It’s a little-known secret that participating in the yearly Agassiz Farms Cycle Tour is one of the best ways to experience the scenic mountains, country roads, rolling crops, unruly wildflowers and country charm of the Fraser Valley.
On Saturday, July 21, armed with sunscreen, helmets, bikes and a backpack for goodies collected along the way, cyclists will enjoy a 30-kilometre tour of the Agassiz Harrison area with dozens of farm and community stops.
Participants have between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to do the tour at their own pace – starting and stopping when they please.
|Some friendly little faces greet visitors to the Farm House Natural Cheeses – one of many stops along the Agassiz Farms Cycle Tour this Saturday, July 21. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)|
“People – particularly in the city – are disconnected from the whole farming experience and how their food is brought into production and gets into the stores,” Tourism Harrison executive director Robert Reyerse said. “And for a lot of them it’s just a wonder when they do come out and get to experience it up close and personal.”
And the variety of sights, sounds and tastes is endless.
Cyclists can check out the eclectic assortment of fresh foods, flowers and local goods at the recently-revived Agassiz Farm Fresh Market, relish in old-world charm at the Kilby Historic Site and learn about the deep roots of the area’s agricultural history at the Agassiz Harrison Museum – where the main gallery was once the freight shed for local fruit, vegetables and animals waiting to be shipped to Vancouver by train.
The UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre – recognized internationally for its research on welfare and reproduction – is another stop open for participants, providing a great opportunity to meet dairy cows and calves and learn more about the dairy industry. The BC Dairy Mobile Classroom will be at the Agricultural Hall from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with live calf feedings and milking demonstrations. Every hour and a half there will be 30-minute presentations on cow anatomy, diet and milk production!
Cyclists can also meet the spunky, curious goats and try delectable organic cheeses at Farm House Natural Cheeses, enjoy the organic gardens, farm-grown produce, tapas and hand-crafted items at Earthwise Farm and Garden, pick up fresh, spray-free Tulameen raspberries and Duke blueberries at Hammersley Farms, learn about Coho salmon farming at Golden Eagle Farms, and so much more.
“Smell the farm smells, see the farm animals, and see the countryside as well where food grows,” Reyerse urges. “It’s just a great experience for the whole family.”
And there’s no cause for concern if you go overboard purchasing organic cheese, berry preserves, antiques or hand-crafted goods while you cycle, because Tourism Harrison and the BC Sportfishing Group provide a shopping shuttle service that pick up items and stores them safely at the tour’s starting point.
Reyerse expects to see anywhere from 600 to 1,000 cyclists on the route, depending on weather. A portion of the route travels along Highway 7, but traffic controls will be in place, along with clear signage along the entire route.
Registration is available on site at the Agassiz Agricultural Hall or online. Registration is $10 for adults 17 and over and free for children. Online sales end Friday, July 20 at 9 a.m. Brochures and maps are available online and at the registration desk.