Now that fall is on our doorstep and the heady days of summer are fading, local food producers and farmers are very busy, gathering in the harvest. This time of year is when agritourism comes into its own with all kinds of interesting activities that you can enjoy with your friends, family or significant other – strolling through the fields, wandering around the vineyards, picking your own fruit and vegetables – to either preserve for the winter or scoff up the minute you get home!
The Eastern Townships is famous for its wonderful produce (and great dining experiences!) Below, we’ve designed an itinerary (using the Espace 4 Saisons resort as the jumping off point) for a perfect weekend of agritourism adventures!
September and October are the busiest months for vintners as they gather the grapes and convert them into wine, ready to be drunk the following year. A number of vineyards are open to the public and visitors can learn about the various stages involved in creating wine in Quebec.
A 10-minute drive from Espace 4 Saisons, wine-lovers can attend the annual Fête des Vendanges held at Pointe Merry in Magog during the first two weekends in September. (This year’s wine fest ends on September 10, 2023.) Not far from Magog is Le Cep d’Argent, a winery where visitors can enjoy guided tours and tastings.
Even better is to spend the entire day exploring the popular Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route. When you drive from the hotel, the first winery you come to, 30 minutes later, is Léon Courville Vigneron. You can stroll through the vineyard, sample the results of Courville and his partner’s wine-making expertise and stock up on supplies before heading off to the next winery.
2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the Wine Route and to celebrate this milestone there will be a range of onsite activities at several locations. Check out the website to see what’s happening where and when!
As the sun begins to sink heralding the end of a busy day, you will, no doubt, have worked up a healthy appetite! Back in the hotel at the Bistro 4 Saisons, you can tuck into a menu of seasonal fare, accompanied by Quebec wines, including those from Cep d’Argent, recalling your visit earlier in the day.
Well rested after a good night’s sleep at Espace 4 Saisons, you’ll be ready to once more take to the road – this time to pick your own fruit and vegetables to take back home!
First stop: Plantations Stéphan Perreault in Sherbrooke, 30-minutes from the hotel. Grab a wheelbarrow and go off to find the most beautiful, biggest pumpkin in the farm’s enormous field of orange-yellow fruit. Pumpkins keep for a long time and they make a delicious addition to cookies, cakes and/or pies. While you’re at it, why not pick as big a load of ‘em as you can!
If you’re on your way (or way back) to Montreal, you’ll find a U-Pick place near the city of Granby – Verger Champêtre, where you can gather pumpkins and squash. You might be lucky enough to find that there are still some plums and pears at the farm, ripe for the picking.
Apples, of course, are the prime crop at this time of year. Throughout the Eastern Townships there is no shortage of orchards where, again, you can pick your own fruit.
One example is the Ferme Cidricole Équinoxe, which was given a makeover this past summer. As well as being able to pick your own apples, you can buy the beverages made on the premises – craft cider and apple-based spirits. If you’ve got some room left in the trunk of your car, well then, load it up!
As you wind up the weekend, your bags filled with tasty regional products, you’ll feel as if you’ve truly experienced some special moments in the tranquil setting of the spectacular landscapes of the Eastern Townships….
And don’t delay to reserve a room at Espace 4 Saisons! The fall is a busy season for hotels as well as for wineries and farmers and you certainly won’t want to miss the best of the fall colours…
Pierre Nief, the chef at Bistro 4 Saisons, is a native of France and for him, foie gras is a festive, comfort food that can…Read more →