Where can you see the cranberry harvest in Canada?

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Cranberry Harvest in Canada - Muskoka, Ontario

Ever since I saw the first cranberry fields twenty years ago, I have wanted to see how the bright red berries are harvested. I knew from stories and photos that water plays a role. Some New England footage showed cranberry farmers using large rakes to rake cranberries in flooded fields. Finally, they loaded the berries onto waiting trucks that would transport them to further processing. Now, on our trip to Muskoka, we had the opportunity to visit the only cranberry farm in Ontario. So I didn't have to think long. I didn't want to miss this chance to see the cranberry harvest in Canada. So I could finally satisfy my curiosity. We put Johnston's Cranberry Marsh in Bala in the Muskoka region on our itinerary.


Ripe for the harvest
Ready for the cranberry harvest in Canada


Johnston's Cranberry Marsh in Bala

Johnston's Cranberry Farm is located just outside the small town of Bala im Muskoka Cottage Country. This region is wonderful for growing cranberries. This requires acidic peat soil and proximity to water. It is there in abundance. As we drove through Muskoka, the lakes rarely disappeared from view, and when we did, it was only when we were crossing a small land bridge between two of them. Sometimes this was so narrow that the water was even on both sides of the road. The area is also known for its silted up lakes. There, dense reeds grow on the edge of shallow pools. This reed rots on the bottom of the lake and slowly fills it up from below. This process is repeated until the entire lake disappears under a vegetative cover, creating a peat bog – ideal soil for cranberries to thrive on.  


Harvester in Ontario
Harvesting machine in Ontario for the cranberry harvest in Canada

 Cultivation and use of cranberries

The farming family Johnston from Bala recognized the potential and cleared several hectares of land. There they planted cranberries. At the same time, they created a network of channels that they can flood via valves if necessary. At the end of September - we were there on September 26th - it's harvest time at the Cranberry Farm. Our chance to see the cranberry harvest in Canada. Then you can watch what happens to the red berries. The farm offers guided tours. In the farm shop you can buy the freshly picked berries, but also cranberry wine or jams made from cranberries and other berries. Raw cranberries taste very bitter, so the wine and jams are combined with other fruits. However, raw berries are good for juicing, as an ingredient in cakes or pastries, and for sauces or purées. Like cranberries, they are used as an accompaniment to venison.  


Here the cranberries are dried Cranberry harvest in Canada
Here the cranberries are dried after the cranberry harvest in Canada


Cranberry harvest in Canada

When it comes to harvesting cranberries in Ontario, the approach is different from what I was used to from New England. Some of Ontario's berries are sold raw, unlike in the Cape Cod area where they are mostly used for juicing. For this reason, the berries have to be harvested more carefully than there, and so I came here without the expected pleasure of seeing the farmers trudge through the bright red water. The fields are also flooded with water to ensure a careful harvest.

Unlike in the south, however, a harvester is used here, which carefully plucks the berries from the bushes and collects them in a container. Unlike in the Cape Cod area, they do not swim in the fields, but are collected immediately. From the fields, the berries are transported to a trellis where they dry in the sun. They are then sorted according to size and color and packaged according to their intended use. The unharmed and deep red berries are sold in local supermarkets. Berries that have burst and those that are ripe but not yet developed their red color are used in winemaking or to make chutneys, jams or sauces.

And my farmers in the flooded ponds full of red cranberries? For that I have to go to New England ...


A visit to Johnston's Cranberry Farm is possible year-round: 1074 Cranberry Road, Bala, Ontario. P0C 1A0 Tel. 705-762-3203 Fax 705-762-3213.

Travel Arrangements:

Parking at the airport

Here you can reserve your parking space at the airport.

Getting to the Cranberry Harvest in Canada

Arrival by plane, bus or train*. Lufthansa, Air Canada and various other airlines fly to Toronto. Bala is a 2 hour 15 minute drive from Toronto.

Car Rentals:

Compare rental car prices here.

Rent Motorhomes:

Compare motorhome prices here.


Accommodation in Muskoka Region * you can also book through our partner booking.com. We have stayed in Sir Sam's Inn Resort & Spa * in Haliburton.

Discover more travel tips for trips to savor on our blog TravelWorldOnline.



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Source Cranberry harvest in Canada: own research on site with the kind support of Tourism Ontario and the Canada Tourism Commission. However, our opinion remains our own.

Text cranberry harvest in Canada: © Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

Where can you see the cranberry harvest in Canada?

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn

6 thoughts too "Where can you see the cranberry harvest in Canada?"

  1. Unfortunately, we lacked the time, but I think that you can also try the products on request.

  2. Interesting report, I hope you could also test many delicious cranberry products.

  3. So come on the big list of Canada. Still do not know where to go and how I fit that time: D the country is just too big for 1 travel!
    LG Claudi

    1. Do it the best I do, Claudi: I've been traveling there for more than twenty years - at least once a year, sometimes even several times - and have still not seen everything :). This is a real life task ...

      The best way to find a region that is suitable for your travel time and limited to this, otherwise you come back frustrated, because you have not seen much. All at once is not possible anyway. Canada is just too big for that.

  4. Hey, that's a cool idea! Nice tip! I also want to harvest cranberries! Everybody can eat strawberries;) And cranberries belong to Canada like the maple syrup. Is not there synonymous manufacturers that you can look at the production / harvest over the shoulder?

    I'm hungry now!
    LG Claudi

    1. Was really a nice experience. Above all, I learned there that you can even make wine from cranberries - but, as with jams, always mixed with other fruits, as cranberries are otherwise too bitter.

      We stayed at Johnston's Cranberry Marsh just north of Bala in the Muskoka region.

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