British Columbians have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Himalayan blackberry.
On one hand, it’s a prolific invasive plant that chokes out native species and spreads with ease. On the other, it produces a tasty fruit that can be turned into delicious pies, jams and cobblers.
On Wednesday, Aug. 15, from noon to 3 p.m. the blackberry will be given its due during the annual Blackberry Bake-Off and Open House at the Langley Demonstration Garden, located in the Derek Doubleday Arboretum, 21200 block of Fraser Highway.
Since 2002, the Blackberry Bake-Off has combined community education about invasive species with an open house for the garden — and, of course, a fiercely competitive bake-off for the prestigious title of Langley’s Best Blackberry Chef.
Why blackberries? Invasive plants are those introduced to a habitat from a different one. While some struggle in a different environment (think of the exotic plants in your flower garden), others thrive and will even aggressively take over native ecosystems, usually because they lack the natural herbivores or climatic limitations of their home ecosystem.
The Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) and Township of Langley host the fun, family event each summer to bring awareness to the repercussions of invasive plant species in the Langley area and the ways residents can help minimize the amount growing throughout the region.
For $5, visitors can enjoy a locally sourced barbecue lunch. There will also be a kids craft corner and live music.
No registration is required unless entering a culinary creation. To register for the bake-off, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-546-0344.