Best time to visit Vancouver

Cranberry Harvest in Vancouver

In the middle of fall, plain low-growing cranberry vines transform into exuberant red bogs

Best time: late September–early November

Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry Harvest
Cranberry Harvest

British Columbia is among the world's largest cranberry providers. The regional cranberry harvest comprises around 12% of North America's yield. Locals take pride in cranberries, for unlike many other crops cultivated in the area, the tart red berry is native to this land. The cranberry harvest brings excellent income to the country's budget. Once during the Gold Rush period, the price of cranberries even surpassed that of gold itself. Needless to say, this fruit boasts an excellent nutritional profile and is featured in countless recipes. Yet, the most beautiful thing about cranberries is its vividly red harvest season that runs from late September to early November. The prime time for taking in the crimson landscapes of the cranberry bogs is October.

Most cranberry fields are located close to Vancouver, south or south-east of the city. Richmond produces about 38% of B.C.'s total yield. Other scenic harvesting areas include Delta, Langley City, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and Chilliwack in Fraser Valley. All of these locations are within driving distance from Vancouver.

Even though some people might think that cranberries grow in water, it's not true. The vineyards aren't that spectacular before the wet harvest begins: they rather resemble overgrown lawns. When harvest season comes, the growers flood the fields with up to 6-10 in (15-25 cm) of water. Afterward, they pull the berries off their vines with the help of beaters.

As the area is "beaten," the farmers raise the water to 2-3 ft (some 60-90 cm). They move all the cranberries to one corner of a bog, using a special kind of floating barrier called a boom and also rakes. Finally, the berries are pumped out, rinsed with clear water, separated from debris, and loaded on the trucks for shipping to processing facilities.

The cranberry harvest season doesn't get much publicity because farmers are reluctant to open their working farms to visitors. After all, these are not tourist attractions. But even without an invitation, hundreds of keen photographers come to capture the occasion. The best way to watch and shoot cranberry bogs is from the side of a road. Some travel operators offer cranberry field tours or bike rentals for rides along the cranberry trails.

Fort Langley Cranberry Festival (October 8, 2022)

Another great option to celebrate the season and feast on cranberries is to visit one of the cranberry harvest festivals, such as the one held in Fort Langley in Metro Vancouver. This one-day event offers a pancake breakfast, food trucks, live entertainment, a children's area, fun exhibits in local museums, and the Cranberry Festival Regatta. Festival-goers can purchase everything from fresh local cranberries and cranberry wine to cranberry-inspired jewelry.

Practical info

When does the Vancouver Cranberry Harvest take place?

The harvest season for cranberries in Vancouver is from late September to early November, with its peak season occurring in October. Show more

What are the locations of Vancouver's scenic harvesting areas for cranberries?

The areas for cranberry harvesting in Vancouver are located in the city's south or southeast, which include Richmond, Delta, Langley City, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Chilliwack in Fraser Valley. Richmond, in particular, accounts for 38% of the province's total yield. Show more

What is the conventional Vancouver cranberry harvesting method?

In Vancouver, the traditional approach to cranberry harvesting entails flooding the fields with water between 6-10 inches deep and using beaters to detach the berries from the vines. As the area is beaten, the farmers would subsequently raise the water to 2-3 feet and gather the cranberries together using a floating barrier called a boom and rakes. The collected berries are then extracted, washed with clear water, separated from debris and loaded onto trucks headed for processing facilities. Show more

What other events can one attend during Vancouver's Cranberry Harvest season?

Apart from the main event, the Cranberry Festival, other festivities that happen within Vancouver's Cranberry Harvest season include the Sip, Sample & Shop Event happening at Abbotsford and Maple Ridge's Haney Farmers Market, featuring local cranberries, cranberry wine, cranberry-inspired jewelry and other locally grown products. Show more

What process do Vancouver farmers use to separate cranberries from other debris during harvest season?

Farmers in Vancouver typically utilize a process of floatation and screening to extract cranberries from debris during harvest season. After collection, the berries undergo treatment with clear water, and eventually pass through a screening process to discard damaged or decaying berries, along with leaves, twigs and stones. Finally, the cranberries are packaged and transported to processing facilities for further production. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Cranberry Harvest (Map)

Last updated:
Authors: Olha Savych