There’s just something about the changing of the leaves and the crisp autumn air that beckons a visit to an orchard. Apple picking is, and has seemingly always been, a quintessential fall activity – right up there with raking up leaves and jumping into the pile, a total must. What better way to enjoy a fall day than getting the family out of the house and into the country. Besides, is there anything more delicious than taking a bite from a perfectly succulent apple plucked right from the tree? I certainly don’t think so.
With plenty of local u-pick orchards nearby, families can enjoy great time without having to go too far out of the way. Here are a list of orchards we suggest you visit this fall:
SOUTH OF MONTREAL
Cidrerie-Verger Léo Boutin
710 Rang de la Montagne, Mont St. Grégoire.
Snuggled in the heart of the Monteregie is Le Verger Leo Boutin, known for its orchard as well as its cider factory. Families can enjoy apple picking, picnics, tractor-drawn wagon rides, and an animal farm, while adults can sample a variety of ciders produced on site. Open all year round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in September and October from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. About a 40-minute drive from Montreal.
Verger Au Coeur de la Pomme
42 Route 237 N., Frelighsburg
A family-run orchard in Frelighsburgh, families will not only be privy to apple picking but also to the orchard’s very own old-fashioned cider vinegar, jellies, preserves and mustards, which are sure to tickle the taste buds. Moreover, the orchards lets you take a stroll through history as the newly-renovated vinegar mill and boutique are both found inside historic barns built in 1856 and once owned by Quebec Premier Adelard Godbout –you can read all about the history of the farm on different informational panels scattered throughout the site. Or, you could just sit back, relax and have a picnic by the Pike River. It is open to the public Thursday through Sunday from mid-August to mid-November. Apple picking starts early September. It is approximately one hour and 15 minute drive from Montreal. For the 2020-2021 season, it will be business as usual for the Verger Au Coeur de la Pomme, and families can still enjoy u-pick, while its picnic tables will continue to be available. The store, however, will be limiting the number of customers they will allow inside at the same time. Only one member of each family will be allowed in at a time, but the orchard will be offering tastings of their products outside to help speed traffic inside the store.
Vergers et Cidrerie Denis Charbonneau
575 Rang de la Montagne, Mont St. Grégoire.
This place doubles as an apple orchard and sugar shack. There are several playgrounds for kids, a mini farm, motorized and horse-drawn carriage rides, and a restaurant that serves classic Breton crepes. You might want to try this orchard if you have older kids, because right next to the sugar shack area is an Arbraska forest adventure park (for age 5 and up). You can pick your own apples from July 24 to Oct. 8. It is approximately a 45-minute drive from Montreal.
Due to the health safety measures because of the pandemic, the orchard’s restaurant is temporarily closed. The store, however, will remain open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Up to 10 people at a time will be allowed inside the store. All of the orchard’s products will still be available at the store, including its famous ciders, pies, and apple juice.
Vergers Pierre Tremblay et fils
375 Rang de la Montagne, Mont St. Grégoire.
Near Mont St. Grégoire, this orchard has a playground, sandbox and a mini farm, where you can visit Basil Tremblay, a beloved donkey who acts as the orchard’s mascot. Aside from pies, cookies and muffins, the on-site restaurant serves lunch with food like homemade soups and quiches. The Orchard is open from late July 24 until Oct. 20, during which time you can pick apples everyday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. It is approximately a 40-minute drive from Montreal.
Potager Mont-Rouge Halte Gourmande
154 Rang de la Montagne, Rougemont
A tractor ride will take you to the apple orchard at Potager Mont-Rouge Halte Gourmande, where you’ll also be able to meet animals in a mini-farm, jump on a giant trampoline and walk through a corn maze. Aside from apples, you can also pick strawberries, pumpkins, tomatoes, eggplants, and more fruits and vegetables on the site. The orchard is open for apple picking from early August to mid-October. It is approximately a 45-minute drive from Montreal.
In accordance with the government’s public health guidelines, masks will mandatory in the tractor rides and in the farm shop. There will be a limit to the number of people who can enter the shop at a time and there will be hand washing stations throughout the orchard.
WEST OF MONTREAL
2495 Perrot Blvd. S., Notre Dame de l’Île-Perrot.
Quinn Farm in Notre Dame de L’Ile Perrot has a barn full of animals to visit, a small maze made out of bales of hay, and sausages on homemade buns from the barbecue. Added perk, weekends between Sept. 21 and Oct. 14 are fall festival days, which means plenty of tractor and pony rides, live music and more. Apple picking is offered every day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from September to beginning of October. It is approximately a 40-minute drive from Montreal.
Quinn Farm has made several changes for the 2020 season because of COVID-19. For every u-pick season this year, families must make a reservation online before they arrive at the farm. Masks are mandatory in the store and on wagon and tractor rights. A two-metre distance has to be maintained because your family and others, and hand washing when coming in and leaving the site is a must. Loitering or gathering on the farm will also not be allowed. There will be no food consumption of the fruits you pick on the fields. Unnecessary touching of objects, like on the farm or products in the store, is discouraged. Also, Quinn Farm encourages that only one person per family enters the store. Some of the animal barns and play yards are opened on the farm.
Le Verger Labonté
2291 Perrot Blvd., Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot.
This Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot orchard has a playground area, mini-farm, and corn mazes set up for kids of different age groups (some are short, some take a long time) including special Halloween mazes on October 25. Bring your own picnic. Begins Aug. 19 , hours are 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the week and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekend. It is approximately a one-hour drive from Montreal.
Vergers Écologiques Philion
389 Route 202, Hemmingford.
A little outside the country village of Hemmingford, Philion Ecological Orchards boasts a variety of apples available for you-pick. There are also picnic tables located throughout the orchards, so pack a lunch and enjoy a nice afternoon. Moreover there are guided tours, walking paths in the woods and tractor rides. Season runs from late August to mid-October. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., about a one hour drive from Montreal. Because of the pandemic, tractor rides for the time being will be cancelled, and masks will be mandatory at the orchard at all times. Otherwise, you can continue to enjoy its apples, pears, plums and the wide variety of wines Philion Ecological Orchards has to offer.
1019 Route 202, Franklin Centre.
This orchard offers free face painting for children on select days in September and October. Beginning this season, there is also new game structures, swings, slides, and a large sandbox for kids to enjoy. Come and pick apples, jump on inflatables, visit a mini-farm and enjoy animation and walking paths. Apple season runs from Aug. 26 to Oct. 22, Thursday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Wednesday upon reservation. Approximately an hour and 15 minutes from Montreal.
Maniadakis Organic Orchard
1150 Route 209, Franklin Centre
Maniadakis Organic Orchard is found in the Franklin Centre. It boasts a massive wooden castle, with sand in and around it for kids to play in. Visitors can also climb to the top of the castle for a beautiful view. Beyond apples, the orchard also has 7 varieties of pears, which you can also pick. The season runs from the beginning of August to the end of October. You can pick apples from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. It’s an hour and 15-minute trip southwest of Montreal.
NORTH OF MONTREAL
La Magie de la Pomme
925 Fresnière, St. Eustache.
This orchard offers apple picking as well as more than 100 varieties of pumpkin and squash. Upon arrival, children will be welcomed by Princess Api, the farm’s mascot, get to taste homemade apple bread, watch a puppet show, visit a mini-farm, and of course pick apples. Apple picking is offered September 7 through October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Approximately a one-hour drive from Montreal.
The orchard will be open for apple and pumpkin picking this season even with the pandemic, but families can make an online reservation. New this year, the orchard is offering local wines, regional ales and ciders in their store, which is open on Thursdays and Fridays.
223 rang Sainte-Sophie, Oka
The orchard’s name is a play on the owner’s name and the French word for apple juice, jus de pomme, which hints at the light-hearted atmosphere you’ll find at Jude Pomme. Families can pick from 30 varieties of apples, as well as collect pears and plums, take a tractor rides, or have a picnic. Visitors can sample apples, plums, and pears that are currently in harvest. Open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. all week from August to the end of October. It is approximately a one-hour drive from Montreal.
Verger La tête dans les pommes
1673 Principal Rd., St. Joseph-du-Lac
Verger La tête dans les pommes has numerous activities for kids including tractor rides, story times, a mini-farm, a duck pond, and a picnic area. Families can sample the farm’s products. Picking season runs from the beginning of September to Oct. 17, everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is approximately a one-hour drive from Montreal.
EAST OF MONTREAL
Verger du Flanc Nord
835 Rouillard Rd., Mont St. Hilaire.
Located in Mont S. Hilaire, the orchard boasts a wide variety of apples, as well as a space for picnics and a play area. Furthermore, kids can go on tractor rides and check out the animal farm, while adults will most likely enjoy the terrace and artisanal ice ciders. Open mid-August to the end of October from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is approximately 45-minutes from Montreal.
For those wondering about where to find organic apple orchards near Montreal, you can use the search function on the Directory of Quebec Certified Organic Products. You specify the area and type of farm you’re looking for.
One of the organic apple farms that might be worth your while is Maniadakis Organic Orchard in Franklin Centre. It boasts a massive wooden castle, with sand in and around it for kids to play in. Visitors can also climb to the top of the castle for a beautiful view. 1:15 minute trip southwest of Montreal. Another recommendation is organic farm Verger aux Quatres Vents in Henryville, which is an hour’s drive south of Montreal.
* Information updated August, 2019