Upper Canada Cranberries is the only commercial cranberry grower in
Eastern Ontario. In fact, our farm is located right in the City of Ottawa,
just a twelve minute drive south of the Ottawa International airport.
In addition, Upper Canada Cranberries is one of just three commercial cranberry producers in
the province of Ontario. The other two cranberry growers are located in the Muskoka area, north of
Upper Canada Cranberries came into being as a result of one of those rare,
inspirational "Ah ha!" moments and many people are interested in hearing about
that, so here's a bit of the story.
Hi! My name is Lyle Slater – That's me in the picture to the left, with the homemade
machine I use to harvest our cranberries. This is a special apparatus that can
be driven right over the cranberry beds without harming the plants.
CTV2, a local television station captured this machine in action on a video about Upper Canada
Cranberries. You can check out that video and catch a brief glimpse of our cranberry farm operation
by clicking..... here
I grew up on a farm and I guess you could say, "Once a farmer, always a farmer."
I've had my own excavation business since 1982, so I’ve never really stopped
working with the soil. :^) But deep down, I've always had the
yearning to get back to growing food.
In 1996, I obtained 100 acres of land not far from where I live and that's how
I started my move back to farming. But I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to grow.
Then, one day, while seated in a waiting room before an appointment, I
picked up a magazine that contained an article on cranberries. After
reading just a few paragraphs, I became absolutely fascinated! I learned
there is only a handful of cranberry growers in Canada.
I had already checked the Ph level of the soil on my property and found it
to be highly acidic – just what cranberries love! Plus, the article said
cranberries need lots of water and my property has a creek running through
it! And there it was – my "Ah ha!" moment.
There was also an abundance of peat moss on the property. So this had been
a bog in the past and at one point, cranberries probably grew wild on that
I started reading everything I could find on cranberries and it didn't take
long to learn about the amazing health benefits of the cranberry. They are
loaded with a number of essential nutrients – Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene,
Flavonoids and more! Continuing research suggests that cranberries can be
helpful in treating and/or preventing a variety of ailments.
After only a moderate amount of research, I reached a decision! I wanted to become a cranberry grower!
I don't know that many people would think of me as a romantic, but aside from
the health and nutritional benefits of cranberries, there is another aspect
that makes them unique - cranberries are the last fruit of the season. Cranberry
harvest time is a special period for me - the work involved in bringing this
crop in off the fields is very fulfilling.
It is also very fulfilling to know that while setting up our farm for growing cranberries,
we worked very closely with Mother Nature to bring back most of the bog-like qualities
that existed here almost one hundred years ago. To learn more about our efforts in this regard and
how cranberries grow, see the next page.
As mentioned above, Upper Canada Cranberries is located in the City of
Ottawa. I can't say I've done exhaustive research on this fact, but as far as
I can determine, I am the only cranberry producer in the
entire world that is operating within the boundaries of a city.
I hope you enjoy your visit to this web site. I've compiled some
interesting information on cranberries and you can tour the other
pages by clicking on the links at the top or bottom of each page.
Find out how cranberries grow and how they are harvested. Learn about the history of
cranberries and their health benefits. You will also find some great cranberry
recipes, including easy to follow recipes for traditional home-made
cranberry sauce and a yummy Canadian Cranberry Sauce. Plus, there is a recipe for a delicious cranberry cornmeal porridge that is very comforting on a cold winter's morning.
In 2008, we introduced a small line of
delicious and unique tasting cranberry products under the Slate's brand -
Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Jam, Cranberry Chutney and Cranbee - a refreshing
cranberry drink. In 2009, we developed a jam and a sauce made with artificial
sweeteners, for people who must watch their sugar intake.
Then came our dried cranberries, both sweetened and unsweetened. I watch with pleasant surprise as our dried cranberry Snac Pac continues to gain popularity at the farmers' markets. At Upper Canada Cranberries, we like to take extra care in everything we do and knowing that fruit loses Vitamin C when heated, we adjusted our dehydration process to preserve more of the natural Vitamin C than you'll find in other brands of dried cranberries.
Of course, since we are cranberry growers, the Upper Canada Cranberries
farm can provide the freshest berries for the main ingredient of these products.
I hope to be introducing other products in the near future.
Please visit our products page for more information.
I really like dealing with the public directly and plan to continue with retail sales from
the farm and through local farmers' markets for a long time. It's also gratifying to watch the wholesale
side of our operation expand as more local food producers and retailers
learn to appreciate the
flavour, quality and freshness of our cranberries and cranberry products.
Thanks for stopping by