Didar Berry Farms – Delta, BC
For the Aujlay family, farming is part of their genetic makeup (they are fourth generation) and they couldn’t be happier about it.
In 1998, Anand and his wife Harjinder and their two children moved from Winnipeg to Delta. While many of their family members were blueberry growers in Abbotsford, it would be another seven years before he would follow the family tradition.
In 2005, he found the perfect plot of land in Delta. Although for many looking in, it was questionable as the land was very poorly looked after. Today, after years and years of hard work – clearing, weeding, resoiling, planting and lots of TLC – that rundown property, has been transformed and is home to Didar Berry Farms.
Named after his grandfather, Didar loosely translated means “I’m happy to see you.” Perhaps that’s why this booming blueberry business is a favorite U-Pick spot for locals and out-of-town visitors alike.
“We really enjoy the public interaction we get through the U-Pick aspect of our business,” they say, including “many families – such as grandparents who love to come and show their grandchildren where food comes from – it is such fun to watch and very gratifying. We’ve had visitors from all over the world come to U-Pick with us. We like to think that we are a tourist attraction. One of our regulars is a lady from Vancouver Island who each year makes a special trip to get our berries for her home-made blueberry wine.”
While Anand, who is an engineer with the BC Health Authority, focuses his time on the actual plants and managing the time-consuming business of growing, Harjinder (who is a teacher’s assistant with the Delta school district) is the public face of the farm. She acts as customer service, selling the packaged blueberries, sorting and packing the blueberries (with the help of a few workers), and, of course, organizing the U-Pick visitors. Now-grown daughter Manpreet (who is a teacher with Surrey District) and son, Daleep (a lawyer with a Vancouver legal firm) are also very active in the family business – taking care of the website, social media, communications, and getting involved with charities and local events such as the Experience Delta tour, group tours and even a local parade.
With 25,000 plants spread out over 15-plus acres, the Aujlay’s summer months (prime blueberry season) often include 16-hour days. For some working full time and running a booming blueberry farm would be daunting, but for this family, their passion and commitment grows stronger each day.
“We couldn’t imagine doing anything else – farming is in our blood.”