At Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, we believe that doing things right means doing them with patience and care. That is why we personally tend to our berries at every step of the way, from planting and raising them to harvesting and drying them.
Why Slowly Grown?
On our quiet little patch of land, in rural Québec, we live by the natural rhythm of the cranberry. Our water is pure, our air fresh, our soil rich, and time itself slows down.
We have a deep respect for nature, and we tend to her needs as much as we do our cranberries. Since the beginning, we have practiced organic farming, using no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. We pull up weeds by hand. We don’t ask anything more of nature than what she naturally provides for us.
We use a unique process that occurs slowly over a long period of time. Our berries are fully grown, and then gently dried to the perfect point, just the amount for them to retain as much of their flavour and nutrition as possible. As a result, our berries are larger, softer, tastier, healthier. You will be able to see and taste the difference.
Welcome to Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, a tiny corner of nature in Québec, home to 700 people and millions of cranberries. These little berries thrive in the sandy, acidic soil that makes up much of Centre-du-Québec and the land surrounding the village—land that is often overlooked as being less rich by traditional agriculture, but on which both our berries and our people flourish.
Like many fruit shrubs, the cranberry is a hardy plant that has learned to adapt to its northern soil. Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. Rather, cranberry fields are flooded at harvest time to make berry-picking easier, a scene that is always spectacular to watch.
How do we do it?
Patience is a virtue
Certain things cannot be rushed if you want to do them right. That is why we personally tend to our berries every at step of the way, from seed to shrub to dried fruit. We also have help from the six million bees that live nearby and pollinate the flowers of 500 plants each spring. By showering our cranberry fields with care and attention, we ensure that they will live on practically forever.
An impressive show
Few scenes in nature are as stunning as a cranberry field during harvest. First, the fields are flooded with water that has accumulated in the farm’s drainage basin. Then, we shake the plants so that the berries break loose and float up to the surface. Finally, we gather them up for collection.
Since the very beginning, we have practiced organic farming, and are always striving to reduce our ecological footprint. For instance, we utilize a “closed circuit” watering system, in which rainwater and snowmelt are collected in a drainage basin and then used to irrigate the fields and flood them at harvest time.
Intensely healthy berries
Cranberries are packed with health benefits, making them the perfect fruit to enjoy each day as a snack, a drink, or added to a meal.
Centuries of health benefits
Cranberries flourished in the wilds of North America long before the first European settlers arrived. Native Americans used them to treat various ailments, preserve meat and fish, and ate them as part of their daily diets. Early on after arrival, Europeans, too, began consuming cranberries, which helped ward off scurvy with their high concentrations of vitamins C and E.
A recognized source of antioxydants
Cranberries are rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant believed to prevent cellular aging and the onset of degenerative diseases, including certain forms of cancer.
Cranberries are also full of flavonoids, and are scientifically recognized for their very high concentration of phenolic compounds. This includes a unique form of the natural substance proanthocyanidin (PAC). PACs are part of the polyphenol family which is renowned for its antioxidant properties.