Slower Berries, Better Berries
At Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Patience Fruit and Co. believe that doing things right is better than rushing through them. This is why they tend to their berries every step of the way, personally planting them, caring for them, harvesting them and preparing them. Here, they tell their story:
Welcome to Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, a little patch of nature in Quebec, home to 700 people and millions of cranberries. These little berries thrive in the sand and acidic soil that make up much of Centre-du-Québec and the land surrounding the village – less rich land that is often overlooked 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 underwater. Rather, cranberry fields are flooded when harvest season comes around, to make berry picking easier. This always makes for an impressive show.
On our quiet little patch of land, far removed from the events and turmoil of the world, we follow the cranberry’s natural cycle. Our water is pure, our air fresh, our soil rich, and Time itself slows down. We choose to only work with people who, like ourselves, follow the rhythm of nature. Because we respect nature, we tend to her needs as much as we tend to our cranberries. We have always 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 us with. We use a unique process that is slower and takes longer. We gently dry our berries just enough for them to retain as much of their benefits as possible. This yields a bigger, softer, tastier, better berry, for a result you can savour.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
Known for their antioxydant properties, polyphenols are naturally present in cranberries. This is why berries are harvested when they are fully grown and their color shines bright, which is when their polyphenol level is at its highest.
- Cranberries are thought to provide health benefits due to their flavonoid and phytonutrient content. These naturally occurring compounds have antioxidant and antimicrobial benefits that are evident in the oral cavity, gastrointestinal (GI) tract and urinary tract.
- A specific type of flavonoid, proanthocyanidins (PAC), in cranberries provide urinary tract benefits by interfering with the ability of pathogenic P-fimbriated Escherichia coli (E. coli ) to cause infections in the urinary tract.
- The majority of studies have focused on the cranberry’s role in urinary tract health, but the benefits extend beyond the urinary tract. Other key areas include the berry’s antimicrobial activities, cardiovascular and Type 2 diabetes, and anti-cancer properties.
- Cranberries provide numerous cardiovascular benefits. They have been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-oxidation, maintain or improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, reducing platelet aggregation and improve vascular function.
(Source: The Cranberry Institute)
Ways to Enjoy
Available from late September to late December, fresh cranberries are not strictly limited to being used in sauces or alongside poultry. You can also try them in a smoothie, or dip them in chocolate. Fresh cranberries can be frozen directly in their packaging. This way, you can easily stock up on them and cook them when they are still frozen. Because cranberries contain very little sugar, you can sweeten them with honey, maple syrup, or another type of sugar. Fresh cranberries can be prepared according to your mood: in a smoothie or jam for breakfast, in a crumble or simply dipped in chocolate for dessert. Should you prefer savory dishes, you can use them to jazz up your sauces.