johnstons cranberry farm

This incredible cranberry farm near Toronto is the perfect fall day trip

If Lavender farms are a must-visit summer attraction in Toronto, the fall equivalent must surely be the cranberry farm. What better way to soak up autumn's splendour than by plunging into a sea of bright red cranberries surrounded by dazzling foliage?

Located in Bala, about two hours north of Toronto, Johnston's Cranberry Farm offers an array of fall activities including the cranberry plunge, which takes visitors waist deep into a marsh specifically made for the perfect fall photo-op.

The cranberry harvest generally takes place from late September through to the end of October, during which time the farm is a bustling hub of activity. Those making the trip during this period get to witness the unique manner in which cranberries are picked from the marsh.

While you won't see millions of cranberries sitting atop the water as depicted in an Ocean Spray ad, the process is entirely fascinating. It's also thirst-inducing — look at all those fresh cranberries coming out of the water — which is why you'll want to head to the tasting bar next.

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After you're done wading around and viewing the farmers at work, you can try out some of the cranberry wine sold on site. It's a bit tart, but it actually does really well as the base for a sangria. You can also buy cranberries in bulk, of course.

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The cranberry plunge ends for the year on October 22, though harvest activity will continue until the end of the month. The farm itself is open year round. So if you're averse to crowds, you can make the trip after the harvest and enjoy the hiking trails and tastings on offer.

Lead photo by

JW Muskoka. With files from Derek Flack.


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