Come the crisper days of September and October, the trees put on a dazzling display of colour in the Meaford area, and Apple Season arrives in the “other Big Apple”. The orchards lining the roads round Meaford that were white with blossoms a few short months ago are now heavy with apples, and the farmers’ markets and fruit stands are displaying their ripe, red wares.

IN THIS ISSUE:

Reap the Autumn bounty
Your guide to delicious Georgian Bay apples
Grandma Lambe’s a mouth-watering Meaford attraction
The joy of cider
Fall fun, fairs and festivals


Reap the Autumn bounty

It’s Apple Time in Meaford!

Take a leisurely drive around the area, and visit one of these country markets to get your fresh-picked apples (and much more).

Almond’s Fruit Stand
Home baking, jams, birdseed and gifts.
Highway 26 between Lora Bay and Meaford | 519-538-2281

Appletop Farm
Picked organic apples and more.
416476 10th Line, The Blue Mountains 519-599-6177

Barbetta Orchards
On-farm market June through November. Apples, pears, plums, pumpkin squash and more.
Highway 26 just west of Meaford | 519-538-2206

Bay Ridge Orchards Limited
Eight varieties of apples stored in a controlled atmosphere.
7th Line South of Highway 26 | 519-538-1405

Bev Murray Farms
Pick your own apples.
145816 Grey Road 12 west of Meaford | 519-538-3592

Dykstra Farms
Ready picked apples and more.
301 Clark St, Clarksburg | 519-599-9938

The Farmers Pantry
Minutes south of Clarksburg, pick-your-own or ready-picked apples, fresh-grown in season vegetables, baked goods and crafts.
788030 Grey Rd 13, The Blue Mountains | 519-599-3691

Finch Haven Orchards
Apples, fresh pressed cider, non-alcoholic sparkling apple ciders, jams, jellies and preserves, maple syrup, honey, and apple gift boxes.
416241 10th Line, The Blue Mountains | 519-599-7775

Goldsmith Orchards
On-farm market open July to December 9.
Highway 26 between Lora Bay and Thornbury | 519-599-3246

Grandma Lambe’s Fruit Market
Fruits and vegetables, baked goods, honey, maple syrup, gift baskets, candles, and more.
Highway 26 between Lora Bay and Meaford | 519-538-2757

Jones Willow Grove Orchard
496818 Grey Rd 2, The Blue Mountains | 519-599-3668

Oaklane Orchards Ltd
Apples, including pick-your-own.
496445 Grey Rd 2, The Blue Mountains | 519-599-5841

Vail’s Orchards
Cider, apples, jams, maple syrup and fresh produce, September to December Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Two locations: Highway 26 west of Meaford and South on Grey Road 7 at west end of Meaford | 519-538-4928


Your guide to delicious Georgian Bay apples

Tempt yourself with a taste of Georgian Bay favourites

When the harvest comes in, you’ll discover more varieties of apples for sale in Meaford than you might have even known existed. Here’s a taste of just a few of the popular local favourites.

McIntosh – The popular “Mac” is celebrating its 200th birthday this year. Back in 1811, a Scottish immigrant named John McIntosh was clearing his Eastern Ontario farm when he discovered a number of seedling apple trees. He transplanted them, but only one survived. Carefully nurtured, that single tree spawned one of the most popular apple varieties in the world. Macs make up about 40 percent of the local harvest.

Northern Spy – Next most predominant in the Georgian Bay area, the Spy is first choice for pie fillings and apple sauce.

Empire – A cross between the McIntosh and Red Delicious, this slightly tart variety is juicy, firm and crisp, and makes great applesauce.

Gala – The yellow-orange fruit set off by a red blush is a great picking and eating apple.

Cortland – Wonderful for fresh eating, pies and salads. Cortland slices resist browning and stay white in salads. Mildly sweet with white flesh.

Ida red –A tart tasting white flesh; best stored until Christmas. Delicious baked, makes a super apple pie, and great fresh eating.

Honeycrisp – Released in 1991, the Honey Crisp is quickly gaining vast favour. Exceptionally crisp, pale, yellow flesh with just a hint of tartness. Amazing eating, but also excellent for cooking.

Ginger Gold – A mild flavour with a tart finish that’s great for pies. According to one U.S. evalution, the Ginger Gold was “the best apple that we have evaluated that ripens before Gala.”

Silken – According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, “this apple is an early fall selection that was noted for its unique white gold porcelain colour and for its outstanding texture and flavour. It is a multiple-pick apple usually harvested over two weeks just ahead of and into the McIntosh season… It is firm, crisp and juicy. It is high in aromatic intensity and sweetness and moderate in acidity.”


Grandma Lambe’s a mouth-watering Meaford attraction

Step inside and indulge yourself

You might say a visit to Meaford isn’t complete without a stop at Grandma Lambe’s. Stepping through the old tongue and groove doors is like stepping into some perfectly imagined grandmother’s kitchen. The smell of baking pies, hints of cinnamon from warming apple cider, and the colourful array of fruits, vegetables, jams, and baked goods makes you instantly warm, comfortable – and ravenous.

Back in the early 80s, Grace Lambe found herself with an excess of ripe peaches. “I didn’t want to waste them,” she says. So she repaired to the kitchen for a furious round of baking and whipped up a batch of peach pies, which she set out on a stand by the highway. Unsurprisingly, her delicious wares sold, and in addition to apple sales, the small farmer’s market now added mouth-watering pies. Today the family business is open year round, serving locals and hungry tourists (busloads, sometimes!) drawn by its fresh, tasty offerings.

Grandma Lambe’s is located on Highway 26 just east of Meaford.


The joy of cider

Homegrown apple cider growing in popularity

Local apple cider comes in a variety of delicious forms. There’s the thick, smooth cider that does double duty. It tastes great cool on a sunny autumn day, and it can warm away the winter when it’s mulled with cinnamon, allspice and cloves and served hot – preferably by a crackling fire.

And then there’s hard cider. You can enjoy this refreshing, sparkling alcoholic beverage any time during the year, but it somehow seems to taste even better as the days grow shorter and the afternoon shadows grow longer

Our area has four varieties (and counting) of homegrown hard cider.

Thornbury Premium Cider has quickly become both a local favourite and a popular choice throughout the province.

Thornbury Village Cidery was established in 2007, and cider master Doug Johnson crafted its signature product, Peeler Premium Light Cider, to be a little different from traditional British ciders. Peeler was a refreshingly light, champagne-style apple cider that made for perfect refreshment on a summer’s day. It quickly appeared at local restaurants, bars and ski resorts, followed by other restaurants and LCBO outlets throughout Ontario, putting Thornbury Village Cidery on the map. The success caught the attention of Beer Barons, a Toronto-based craft beer importer looking to get into brewing, and the company recently bought the cidery.

Doug Johnson remains on board as cider master (and director of operations), and he has tweaked the original recipe. The new Thornbury Premium Cider is now a more traditional 5.3 percent, dry cider, which the cidery describes as: “Fresh apple aroma and flavour. A light body with a refreshing balance of sweetness and slight acidity. The flavour remains bright and distinct throughout a long sparkling finish.”

The company has indicated it would like to export our homegrown cider to other countries. “We’re very excited that we’ll be using local apples,” Troy Taylor, Beer Baron’s national director of sales and marketing, told the Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin. “That’s a strong selling point.”

Tour more cideries here.


Fall fun, fairs and festivals

A pair of living Meaford scarecrows

In apple country, harvest season brings lots of activity to the area.

Back in 1855, the tents and pens went up on Meaford’s “beaver meadow” for the first exhibition of the St. Vincent Agricultural Society. More than 150 years later, Meaford residents still enjoy the traditional Fall Fair in the location it has enlivened every September since the turn of the last century. Even today, the fair continues to showcase livestock and working farm animals, including displays of heavy horses rarely used on today’s mechanized farm. The local 4H club shows off its stuff. Poultry and rabbit shows evoke “Aaaah”s from kids and adults alike. And the traditional pancake breakfast and kids’ pony rides round out the show.

As the first hints of autumn creep into the air, a “scare-crew” of straw-filled visitors creep into town, suddenly appearing on front lawns, shop windows, street corners and even hanging from lampposts. The annual Meaford Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival begins when the first scarecrow appears on the scene, and wraps up with the Scarecrow Parade down the main street of town, fronted by the Meaford Marching Scarecrow Kazoo Band.

For more than a quarter of a century, craft lovers have flocked to Meaford during Apple Season to take in the huge assortment of quality crafts at the juried Apple Harvest Craft Show. You’ll find more than 200 booths selling handcrafted wares and unique items, including hand-thrown pottery, wooden games and toys, photography, candles, quilts, stained glass, needlework, blacksmithing, leatherwork, and much more.