Apple picking in Montreal is ripe

U-pick now available in Chateauguay

September and October are the main apple-picking months around Montreal and going to U-pick apple orchards is a popular fall activity. Typically, orchard owners sell plastic bags for $8 apiece

John Symon


and you can fill up the 15lb bags with apples you pick yourself. And apples you eat in the orchard are free! Green foliage contrasts with red apples, making orchards very scenic and many families bring picnic lunches, take photos, and make a day out of the trip. The main areas for apple picking near Montreal are: Rougemont, Mont St-Hilaire and Mont St-Gregoire to the east, St-Eustache to the northwest, and Hemmingford to the south.Rural areas of Laval and of Ile Perrot also have orchards. Driving along country roads,it is difficult to miss signs for "Apple U-pick/ autocueillette des pommes." And since 2011,another area with a U-pick is actually within the City of Chateauguay. The orchard on Saint- Bernard Island opens to the public on Saturday, September 15. This is the second year that U-pick harvesting has been offered here where more than 400 trees, representing some 15 varieties of apples can be found.The orchard previously belonged to the Grey Nuns before being taken over by Chateauguay. The public can pick apples daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the first week of October here, but orchards elsewhere are sometimes open until late October.The main varieties left to harvest are Cortland,Empire,Gala,Honeycrisp, Lobo, McIntosh, Paulared and Spartan.Tell orchard staff what you plan to use the apples for (i.e. eating apples, pies, cider, etc.) and they will direct you to the best variety for that purpose. The sweetness and acidity can also vary sharply between varieties. Saint-Bernard Island is an island where the Chateauguay River meets the St. Lawrence River. The 2.2 square kilometre island also contains a windmill dating from 1686, the Marguerite- D'Youville wildlife refuge (The Times saw a snowy egret here),le Pavillon de l'île (an information chalet for visitors), art expositions, Bistro La Traite, and le Manoir D'Youville (a 120room hotel).Visitors can also participate in workshops to learn about honeybees.Some 8km of nature trails lead around Saint-Bernard Island; there is a trail access fee of $3.50 per adult. Bicycling is not allowed on Saint- Bernard Island's nature trails, but three bike trails (totalling 52km) lead off from Saint- Bernard Island, following the Chateauguay and St. Lawrence Rivers. For beer lovers, La Traite will offer tastings from various Quebec microbreweries and cider producers. Apple products such as pies and crumbles will be offered for sale at La Traite. The weekends of October 6/7 and 13/14 will see an Oktoberfest with animation, a BBQ, sausages and sauerkraut! Héritage Saint-Bernard (Island) 480, boulevard D'Youville, Île Saint-Bernard Chateauguay (Québec) J6J 5T9 450 698-3133 More information about leisure activities n Chateauguay: n/comm-new-website

More information about other local apple orchards (see Monteregie, Eastern Townships, Laurentides, & Laval regions) at: ges/PQQ/region.aspx

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* SEPTEMBER 15, 2012 7

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