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Pesticide free apple-picking near Montreal

I am hoping to go apple picking this weekend within about 60 minute's drive of Montreal. The catch is that I am pregnant and would prefer not to traipse around a pesticide-sprayed orchard (or eat sprayed apples!). I don't need it to be certified organic, just low spray, or moving towards organic. My internet searching hasn't revealed too much. Any suggestions?

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  1. I saw verger Gaston in Mt St-Hilaire, but no picking available (groups only). Otherwise, perhaps here, in Franklin:
    http://www.circuitdupaysan.com/franca...
    They were featured in Daniel Pinard's show a few years ago.

    1. For the last few years, I've gone to Les Vergers Écologiques Philion, just west of Hemmingford. They're more "lutte raisonnée" than strictly organic. Good selection of varieties, including some not often found in local orchards (Northern Spy, Wealthy, Fameuse, Royal Gala, Honey Crisp, Yellow Delicious, etc.), though it's a little early in the season for some of them. The owners are friendly and helpful, picnic tables are provided, restrooms are clean and it's possible to take a pleasant walk through field and wood. www.vergersphilion.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: carswell

        Went to Philion yesterday. While the weather couldn't have been better, the apples were disappointing: mostly small, not bursting with flavour, often blemished. I suspect the summer's odd weather is largely to blame. We got a few tail-end Honey Crisps and Galas, some very nice Empires and, after much searching, some textbook Cortlands (we'd given one young planting of Cortlands a pass but found a few rows of mature trees with good fruit, lending credence to the weather hypothesis). The Spartans and Red Delicious were nothing special; the Yellow Delicious seemed underripe, much more like the bland supermarket YDs than usual; the Northern Spies looked good but need another week or two. Fans of Macs said they were good.

      2. Congrats, picklebird!

        1. For the past few years, we've been going to the Maniadakis Organic Orchard in Franklin Centre and have been really happy with the quality. Each year we regret not taking home more.
          http://www.vergerbiologique.com/

          2 Replies
          1. re: FoodNovice

            Do you remeber how much they charge per pound? I just went to Philion and they charge $0.50 to $1.00 a pound depending on the kind. Not that I'm cheap- just curious!

            1. re: Arktik

              I went to the Maniadakis organic orchard in Franklin Centre today and it was lovely. Got five types: Spartan, Cortland, Gala, McIntosh, and a yellow variety called Smoothie that will be sweeter in a few weeks. All the apples are $1.70 per pound. There are little trees where they're growing other varieties (like Honeycrisp) that will be ready in future years.

              The owners were friendly and helpful, and the place was quiet and peaceful - unlike the crazy-busy place I've been going for the last few years.

              They are in the midst of building a juicing plant and hope to have it ready for later this fall. They will make unpasteurized apple juice that uses a new process (I think he said it was some kind of light treatment).

              There is a wooden "castle"-type structure for kids to play on and a windmill that they use to blow warmer air on the trees to avert frost damage in spring and late fall.

              I can't wait to get baking. :-)

               
               
               
               
          2. Thanks for the recs! We will go to out to Maniadikis Orchard. Stuff came up to make it too hard to get out of the city today, but it looks like the first weeks of October will be ideal.

            And thanks, kpzoo, for the congrats!

            1 Reply
            1. re: picklebird

              Did you end up going? Did you enjoy it? Please let me know. We are going tomorrow.