stories has taken me around Western Canada.
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