Fresh fruits and vegetables from the Ile d'Orléans
The Ile d'Orléans at the gates Quebec Citys is a true paradise for connoisseurs: Jacques Cartier, the first European to discover it on one of his trips up the St. Lawrence River in the 16th century, called it the island of Bacchus. Little did he know then that his name would prove to be a prophecy. The reason why he gave the elongated island this name was because of the many wild grapevines that he found everywhere. You can still spot them in many of the hedges along the island's roads.
Fruits and vegetables from the fertile fields of the island of Bacchus
Soon after Samuel de Champlain 1608 with the construction of Old Quebec began, the first French settled on the island. They had quickly realized how fertile the soil is there and started farming. Even today, the fields of the island are at right angles to the banks of the St. Lawrence River - just as these were distributed by the feudal lords under French administration to their settlers. The Seigneurs were granted lands by the colonial administration on condition that they colonize them and bring new immigrants into the country. The fields were all aligned to the stream, as this was the main artery of early New France. All products were transported by boat. Therefore, the island looks still today as if someone had lined towel-sized parcels.
Unlike in those days, the variety of fruits and vegetables grown there is more diverse and exotic: apples, peaches, all kinds of berries, corn, pumpkins, aubergines, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and even cultivated wine. The farmers of the Ile d'Orléans already supplied their agricultural products in the 17. Century by boat to the city of Quebec. Even in winter, when the St. Lawrence River was full of dangerous ice floes, people could only leave the island with small rowing boats made in a small shipyard on the island. Only since 1935 they can do this over the bridge, which now connects the island with the north bank of the St. Lawrence - the only road connection between the mainland and the island.
Currant liqueur, cider, apple butter and wine directly from the farmer
It is even better to buy his apples, berries, tomatoes, carrots and other vegetables directly from the farmer. It could not be fresher! And better not! Many of the farmers on the Ile d'Orléans have set up salesrooms where they sell their produce and the products they make directly to consumers. On a drive along the island road signs repeatedly appear on the roadside, indicating that fresh apples are for sale or Cassis is offered in one of the nearest houses. Anyone who invites is open to taste worlds that are second to none. It can take a whole day to drive from one farm to the next to taste the delicacies that are produced on this island: a cassis that makes you think of the best recipes: an exotic salad mix with fruit and cassis dressing ; fresh apple butter, with which you can make your breakfast more varied or just sit with a glass of wine on the veranda of the winery of the island and admire the view of the Montmorency Falls on the north shore of the river.
The Quebecers also appreciate this abundant and healthy offer: during the summer months, the island road becomes a veritable pilgrimage route to the island's gourmet temples. Every weekend, the Québecers flock to the island to stock up on fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and other culinary specialties for the next few days. And if you do not have time for a fifteen-minute drive from the city to the island, you can stock up on fresh produce from the island in the farmers' market at Quebec's Old Port Market.
More tips in the TravelWorldOnline here.
Source: own research on site with the kind support of Tourism in Quebec and Steeve Gaudreault from Cicérone
Text: © Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline