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Fraser Valley Farm Tour: Where to eat, stay and play

The heat is on, it’s time to hit the road, but where to run when you’ve got limited time and means, and don’t want to deal with border crossings, planes or ferries? It’s simple.
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Get your tour off to a blessed start at the tasting chapel at Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery.


The heat is on, it’s time to hit the road, but where to run when you’ve got limited time and means, and don’t want to deal with border crossings, planes or ferries? It’s simple. Head east toward farm country and discover some delicious and delightful places to stay, play, and – most importantly – dine.

Abbotsford is a scant 45 minutes (depending on traffic) from Vancouver and has grown, like much of the Fraser Valley, into much more than a collection of suburbs and farms. It’s a worthy day (or weekend) trip, boasting wineries, restaurants and, yes, farms.

Let’s start with the wines. Places like the brand-new Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery produce small-lot estate wines grown on Mount Lehman. Try its Reserve Petit Verdot or the Pinot Gris in the tasting chapel (yes, it’s an actual chapel) and enjoy the views of rolling hills and fields. Nearby, Singletree Winery is known for its elegant Grüner Veltliner, grown on the estate and made in Summerland at Okanagan Crush Pad.

Drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea, so make sure to stop by Mt. Lehman Cheese Co. to stock up on goat and buffalo-milk cheeses at the working farm, like the excellent Blue Capri, a dense, creamy goat blue that gives a hint of salt and a sweet finish. For a proper meal, stop by Brambles Bistro at Tanglebank Gardens nursery. Work up an appetite while shopping for succulents, then head over to the bistro for a quiet lunch or brunch in a garden setting.

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Mt. Lehman Cheese Co.'s award-winning Blue Capri. - Mt. Lehman Cheese Co photo
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The Moroccan tagine at Brambles Bistro. - Brambles / Facebook photo

Once you’ve fuelled up, Taves Family Farms is the perfect place to start your fruit-picking adventures, especially if you’ve got kids. The working farm opens to the public each year in August (on the 18th this year). Check out the petting barn, pedal karts and the Farmville play area, and stock up on U-pick apples. Do not miss out on their cider, a natural, unfiltered juice with no added water, sugar or preservatives that they make on site. There are also hay rides, cider-press demos, pony rides and a corn quest maze.

Looking for more? Sleep at one of Abby’s many B&Bs and hotels (and spare some time for a peek into the Pinterest-worthy antique shop The Market by Spruce Collective), then continue down the highway in the morning to warm and windy Harrison/Agassiz region, about 30 minutes away.

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Shop for vintage décor at The Market by Spruce Collective. - The Market / Facebook photo

Driving is thirsty work, so make sure to stop at nearby Kermode Wild Berry Wines in Dewdney, just past Mission, for some dry table wines (or even a sweet port) made entirely from locally foraged berries. The tasting room is open from noon to 6pm daily in the summer months. Continue on and stop at The Farm House Natural Cheeses for certified-organic, grass-fed goat and cow-milk cheeses, and visit with the resident baby goats. The farm store also sells locally made products like honey, tea, quinoa and more. Don’t miss the goat gouda!

Also don’t miss a stop at Cheam Trading Post for local wild salmon caught by the area’s First Nations band. The store also sells handmade First Nations gifts and clothing, fresh and smoked salmon, salmon candy, local fruits from surrounding farms and fair-trade products.

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Local fish for sale at Cheam Trading Post. - Cheam photo

For your next overnight, check in to Rowena’s Inn on the River, a stunning property that features a main guest house as well as individual cabins, the renowned Sandpiper golf course, and The Clubhouse Restaurant, where the slow-roasted prime rib is justly famous. 

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Rowena's Inn on the River boasts great food, golf and R&R after a weekend of touring. - Contributed photo

If this is your base of operations, day trips to Harrison Hot Springs are easy (it’s a 10-minute drive). Enjoy a day (or three) taking in the springs and doing some hiking and boating before heading back to reality. The local resort also offers stay-and-play packages year-round.

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Windsurfing on Harrison Lake. - Contributed photo
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Finish your staycation with some unexplored coast, courtesy of Shoreline Tours in Harrison. - Contributed photo

• Anya Levykh is a food, drink and travel writer who covers all things ingestible. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @foodgirlfriday.