There's a surprising lot of interesting stuff going on around here, and this space is devoted to discovering and sharing it. We'll post regular updates on merchants, activities and events. Look in often and soon you'll see why Meaford calls itself "The other Big Apple".

posted September 26th, 2011
Local Ontario cider just down the road

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 its own homegrown hard cider, made just down the road in Thornbury. Thornbury Premium Cider has quickly become both a local favourite and a popular choice throughout the province.

A few years back, in 2007, Andre Corbeil was looking to come out of his early retirement, and he happened upon a group of mainly British investors interested in the market for cider in Ontario. Before long Thornbury Village Cidery had been established as only the second cidery in Ontario. (It has since been followed by other cider startups.) Corbeil decided to craft something different from the traditional British ciders, and he turned to Doug Johnson to create it.

The result was Peeler Premium Light Cider, 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 this past summer the company 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.”

Mmmmm, think it’s time to take a refreshment break.

Thornbury Premium Apple Cider

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.”

posted September 14th, 2011
Apple season a great time for a country drive

Apple season’s here in the “other Big Apple”. The orchards lining the roads around 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. We picked up our first half-peck of Jersey Macs the other day to bake up some apple crisp, but there’ll be many more varieties available in the days to come.

Meaford apples

Take a country drive around the area, and visit one of these country markets to get your 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

posted May 26th, 2011
Apple blossom time in Meaford

In the blink of an eye, it seems, Meaford’s apple (and cherry) trees are in blossom, and a stroll by one of our orchards can intoxicate you with the scent.

Apple Blossoms in Meaford

Apple Blossoms in Meaford

As early as 1837, settlers on Cape Rich, just northwest of Meaford, had planted McIntosh Red apple seedlings they’d brought with them. They’d planned to be able to harvest the apples from a few trees for themselves, maybe selling a few here and there. But their small orchard soon revealed that the region was perfect for apple growing, with the moderating influence of the Bay and the steep rise of the Niagara Escarpment cradling the microclimate. And it was the beginning of the Southern Georgian Bay apple growing industry.

Today, while industry pressures and new growing practices have brought changes to the traditional apple orchard, you can still pull into your favourite local orchard for such popular varieties as Northern Spy, Russet and McIntosh Red, as well as Empire, Gala, Honey Crisp and others.

(Here’s a list of some local orchards.)

Meaford’s connection to the apple industry is apparent in our tourism booth – a ripe red apple on the main street – and in the Municipality’s new slogan: “the other big apple”.

Meaford's Big Apple Tourism Booth

Meaford's Big Apple Tourism Booth (Courtesy The Meaford Independent -

And in the last few years, a delightful byproduct of our local apples, Peeler Cider, has been growing (pun intended) in popularity. More on that soon.

posted April 15th, 2011
How do you like them apples?

In the past, Meaford has been known as “The Golden Town” (which might have suggested a retirement destination for active adults to some) and “Meaford By The Bay”. But recently the beautiful Municipality of Meaford had a new slogan bestowed upon it. In recognition of the apple orchards that have flourished here for more than a century (not to mention Meaford’s unique tourism booth – a giant, shiny apple on the main street), Meaford is now “The Other Big Apple”.

With that in mind, we thought the following might find a place on bumper stickers and t-shirts.


New bumper sticker for Meafordites?