Sunday, November 27, 2011

A road trip to the cranberry marsh (lots of photos).......

Back in October I purchased a couple of Groupon deals to Johnston's Cranberry Marsh  We were supposed to go at the beginning of November when our family were here from Britain, but due to my step-father taking ill we never got.

As the weather was going to be nice we decided to go on Saturday.  We got there a little early so headed into Port Carling for lunch, which is around 15 minutes from the marsh. The "tour" was scheduled for 1pm and that was part of our deal.  There was only us and another couple and the tour very very informal because of that.  Will mention there are a lot of trails around the marshes that you can go by yourself unguided and there are plenty of information signs throughout those trails that will tell you about the area and cranberries.

The marsh was started back in 1952 and it took two years to set everything up and then another 5 years before the first crop was ready to harvest.  Cranberry bushes are evergreen and the leaves go red in the fall. This is a photo of the original marsh, they have three or four others, covering a total of 27 acres. However the property is 300 acres as it takes those extra acres to sustain the marshes.

Here is a close up of a bush, they are very close to the ground and spread along the ground rather than grow higher.
The best time to go is in October when they are harvesting the crop.  Bala the local town has a cranberry festival the weekend after Thanksgiving, so that would be a great time to visit as well.  I noticed that although that had finished the harvest there were still a lot of cranberries on the bushes.
There were signs all over the place telling you about the place and what they do.  Not sure if you will be able to read them though? This one tells you about the winery that they have.
This one explains about the harvesting, as they use rakes rather than beaters to harvest the berries, so not to damage the fruit.
They also had the original truck parked there that is a 1948 Ford.  It doesn't work but is a great reminder of the beginning of the marsh.
After the tour we went back into the store and did some wine tasting.  It's normally $3 a person and she didn't want to see our ID?  I wonder why!!!!  We got this free as part of our deal.  We also got a $20 gift certificate for the store.  We bought a couple bottles of wine, one a Cranberry Wine and one a Cranberry and Blueberry Wine to have with our Christmas Lunch.  These wines are available at the LCBO for folks in Canada. I love the art work on the bottles, so neat.
Part of our deal was a free bag of cranberries.  It was a huge bag, over 4lbs and would normally cost $12.75.  Not too sure what I am going to do with them yet.
I also picked up a bag of chocolate covered dried cranberries, they are so good, but flipping expensive at nearly $8 a small bag.
We really enjoyed ourselves and we travelled up Hwy 400 to get there and came back via Gravenhurst and down Hwy 11 to get home.  It is around an hour and a half north of Barrie, so took us nearly two hours to get there.

Its a place we are going to visit in the summer as there is so much to see and do in that area



Jane and Chris said...

Love, love , love cranberries! One Christmas tradition is to make a cranberry/orange and port sauce mmmmmmm. I also use them as table decorations.
Glad the weather was good for you.
Jane x

Boyett-Brinkley said...

Your tour looks very interesting -- I don't think I have ever seen a cranberry bush. I wish I had taken advantage of my husbands time in Canada, there are so many things to see! You could make cranberry sauce with some of your cranberries -- that is one thing we do here with fresh cranberries although we haven't done it in a long time but it is very good. Yes, your header photo is scary! Looks like tornado weather here.

Angela said...

What a fascinating trip! I don't really remember us having cranberries here in the UK when I was a child- they've only become popular in the last [20?] years or so. But now I cook with them, drink the juice...

blessings xx [hope family health improving]

Maggie said...

Sounds like you had a good day out!
Love the photo of the old truck!!

Yes i did have to scroll down a bit to find your blog post, lol Have you clicked the box to re-size or shrink your photo when you uploaded it on the gadget page? Just a thought.

North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard said...

Wow what a wonderful cranberry adventure you had, Gill. The weather much nicer then what is going on out there today ! Lots to do with cranberries, is there not? I would think maybe they can be froze as well?

Cookiequeen said...

You must make some cranberry orange loaf with some of those fresh berries. Also, cranberries freeze really well.

Bonnie said...

You can substititute the cranberries for blueberries in muffin recipes. I always like cranberry sauce with turkey at Christmas. That looks like a great place for a visit.

JohnD said...

Great story, good images - love Port Carling, looks very attractive.

Would love to grt a truck like that '48 Ford and restore it - Fire Engine Red with a flat-top tray

Great adventure!

Karine said...

What a fun place to visit! Thanks for sharing it with us :o)

simplicityinthemaking said...

I have been there two years ago. It is all very interesting isn't it. I came home thinking I could grow cranberries in our low flood area but that wasn't allowed by Dearest.You really struck a deal with the cranberries and wine. Glad you had a fine time and maybe next time you can go in season.

Maa said...

I've often wondered how cranberries I know. Thanks for the post, very interesting. What a lovely bag of cranberries, I'm sure you find lots of ways to use them. Maa

Rose said...

This looks to have been a very interesting visit.