Sherbrooke women’s group pays a visit to local cranberry farm
By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
Quebec’s organic cranberry production tops the North American market; its non-organic output comes second only to Wisconsin. The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) – Sherbrooke District – visited a cranberry farm last week in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford as a part of their organization’s mission to promote the continued learning of its members. The group spent the day there, learned all about the cranberry farming process, and had a picnic.
“CFUW’s aim is to promote… higher learning to girls,” CFUW member Ann Louise Carson said. Its fundraisers are to create scholarships that facilitate access to education “so that [girls] have better lives”. CFUW also offers continuing learning for members. Most members are retired.
Along with other interest groups centered around walking or bridge, the CFUW has a local travel group. Since cranberries were something that always intrigued Carson, she suggested the group learn about them in the fall. Many agreed; 33 women in total headed up to Saint-Louis-de-Blandford (about 60km east of Drummondville) to spend the day cultivating their knowledge on the subject.
One thousand people live in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, and for a month a year it becomes a hub of cranberry-related activity. The town has a “cranberry interpretation centre”, Carson explained, in a school behind a church. The building includes a boutique selling all things cranberry, often made locally.
Marc Bieler is known as Canada’s “Cranberry King”, she continued. He started out making apple juice until his clients began asking for cranberry-apple juice. He couldn’t find many cranberries to purchase, so he decided to start to grow them himself. He now has cranberry farms across Quebec and New England. Saint-Louis-de-Blandford produces the most cranberries in Quebec.