Pumpkins for sale

It’s not too often that you get picked up by the side of the road by a man in a John Deere tractor. But that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday when I visited Millers’ Farm and Market in Manotick.

I had gone to Millers’ to check out their agritourism operation. Millers’ Farm and Market has a little bit of everything: pick your own berries and pumpkins, wagon rides (on weekends), tours for school groups, a large gift shop, antiques, home-made preserves and pickles, a garden centre, and fresh local and Ontario produce. They also have an 8 acre corn maze, which is what I was looking at when Ron Miller came by on his tractor from a back field. He stopped the tractor to say hi, and when I told him that I was doing research on agritourism in the Ottawa region, he invited me to climb into the tractor for a tour of the farm!

Our first stop was the front of the farm, where one of the workers hooked up a wagon to the tractor. Then it was on to the back fields, where Ron showed me their different varieties of pumpkins, including white pumpkins, which are apparently popular for weddings. We also stopped at a corn field, where Ron showed me some Indian corn and broom corn. They also have a popcorn field, which must generate a lot of questions from visiting school children!

During the tour, we dropped off the wagon in a pumpkin field, and picked up another wagon in a different field. I got to do the hooking and unhooking, which was fun!

On fall weekends, Millers’ Farm offers wagon rides to the back fields so that you can pick your own pumpkins. During the week, they also offer school tours where children can pick their own corn in a field that has several different varieties (including the popcorn corn). I visited mid-week at the start of the school year, so it was pretty quiet, but things will really ramp up as fall approaches.

Millers’ is a family business that is operated by Ron and Suzie Miller, and their son Simon. The Millers started growing berries in 1981, at a farm in South Nepean. The government took over their property to create the 416 highway, so they moved in 1990 to their current location just south of Manotick. They have a fairly large operation, and employ quite a few people to run the business.

Millers’ Farm and Market is a fun place to stop if you want some entertainment mixed in with your shopping. You can go on a wagon ride, get lost in a corn maze, browse through the antiques, and walk down the farm road (you can even bring your dog if you like, according to their website). Or if you prefer, you can just stop in to pick up some fresh vegetables and fruit, or buy some plants or trees from the garden centre. And if you need horticultural advice, Millers’ offers that too – they have a horticulturalist on staff who can assist with garden design at your own site.

Millers’ Farm and Market is open daily from spring to fall. Check their website for exact hours as well as services available in the winter.