A short drive today to Muskoka Country (cottage country for Toronto) to our first Harvest Host experience- Johnson Cranberry Marsh/ Muskoka Winery. We took a very informative tour learning all about how the farm came to be and how hard it is to be a farmer, as well as a lot of information on growing cranberries. For example, even though they have a short growing season, they have to tend to the cranberry plants all year round as they are very susceptible to frost. Contrary to what we see on tv commercials cranberries are not grown in large pools of water since they are actually shallowly rooted vines growing along the ground. The easiest way to harvest them is to flood the fields knee-deep and let the berries float on the water so they can be scooped up.

The Johnson Cranberry Marsh consists of 27 acres of cranberries. They handle all aspects from harvesting to inspection and sorting, packaging, and distribution. Last year they produced over 420,000 lbs. As well they take some of their crops and produce jams, wines, and other products – my favorite being chocolate-covered cranberries.

Part of our tour included a wine tasting. They produce 6 different types of wine here and ship 60,000 bottles a year. I’m not much of a wine connoisseur, but I enjoyed their wine so much I purchased a bottle which even Jackie had some. I would have bought more, but we are short on space. The Marsh is a year-round attraction with snowshoeing, sleigh rides, and a 1k skating loop in the winter.

We spent the night after everyone else had gone home taking a bike ride around one of the 5 different trails available, then enjoyed our cranberry/blueberry wine with a good steak as we watched the sunset – now that’s really roughing it.

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