I’ve been meaning to post more blog entries, but I’m so busy touring that it leaves very little time for writing. So rather than wait until I have time to write up more detailed reports, here’s a quick snapshot of the places I’ve been visiting. I will write more about these later. By the way, some of these places I visited yesterday – there’s no way I could see this many places in one day!
This is the 15th Edition of Agri-Tour, an event organized by the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network. Agri-Tour runs this weekend (Sept. 11-12) and next (Sept. 18-19). Details are at www.agritour.ca. Here’s where I’ve visited so far:
Vankleek Hill Vineyard: A brand new vineyard with top quality white wine made from Frontenac grapes. And the setting is beautiful! This one is a can’t miss.
Domaine du Cervin: Another great winery – and they raise red deer as well! For Agri-Tour, they are serving deer sausage and hamburgers. I actually visited yesterday before Agri-Tour started, and they said they were expecting to serve 220 meals.
Centre for Research in Organic Dairy Production (part of the University of Guelph): A rare tour of a dairy farm – this one is organic. It’s very hard to find tours of dairy farms (because of the need to keep the environment so pristine). This is a once a year chance to see the university’s research into grass-fed dairy production.
Cannamore Orchard: A large apple-picking operation with a ton of activities for children, and a large store for browsing. A great family outing.
Ferme Dagenais and Le Tournasol: A biodynamic farm with a health food and natural products store on site. They also have pick your own organic apples and pears. This is a wonderful farm to visit, and I will write more about it later.
Covenant Farm & Café de Joel: A mixed farm that produces vegetables for the farmers’ market as well as their own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. They also roast coffee for sale at the market and online. A great place to go as your first Agritour stop!
Verger Nation Sud: A beautiful apple orchard overlooking the South Nation River. Gorgeous apples – and SOOOO good.
Ferme Kapra: A (meat) goat farm that also sells goat cheese, goat milk gelato, and prepared goat meat products such as chili and ravioli. The owner provides a wonderful bilingual tour for the Agritour event. There’s a kiosk on site, but they don’t take VISA or Interac, so bring cash.
Les Vergers Villeneuve and Blueberry Farm: A pick your own apple orchard in the fall, in a very picturesque setting.
Other agritourism places I’ve visited lately:
Eco-Odyssee in Wakefield, Quebec: A 6 km water maze built on 70 acres of marsh. I consider it agritourism because it’s part of a larger farm property. I plan to write more about it, but go now if you can because it closes in mid-October.
Chelsea Smokehouse: A mouth-watering collection of smoked fish and local products, and an owner who recites poetry to customers. Awesome!
Papilles Gourmand: A small store in Hull that sells Quebec specialty food products. A great place to go for gifts.
Whitehouse Perennials: A large nursery and garden centre with display gardens – and some delicious produce for sale. It’s in the Almonte area.
Stoneridge Gardens: A nursery near Clayton that has extensive display gardens. A particularly scenic drive, especially if you let your GPS guide you from Whitehouse Perennials to Stoneridge.
Acorn Creek Garden Farm: A horticultural operation in Carp that is particularly well known for its melons and peppers.
Carleton Growers: Another agribusiness in Carp – this one produces flowers, and sells them at farmers’ markets and at their retail store beside the greenhouses. This is where you can go to get local cut flowers, rather than those South American imports that are grown under who-knows-what kind of environmental conditions. It’s the only greenhouse of its kind in Eastern Ontario, and it’s open year-round.
Rideau Woodland Ramble: Seven acres of display gardens and paths in Merrickville, and a great place to buy plants and trees.
Pinewood Orchards: Pick your own apples on a very picturesque old farm on NCC land in the Greenbelt (Kanata). (Update: I’ve been getting a lot of hits on this site looking for info on Pinewood Orchards. It turns out that the Pinewood Orchards web site is down, so that’s why so many people are coming here instead. Here’s what I know about their operation: When I visited in early September, the small store was open daily but apple picking was only on weekends. Also, I believe they are open until the end of October. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any contact information for the company that leases the land. However, they did have a sign saying that they also own Ferme Rollin and Greenhouses in Cumberland, so perhaps that’s a way to find them. If anyone visits Pinewood Orchards and finds out more about their hours, please send me a message through my Contact page. If I get a chance, I will see if I can find out the answer myself by visiting the orchard on my way home sometime.)
Brantim Country Garden Centre: A large nursery on a farm in Almonte, with changing displays for the seasons and very popular workshops.
I have almost 200 places on my list, and keep finding more each day. Tomorrow I will be going to Vignoble du Clos Baillie, a winery in Aylmer, Quebec that is holding a special art event tomorrow at the vineyard. Seeing as it’s Portes Ouvertes (Doors Open) at 100 Quebec farms tomorrow, I will also try to visit several other agritourism places in Quebec that day. Then next weekend I will head back to Agri-Tour in Eastern Ontario to see the places I haven’t seen yet. Oh, and I will also start to schedule some of the tours that require a reservation. Each day is an adventure!