Miracle Farms is a 12-acre property located in Quebec’s western Monteregie region, in USDA hardiness zone 5. The farm was originally developed as a commercial monoculture apple orchard, transitioned to organic upon purchase in 1993, and certified organic in 1996. Starting in 2007, five acres have been converted to a permaculture-inspired “u-pick” orchard. Plants, fruits and vegetables grown here include over 100 cultivars of apples, 18 cultivars of pears, asian pears, plums, cherries, peaches, paw-paws, hardy kiwi, grapes, mulberries, gooseberries, redcurrant, blackcurrant, saskatoon berries, raspberries, strawberries, and a whole range of herbs and perennial vegetables.
The orchard is designed to promote maximum diversity of plant, insect and animal species, with a special focus on creating habitat. This results in a high population of pollinators and other beneficial insects, as well as birds. Together they help control pests. Not only does this increase fruit yield, but it also greatly reduces the amount of maintenance work necessary, since a lot of it is being done by the eco-system itself.
Despite a large diversity of species, harvest is simplified by the “grocery aisle” layout of the farm, where all fruits in any given row will be ripe within a 10-day window. It is then unnecessary to go from one row to the next looking for trees that are ready to harvest.