Picking berries with your family
During the summer, the season of abundance, there are many opportunities to put Quebec on the menu. Starting with the many market garden stands that we find on Laval countryside roads. Some even offer pick-your-own.
To the blueberries!
This is a great opportunity to organize a gourmet walk with the family! My brother, my sister-in-law and their two kids (3 years and 5 months old) join us at the Dagenais stand. Marineau Farm While the little niece falls asleep on her mother, I take the opportunity to introduce my godson Theodore to the agricultural world. "You know those blueberries you like so much? They grow in little trees, and today we're going to pick them." After a short five-minute walk on the dirt, we see the rows of blueberry trees where a few families are already busy. Louis Marineau, the fourth generation to run the farm founded in 1921 (!), had warned us about the noise of birds of prey and the scare guns in the field, in fact, acoustic strategies to keep away the pecking birds. We were warned because this soundtrack is astonishing!
Only the ripest blueberries are ready to be picked up.
The friendly staff at the farm has designated a plant just for us. I explain to Theodore that we should gently pull the darker blueberries, giving the green ones time to ripen. It's touching to see how carefully he does this, asking permission to eat a few and offering them to his 14-month-old cousin (my son). Together, crouched down, knees in the ground, we enjoy a moment that is both fun and enriching, not only getting in touch with a local producer whose know-how is almost 100 years old but also learning more about the cultivation of local fruits and vegetables.
Picnic after picking
With our baskets filled to the brim, we return to the farm and sit in the covered picnic area for a quiet lunch while the cousins watch or play in the playground and mini-farm. Before leaving, we take the opportunity to stock up on vegetables (including the famous corn) and homemade doughnuts for the family dinner, which is sure to end on a blue note!
My boyfriend and I enjoyed our experience so much that we renew it the next day. We headed east from Laval to the orchards, greenhouses and farms located on Perron Avenue. We stopped at Ferme F. Turcot et Filswhere after an abundant season of strawberries, raspberries were in the spotlight. Fernand Turcot, son of Sylvio Turcot, who acquired the land in 1950, directs us to the back of his market garden stand to lift branches and leaves in search of the small red berries bursting with flavour.
We need to pull gently and patiently on the small fruits which detach themselves. From the stroller, my boy looks at his parents with curiosity. Once our basket is filled, the little walker paces the field and gives little cries of joy as soon as he finds a raspberry, which he eats greedily. Picker? More like a little eater.
Soon (August), it will be possible to come to the Ferme F. Turcot et Fils to pick your own vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, eggplants, sweet peppers and a variety of hot peppers. Still full of sunshine at the time of picking, these will be excellent in my spaghetti sauce, ratatouille and moussaka at the end of summer.
Market gardeners to discover
The Forget family started farming in Laval in 1821. The passion has been perpetuated through the generations, and it is now Mathieu Forget, the 7th generation representative, who is at the head of the Kiosque Chez Forget. This family stand, which exists since 2016, has allowed the family to expand their product offering. In addition to their succulent fruits and vegetables, Kiosque Chez Forget also offers a range of homemade products such as pies, jams and pickles. In addition to the farm's stand, visitors are welcome to pick their own strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the farm's large fields.
There are also several activities at the Chez Forget stand, including a picnic area and a mini-farm for the enjoyment of children and adults alike. Did you know that starting in August, you will be able to experience a giant corn maze? A visit to be combined with pumpkin and squash picking.
For over 185 years, the Vaillancourt Farm has offered activities related to the seasonal harvest of strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Stop at the stand where you'll find fresh fruits and vegetables, local products, dairy products, pastries, annual flowers and fine herbs, but also Agathe's delights, which include jams and marinades, fruit ketchup, relish, as well as homemade pickled beets and gherkins made the old-fashioned way.
Ferme Marineau, 4356 Dagenais Blvd West, Laval, H7R 1L5
Ferme F. Turcot et Fils, 7205 Des Perrons Avenue, Laval, H7J 1E9
Kiosk Chez Forget, 7901 Marcel-Villeneuve Avenue, Laval, H7A 0H9
Ferme Vaillancourt, 3155 Des Perrons Avenue, Laval, H7J 1G2