Ah, September: the month that heat-stricken Montrealers have been waiting for all summer. Changing leaves, shorter days, pumpkin spice lattes and (hopefully) the start of sweater weather. While pumpkin-flavoured everything may get the bulk of the glory this season, make sure you save some room to savour the true star of autumn fruits in Canada: the apple.
Later this month, CLC will head into the nearby countryside to pick apples, a time-honoured Canadian tradition that heralds the unofficial start of fall. Apple picking in Canada goes back to the 17th century when French settlers were first recorded planting apple trees in Nova Scotia. Over time, apples have become a staple of farming in Canada. In Quebec alone, dozens of varieties are now grown.
Aside from the obvious culinary benefits (apple crumble, anyone?), apple picking also offers the chance to take in the great outdoors with family and friends at a time when many would say Quebec is at its most beautiful. Many orchards sell other apple-based goodies (like hot apple cider, apple butter or pies) and often sell apples by the basket for those who don’t have the time to pick their own. The picking is often the best part, though; nothing says fall like biting into a fresh, crisp apple you’ve just pulled from the tree.
A quick search online reveals numerous orchards within an hour’s drive of Montreal, many boasting stunning scenery and (of course) many mouth-watering varieties of apples—from tart Cortlands to sweet Golden Delicious. Some even offer tractor rides and other fun fall activities. Our favourite spot is Abbaye cistercienne Notre-Dame de Nazareth à Rougemont, an abbey located in Rougemont (a 45-minute drive from the city), which we’ll be visiting on September 28th. Space is still available for students, staff and non-students of CLC. The visit will include apple picking and a tour of the grounds. Snag your spot while you can and look forward to getting an authentic taste of autumn in Quebec!
– By Holly Tousignant