Ontario’s Apple Pie Country is a fall getaway favourite
Biting into a juicy, freshly picked apple is a joyful ritual of the fall season. If the fruit is doused in sugar and spice and wrapped within a flakey crust and baked, that simple joy quickly turns into ecstasy.
Fortunately, in Ontario, it is easy to get your fix of the rosy fruit as well as satisfy your love of apple pie just south of Georgian Bay, where the micro climate is ideal for apple orchards. The Apple Pie Trail was inspired by the area’s long apple-growing history, which started in the 1840s and has now evolved into a full-blown culinary experience bringing together the many restaurants, ciders, and orchards just a few hours north west of Toronto.
The Apple Pie Trail starts outside of Collingwood and winds its way through the waterside towns of Thornbury, Meaford, and down into the Beaver Valley. Along with orchards, bakeries and cider houses, the 30-plus stops include breweries, shops, galleries and wineries.
Need some outdoor adventure to work off all the pie eating? You can certainly do that by taking part in some outdoor activities like paddling, hiking, biking and even some cave exploring.
With nature’s spectacular show in full force, a fall getaway to Ontario’s Apple Pie Country is the perfect time to take in the brilliant autumnal colours of the foliage. It is the idyllic setting to immerse yourself in the great Canadian pastime of apple picking with varieties like Honeycrisp, McIntosh and Crispin and many more in harvest during this time of year. At the core of the trail are the fruit producers like T&K Ferri Orchards, an award-winning third-generation operation helmed by Tom Ferri and his wife Karen in the quaint town of Clarksburg in The Blue Mountains. “We have a display of apples outside that you can point to and we’ll put them in the trunk of your car,” says Tom. If you find yourself there, look for the Bay Beauty, a crisp, semi-sweet apple with a slight pear taste that is only available on-site.
You can quench your thirst by stopping by the Grey & Gold Cider Company, which was opened by David Baker and his wife Kim a few years ago. Specializing in traditional dry ciders made with heritage apples such as Golden Russets, the cider has won numerous GLINTCAP (Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition) awards. After tasting the fruit and sipping the cider, make time for dessert at the Thornbury Bakery and Café, established in 1901, the signature Red Prince apple pie is a standout.
If you don’t make it to Grey County this fall, rest assured that the Apple Pie Trail is a year-long culinary experience that has something unique to offer in every season.