Exploring Surrey’s kitchen gardens, from pioneer to present

Historic Stewart Farm presents 'From Field to Table: The Pioneer Kitchen Garden Revival,'opening Saturday.

John Stewart and family on the verandah of their Elgin area home

Long before there was Costco, Safeway, or the friendly, neighbourhood corner store, Surrey’s pioneers looked to their gardens for the food they needed to sustain themselves and their families.

The kitchen garden was a vital source of fresh veggies and fruits for meals, home baking, canning and preserving, as well as home remedies.

Fast forward to today, and you’ll discover some of those same connections between the garden and the table remain in place today.

From Field to Table: The Pioneer Kitchen Garden Revival, the feature exhibit at the Historic Stewart Farm, is a timely celebration of food origins, from pioneer days to the present.

It runs Sept. 15 and runs to Nov. 3. Opening day features a host of food-related activities at the historic farm, located at 13723 Crescent Road, running from noon to 4 p.m.

Along with a display of apple varieties, heritage apple and pear trees will be on sale, plus grape plants, courtesy of “The Apple Lady”.

Learn how to grow fruit from B.C. fruit testers and master gardener. At 1 p.m., Chef Karen Dar Woon presents The Hows and Whys of Food Preservation. Or take the heritage garden tour and talk, also at 1 p.m., followed by a cooking demonstration at 2 p.m.

The apple cider press will be put into service, allowing visitors to watch apple juice being made. Explore the pole barn, home to the Advance-Rumely threshing machine and new interpretive displays on Surrey’s agricultural history, or try kid-friendly hands-on activities and crafts, or take a guided tour of the 1890s farmhouse and grounds.

Later this month, Stewart Farm hosts From Field to Table, a program running from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27. Chef Ryan from White Rock’s Uli’s Restaurant will be on hand, exploring a menu plan using local food, sharing local wines, and even table decorating tips.

It’s open to ages 16 and up. The cost is $35.

Kids are invited to tour the From Field to Table exhibit at Veggie Fables, Saturday, Oct. 13 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Fee is $10. For ages 6 to 9 years. Pre-register at 604-592-6956.

From Field to Table, the Pioneer Kitchen Garden Revival runs Sept. 15 to Nov. 3. Open Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Entrance by donation. For more, call 604-592-6956 or visit www.surrey.ca/heritage.