Just off highway one, in the farm town of Rosedale you’ll find fields and fields of delicious blueberries owned by a local family in Chilliwack, British Columbia. The family has been farming for over 30 years! With over 87 acres of blueberries, their goal is to grow and produce natural and flavor-filled blueberries through sustainable farming.
When visiting Klaassen Farms, you can walk through the fields, learn how to pick blueberries and find the best ones! The farm is welcoming on a sunny day, with picnic tables near the farm store and friendly staff to answer any questions related to the farm. Visit the farm store for locally sourced BC products, including Klaassen Farms blueberry jam, ice cream, muffins and lemonade. We know what you’re thinking… run, don’t walk.
Farming has been in the Klaassen family for decades now. It all started in Ontario where the family took over a small blueberry farm. The farm quickly became a great diversification for the family, giving them an alternate focus to the other activities and businesses that they were involved in. After a relocation to British Columbia by two of the brothers, Jake and William, farming continued with the purchase of a small blueberry farm in Chilliwack.
Over the years, the farm has continued to expand. Today, Klaassen Farms has grown to over 87 acres with a variety of different kinds of high bush blueberries. Ultimately, the health benefits of blueberries as well as a great growing climate in BC have been great motivating factors for growth and innovation as the family continues to focus their farming efforts in Rosedale.
Klaassen Farms’ farming practices are something to be noted. They use a combination of natural and environmentally sensitive products on their blueberries, providing you with nutritious blueberries, fresh and frozen throughout the year. They are a bee friendly farm and they are Canada GAP certified. Their “only spray when necessary” policy assures that their blueberries are safe to eat right from the field. To learn more about their farming practices, you can visit their website’s FAQ page.
Did you know that there are different types of blueberries? When asked what types of blueberries Klaassen Farms grows, they said “The best ones!” Growing 5 different varieties on their 87-acre farm, the Klaassen’s have a type of blueberry for anything and everything.
Blueberry varieties you’ll find in the Klaassen fields:
Duke: A deliciously sweet and plump berry that is not only great for eating fresh, but a favourite to freeze and sell throughout the off season at the Klaassen farm store. These are a dard blue, high bush. If these are your favourite, they can be picked fresh at the start of the season for about 4 weeks. They have a nice shelf life and tend tend to stay fresh longer than similar sweet berries.
Fun fact! The taste is not determined by the size of the berry! The amount of times a bee visits and pollinates the berry blossoms determines the size of the berries. Taste is determined by the soil, the high-quality nutrients that they feed the soil, and making sure they pick only ripe berries. Healthy blueberries taste the best.
Bluecrop: Also a high bush berry, Bluecrop is only available in the Klaassen’s U-pick fields. Some of the Bluecrop bushes are over 40 years old. They are slightly larger in size than the Duke’s and are super juicy. Due to their size, they are best eaten within a few days or frozen to prevent them from going too soft. Bluecrop are often used in wine making as they age nicely and have a sweet flavor.
Reka: This variety is sweet with a slight tart after taste. It is often used for jam or wine and sold offsite to distributors and wineries. The Reka bushes have a floral scent that is lovely to walk through in the peak of the season.
Elliott: The Elliott is the last variety of the season and are often underrated as they are known to be more tart in taste. They are a beautiful silverfish blue colour and they need extra sunshine to become sweet and ripe. They have a nice crisp texture and flavour – some say they taste like sour key candies!
Calypso: These berries won’t be ready on the Klaassen Farms fields until the summer of 2021. They say good things come to those who wait! So for now Klaassen Farms is patiently waiting for these super large and sweet berries.
Are you craving blueberries yet?
If you don’t have time to savour some berry picking, stop by for ice cream, and a pre-picked box at the farm, or visit one of their roadside stands throughout Chilliwack.
This year, U-pick fields will be looking a little bit different than usual, but on the plus side. We’ll still be able to do U-pick. Klaassen Farms will provide the buckets and will have hand wash stations set up around the fields. For more information on U-pick at Klaassen Farms, you can visit their website.
The Klaassen Farm Team
Klaassen farms is managed by a diversified team of people. In charge of all the growing and field work, is Bill Van Oosterom. Together with his two sons, Bill spends hours in the fields, watching over all aspects of the health of the plants. From pruning to picking and everything in between, Bill’s attention to detail is second-to-none. Bill has a diversified background in horticulture. He quite literally “feels” the plants as they go through the different stages of their yearly cycle.
However, even the best blueberries in the world still need to make their way out to the market. Filling this role is Bernadette Maguire. She is the sales and marketing coordinator and she oversees all aspects of marketing the Klaassen berries. She also manages the barn, the farm store and the stands, the sorting lines, all the farm social media presence, and the website. Bernadette is full of energy and knowledge on the many different aspects of the farm. To catch her in a conversation at the barn, is to talk with a person of extreme passion and care.
Rounding out the team is Dean Maerz. Dean oversees the over-all operations of the farm. He was born with farming in his blood, growing up on a farm in central Alberta. He is passionate about sustainability, excellence, and mentoring young workers in all aspects of growth and development. He can be found doing any number of jobs, from managing budgets, to fixing things, and working alongside others, filling different roles as needed.
Together, Bill, Bernadette, and Dean work together to make sure every part of the farming operation is done to the highest of standards, with environmental care, and with community engagement. They are always available to answer any questions when it comes to the farm and any of its many areas of operation.