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Agritourism Ottawa

A Guide to Wineries, Orchards, Gardens, Farm Tours and Other Agricultural Adventures in the Ottawa Region

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Agritourism Issues

Baling the Hay

Earlier in August, I spent a week up at our property on the Gatineau River in Quebec. We’re building a small cabin there, but for now, we stay in our RV in a neighbouring farm field that belongs to my brother-in-law. Another neighbour, who farms there full-time, does the haying. I was there while they were baling, which gave me a chance to see how the round bales are made. Our neighbour’s young son explained the process to me while I took lots of pictures and a few movies. You can see the process in the movie below (please ignore any safety issues in the making of this movie!)

Here are some additional pictures: Continue reading “Baling the Hay”

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Upcoming Event: Alpenblick Farm Tour on Saturday, August 13th

I’m very excited to announce that I’m working with Locavore Tours to promote their upcoming farm tour to Alpenblick Farms!

Locavore Tours is a new tour company founded by Jasen Brousseau, an Environmental Studies student who aims to reconnect people to their food. He organizes bus tours to local farms, where participants meet the farmers, learn about organic and sustainable farming, and enjoy a chef-prepared, organic lunch.

Locavore Tours’ next tour is on Saturday, August 13th. The destination is Alpenblick Farm, an organic, off-the-grid farm located in Ashton. On this tour, visitors will:

  • Get a tour of the farm
  • Visit with the farm animals
  • Witness vintage Swiss cheese making
  • Enjoy a lunch prepared by an Organic Chef
  • Have the opportunity to purchase food directly from the farm (at a special Locavore Tours discount!)

All this for only $20 per person!

Transportation is by school bus, with pick up at Eagleson Park n Ride in Kanata at 9:30 am, and drop-off at approximately 2:30 pm.

I can guarantee that this is going to be a fascinating tour. I met Robert Oechsli from Alpenblick Farm last year at Herbfest, and he is a super-interesting guy. I can’t wait to see his farm and discover more about how he is farming sustainably and organically.

To sign up for the tour, please visit www.locavoretours.com, and click “Tour Sign Up”. The tour is limited to only about 20 people, so sign up early to avoid disappointment.

Carleton Growers Looking for Part-time Help

Carleton Growers greenhouse
Carleton Growers greenhouse

Update: Sadly, Carleton Growers is now out of business.

I stopped by Carleton Growers in Carp today to pick up some cut lilies and roses from their greenhouses. While I was there, they told me they’re looking for some additional part-time help. They have several open positions: florist, design florist, harvesting help, and drivers to delivery flowers to farmers’ markets.

This could be a great opportunity for anyone who loves flowers and is passionate about environmental issues. As I wrote about previously on the Local Tourist Ottawa website, Carleton Growers was recently purchased by the Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre, a charitable organization with an environmental focus. They plan to turn the adjacent fields into an organic farm and add more greenhouse space so they can grow year-round organic vegetables in addition to flowers. They’ve hired 11 local youth for the summer to help with their plans, and now are looking for more specialized help with the flower business.

If you’re interested, you can send an email to carpacresdm <at> hotmail <dot>ca. Or visit the Carleton Growers website for additional contact information. (Note: The website has not been updated since the business changed hands earlier this year, so you won’t find details about their expansion plans there yet.)

Carleton Growers Article on Local Tourist Ottawa

My article on the Local Tourist Ottawa blog

I have two new blog entries today, but you’ll have to go to a great new blog called Local Tourist Ottawa to see them! The first article is about agritourism in Ottawa – what it is, why it matters, and why Ottawa is such a great place for it. The second article is about Carleton Growers, a Carp-based business that just changed hands, and is about to change the organic landscape in Ottawa ((no pun intended!)

I’ll be writing periodic articles over at Local Tourist Ottawa, mostly about agritourism, but also about some little-known tourist destinations I’ve discovered in my rural travels. I’ll let Agritourism Ottawa readers know when I’ve posted something new at Local Tourist Ottawa, but even better, why not follow both blogs regularly? Don’t forget to also follow us on Twitter at @LTOttawa and @AgritourismOtt!

Blog News: OttawaStart, Local Tourist Ottawa, and Maple Sugar Season

My blog on the OttawaStart "very strongly recommended" list

I’m excited to report a couple recent developments pertaining to this blog. First, a big thanks to the OttawaStart blog, which named Agritourism Ottawa as one of its 30 “very strongly recommended” blogs about Ottawa. I am very honoured to have been put on the list! Thank you also to any new readers who followed the link from the OttawaStart blog. If you want to get updates through RSS or email, just click the Subscribe button on the left hand side.

Earlier in the week, OttawaStart also published its list of 26 “essential Ottawa blogs”, which represent the very best blogs in the region. This is where I learned about a recently launched blog called Local Tourist Ottawa, which features articles from local writers about places to explore in Ottawa. I contacted the blog coordinators to discuss contributing to their blog, and my first blog post is now in the works! I will post more here when the article is published, but I will say that the article includes news that will thrill organic food lovers, especially in the west end of Ottawa!

In other news, the maple syrup season is now starting (Fulton’s opens today!), so stay tuned for profiles of the best sugar bushes in the region.

Small Farm Central: Low Cost, High Impact Farm Websites

"Wooden" template with product availability graph

I recently came across a great web site hosting service specifically designed for farmers. It’s called Small Farm Central, and it was started by Simon Huntley, a farmer himself.

Small Farm Central  provides four main services:

  1. Website hosting: They’ll register your domain name for you, host your website files on their servers, and take care of backups.
  2. Website editing tools: Their content management interface enables you to make changes to your own site – with no web development experience required.
  3. Graphic design: They provide beautiful farm-themed website templates that make it look like you hired your own web designer.
  4. E-commerce enablement: They provide the tools to enable online purchasing and order management through your website, saving you time and increasing your farm revenue.

Their pricing is excellent. Their most basic package is $20/month, with their premium package costing $50/month. The  e-commerce package is an extra $10-$20 per month, depending on the service you select. All packages are 10% off if you pay up-front for a year. Continue reading “Small Farm Central: Low Cost, High Impact Farm Websites”

Cross-border Shopping at the Outaouais Local Food Co-op

My Quebec contraband per Prohibition-era law

A couple months back, I wrote about a food co-op in Gatineau, Quebec called Marché de solidarité régionale de l’Outaouais. This local food distribution cooperative offers products from the Outaouais region’s farmers, manufacturers, and artisans. For a 15% premium over the producer’s regular price, customers can place their orders online and pick up their order at a downtown Hull location. The cost to join is $20/year.

I decided to join this co-op for a couple reasons. One is that the co-op includes some of my favourite producers in Ripon, Quebec, including Ferme Fée et Fougère (organic meat), Ferme aux Pleines Saveurs (organic produce and amazing strawberry pies), and Fermes Les Folies Bergères (sheep cheese).

The other reason for joining is that the co-op sells wine and ice cider from some terrific Quebec wineries. My order today included strawberry wine from Domaine Mont-Vézeau and ice cider from Vignoble du Clos Baillie. In the future, I will order ice wine from Verger Croque-Pomme, and the 2011 organic wines from Domaine des Vignobles Météores.

It’s really great to be able to order local wines and pick them up with my other local products from the co-op. The only problem is… it’s ILLEGAL for me to take these wines across the border to Ontario. Continue reading “Cross-border Shopping at the Outaouais Local Food Co-op”

Agritourism Resources across the Ottawa Region

When I explain my agritourism book project to friends, one of the most common questions I get is: “how do you find the places you’re visiting?” People are curious about how I go about my research. In particular, they want to know what kind of web resources there are for planning farm visits – especially for the less well-known destinations.

The answer to this question is complicated, which is partly why I decided to write a book and create a website on this topic. Although there are multiple websites covering the topic of local food and agritourism, there are some particular challenges in our region: Continue reading “Agritourism Resources across the Ottawa Region”

OCTA Summit: Innovations in Local Food Distribution

For the last three months, my freezer and fridge have been overflowing with local products: apples, tomatoes, beef, bison, maple butter, cranberry juice, goat cheese, Beau’s beer (if you can call that food), and a multitude of other products available from our local producers. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to visit these producers on site, buying directly from the farm. But many of these places are a good drive from my house, so replacing the food as we eat it is not so easy.

The problem of local food distribution was the topic of one of the OCTA Summit presentations. Lauren Baker, Executive Director of Sustain Ontario, was the presenter. In this session, we heard about the “hourglass phenomena”, in which there are lots of buyers at one end of the hourglass, and lots of farmers at the other, but there’s a squeeze in the middle when it comes to distribution. Continue reading “OCTA Summit: Innovations in Local Food Distribution”

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