Today was the Strawberry Festival at the Jungle Farm just north of Innisfail. Since that’s right in my neck of the woods, I decided to take the family out and enjoy a few strawberries. The Jungle Farm is the biggest strawberry farm I’ve visited – with about 12 acres of strawberries. However, strawberries aren’t the only thing you’ll find there. They also grow raspberries and a variety of flowers. In their little store you’ll find fresh vegetables, BC fruit and preserves. Their fields are full of all varieties of produce such as lettuce, cucumbers, pumpkins, and even artichokes. They even have a couple of greenhouses in which they they grow bedding plants and such. They are also a part of the Innisfail Growers – a group of five central Alberta farm families who cooperatively market their produce in local farmer’s markets.
I’m not sure how busy they are on a regular summer’s day, but today, with the Strawberry Festival going on, there was a quite a number of people there. I counted 28 cars in the parking lot. One of the fellows I talked to brought his family up from Calgary to have the experience of picking berries with his daughters. Now I personally would prefer to pick berries all my myself, but my wife would much rather have the anonymity of being in a large crowds, so she was glad we came on this day.
The strawberries themselves weren’t too bad. Quite a few berries had hail damage from a few weeks ago, so many of them didn’t LOOK their best, but the taste was still just fine. It was easy picking, with several large berries filling our basket in a matter of mere minutes. With 12 acres to choose from, it was easy to find a place that hadn’t yet been picked over.
For the Kids
The real story at the Jungle Farm is the attractions for the kids. My son took immediately to the big sand pile that was stocked with a variety of toys. My daughter ran over to the kid-sized wooden train that was right beside the paved tricycle track. My kids loved these attractions much more than they cared to pick strawberries. They were in tears when we had to leave (being past their nap time didn’t help though.)
Now I will have to check this out for myself later this fall, but I understand there are activities going on at the Jungle even into the fall. They have a pumpkin patch (great for pictures of the kids), hayrides, a corn maze, a bay maze and more. This is also a great time to pick up some of their famous pickles. But I’ll have to tell you more about that later.
A Final Word
If I’m planning on bringing kids with me next time I pick berries, I’ll certainly go to the Jungle Farm. It’s great to have a place where the kids can have lots of fun (and dad can fill his basket with fruit). I’ve very excited to take the kids to the pumpkin patch this fall and get a few bags of cukes (as I did last year) to make some pickles. So if you AND the kids want to head out to a upick – be sure to check out the Jungle Farm.
Want to Visit the Jungle Farm?
Here’s what you need to know:
From the Innisfail overpass continue on 6 kms north. On the right-hand side you will see the U-Pick sign for The Jungle and then farther on you will see a sign for “The Old Pole Road”. At this intersection turn left (west) and go 2.5 kms. They are on the right side of the road (north). Park in the lot near the little red barn.
Strawberries, raspberries, flowers, cucumbers, pumpkins, lettuce, onions, artichokes, and more.
At the time of this article, strawberries were $2.50 per lb.
You can check out their website for upcoming events and other important info. http://www.thejunglefarm.com