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Food Sources – U-pick Utopias

Summer treats sprout up at Manitoba’s bountiful farms

By Jared Clinton

Cormier’s Berry Patch – Photo: @iambkhalifa
BOONSTRA FARMS

A day of family fun awaits at this booming 35-acre spot less than five kilometres east of Stonewall. The simplistic beauty of a traditional red-and-white facade on a late-19th century fox barn welcomes visitors as they approach the peaceful serenity of prairie picking. Named Best Farm in Manitoba by CAA’s Going Places, this family-run operation boasts an on-site playground for young ones to enjoy, is home to baby rabbits and kittens and provides pre- and post-picking pick-me-ups for all at Boony’s Chip Truck. Boonstrafarms.com

CORMIER’S BERRY PATCH

Winnipeggers wishing for proximity to prime picking will find it at this 10-acre plot run by fourth-generation farmers Darren and Angie Cormier. Located just beyond the Perimeter and minutes east of La Salle, collect a basket of these bright-red berries by early afternoon and begin blending them into a refreshing smoothie, pairing them with a light picnic lunch or transforming them into a post-dinner delight while the sun is still high in the sky. Cormiersberrypatch.com

MISS MILLIE’S FLOWER FARM

Wander a wondrous half-acre meadow and pick bunches by the bucket at this one of a kind U-Pick. Tucked along the banks of the Assiniboine River and situated on the grounds of a third-generation grain farm, Miss Millie’s features more than 150 flower varieties–including ranunculus, poppies and roses–blooming and bouquet ready. Book an appointment and bound off to this up-and-coming farm half an hour west of Winnipeg that is a flower lover’s dream. Missmilliesflowerfarm.com

MAYFAIR FARMS

Strawberries wear the crown as U-Pick king, but Mayfair Farms’ assortment of ready-to-pick vegetables will have you serving your own farm-to-table meals. Pick lettuce for leafy salads, grab beets for canning, crowns of broccoli for broiling and pull together a fresh onion soup after harvesting a handful from this Portage la Prairie farm’s rich soil. Round out farm-fresh meals with local jams, syrups and hummus from an on-site shop. Close to Portage Golf Club, Island Park and Crescent Lake and Splash Island Park, Mayfair Farms also has a day-trip worthy location. Mayfairfarms.ca

Sour cherries at Plum Ridge Farm
PLUM RIDGE FARM

This farm’s season starts the moment asparagus springs from the soil and goes until this tree-lined farm 15 minutes west of Winnipeg Beach has been picked clean. Strawberries and raspberries are one draw, and increasingly popular are Saskatoon berries. Similar in appearance to a blueberry, these subtly nutty berries are closer in relation to apples. Be sure to cherrypick something to counter the sweetness, too. Pluck a handful of sour cherries to top off a basket and prepare to pucker up. Plumridgefarm.ca

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