You wouldn't know summer is right around the corner from the weather, with rain and cooltomiddling temperatures.
But fortunately, all that moisture has not harmed the strawberry crop in Langley.
Driediger Farms will start selling berries next Monday, with U-pick likely to follow relatively soon.
This is a big season for Driediger Farms, which has expanded and rebuilt its on-site shop and has partnered with a local pastry chef to expand its range of farm-fresh products.
Rhonda Driediger said there has been a desire to expand the old storefront on 72nd Avenue for some time.
"It was due, it's been quite a while," she said.
The new facility will have more space to move around, including a courtyard, more display space, and will separate the U-pick section from the sales of fresh berries and other foods.
Those other foods will include the products of Sweet Thea's, a Langley City bakery that has been expanding rapidly, but which has no storefront of its own.
Thea Willgress started as a pastry chef and moved into a home-based business crafting wedding cakes. She has now opened a small bakery selling pies, cookies, tarts and other goods as well. With her husband and business partner Laurie Mercer, they market their baked goods exclusively at farmers markets around the Lower Mainland.
The partnership with Driediger Farms will give them a permanent home in the summer months, along with giving them a supply of berries from a longestablished local farm.
Driediger Farms approached Sweet Thea's this spring, specifically seeking someone local who didn't already have their own store.
The baker is looking forward to the new arrangement.
"The beautiful part is we are in an agricultural community," Willgress said.
The demand for local food, whether for the Hundred Mile Diet or to support local farms, is common to many of her customers.
"It's what people want, people are asking for it," Willgress said.
Driediger said her family's farm should be able to supply enough strawberries.
Traditionally, strawberry farmers like a bit of sun to sweeten up the berries just before they're picked. Langley has had a few sunny days, and the rain has left everything lush and green.
Both the size of the berries and the amount seems to be good, Driediger said.
There will be about four weeks of the first crop, followed at many local farms by another harvest in August as everbearing varieties ripen.
@ Copyright 2013