Janine Myska enjoys a sweet strawberry while picking strawberries at Boonstra Farms located east of Stonewall, Man., along Highway 67. (Brook Jones/Interlake Publishing/PostmediaNetwork)
The ever-popular berry-picking hotspot known as Boonstra Farms is in full swing since opening early for the season on June 26.
Murray Boonstra, one of the family business owners, says that the weather enabled the farm to open earlier this year and guests can expect strawberry picking to last approximately three weeks. At that time, raspberry picking usually picks up.
“We’ve changed things a bit this year, we are doing pay-before-you-pick as a way to eliminate lineups for paying after picking,” said Boonstra.
Services include self-pick and pre-picked strawberries, raspberries, farm tours, a corn maze, Boony’s Chip Truck eats, a petting zoo, a playground and more. For those unsure of what to do with all their pickings, Boonstras also has a ton of recipes on its website.
Boonstra and his wife Pauline started the farm with just 50 cows in 1988. Two years later, the couple planted 20 rows of strawberries in attempt to bring in some extra income for their four children.
“We really just started the berry picking as an activity for our kids and a way for them to earn a little bit of money,” said Boonstra. “It got really popular.”
Demand for the berries grew and within a decade, the berry field expanded to 10 acres. Once school tours and the corn maze became popular, the couple sold the cows and increased the berry picking further. They now own 35 acres of strawberries, four acres of raspberries and a 10-acre corn maze.
The business is now co-owned by Murray and Pauline along with their son, Carl, and his wife Danielle.
Over the years, the farm has partnered up with different charities such as the Canadian Food Grain Bank, United Way, Stonewall Youth Center and many others. For more information, visit www.boonstrafarms.com.