Alright, folks. Here is installment #2 of “Alyson Visits Cool Places”!
A few weeks ago, I began my day by touring around Wloka Farms Fruit Stand with amazingly-knowledgeable owner, Barb, at the helm. It was a bright and brisk morning, and the sun shone warmly through the fruit tree branches.
This beloved fruit (and vegetable) stand has been supplying residents of the Creston Valley with an abundance of perfectly-ripe produce since 2014. Owners Barb and Frank Wloka are constantly experimenting with different crops and techniques (ever heard of UFO pruning?), expanding their offerings on a seasonal basis.
One of Barb’s favourite new varieties is the Polka Raspberry, a vigorous plant that produces large, firm, and flavourful berries from the beginning of August all the way until the first hard frost. And how do you prune these hardy stalks, you ask? Simply mow the entire cane down to ground level at the end of each season. But don’t fret – it’ll grow back nice and tall before you know it!
Another really interesting product that the Wlokas have experimented with recently is a reflective groundcover called Extenday, which literally extends the day by reflecting sunlight from the ground back onto the fruit trees. According to Barb, their cherries grew to TWICE the regular size after two years’ use of this innovative and environmentally-friendly product.
Sometimes, however, crops become damaged or just don’t grow as planned, but the Wlokas have a solution to that, too! Whatever produce that’s been deemed too “imperfect” is thrown into a bin and listed for a can’t-beat price (sometimes it’s even free). This is an excellent resource for local farmers who are looking to feed their livestock nutrient-dense food on a budget.
In addition to their huge variety of fruits and veg, Wloka Farms Fruit Stand stocks their shelves with products from a few other local farmers like Just-A-Mere Organic Farm and Ki Mana Acres. Barb beamed as we spoke of the incredible things that these young farmers are quite literally bringing to the table. It’s wonderful to see such a strong sense of community and group support shared by Creston’s growers.
So, are you salivating yet? Then why not visit swing by Wloka Farms Fruit Stand on your way home from work and pick up some tasty additions for your dinner plate tonight? There’s truly something for everyone – from the most adventurous to the pickiest of eaters!
The Wlokas grow their massive selection of fruits and vegetables on over 60 acres of farmland all located within a 5 km radius. Now that’s what I call eating locally. Who needs a 100 mile diet when you live in Creston? 😉