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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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Farm Store

Guide to Christmas Tree Farms in the Ottawa Region

In 2010, I visited a number of Christmas tree farms in the Ottawa region, and wrote articles about each of them. This year, I hope to visit a few more. In the meantime, here is a list of places where you can cut your own Christmas tree.

Note: Click on the links to see my original article for each tree farm.

Ottawa West

Ian’s Evergreen Plantation: This is one of the largest Christmas tree farms in the region. In addition to Christmas trees, they also have a herd of (real) reindeer, and they have some beautiful walking trails. Located in Ashton.

Cedar Hill Berry Farm: This Christmas tree farm is located on a very picturesque berry farm in Pakenham. They offer horse-drawn wagon and sleigh rides throughout the plantation; the best part is riding through a covered bridge over a small river. Be sure to buy some jam while you’re at the store – it’s the best in Ottawa (in my opinion)!
Continue reading “Guide to Christmas Tree Farms in the Ottawa Region”

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Victory Farm Alpacas in Lanark

This agritourism destination is now closed. The owners have sold the farm.

People often ask me, “What is the favourite agritourism place that you’ve visited in Ottawa?” It’s a tough question to answer, because there are so many excellent places to visit, and I have so many favourites. But when it comes to picking the place where I felt the most sheer joy, that would have to be Victory Farm Alpacas. There is really nothing like entering a farm pasture and having a herd of alpacas come running up to greet you. The animals are graceful, curious, and most of all, adorable – it’s like being surrounded by giant teddy bears that have come to life. Have a look at this quick video to see what I’m talking about:


Continue reading “Victory Farm Alpacas in Lanark”

Mazes and Haunted Delights at McMaze

Start of the Haunted Walk

If you’re looking for a Halloween-themed outing this weekend, you should definitely check out McMaze. Located just north of Cornwall, McMaze is a four-season agritourism destination that specializes in mazes and Halloween activities. In fact, it’s quite a bit like Saunders Farm, but on a smaller scale, with more of a true farm feeling to it.

I visited McMaze last October, on a beautiful sunny day during the week. I was there on my own, having just finished up a mushroom farm tour in Eastern Ottawa (see my Continental Mushroom article here). It must have seemed strange that I was there by myself, especially since I was the only visitor that afternoon, but I was made to feel very welcome. (By the way, like many of my agritourism visits, I wanted to experience the farm as a regular visitor, and didn’t reveal that I write for this blog.)

McMaze is located on a working farm, and has many activities to entertain both adults and children. As the name implies, they have several mazes on the property, the largest being their corn maze, which changes every year (this year’s theme is Canadian Symbols). The maze is very relaxing – it’s more about enjoying a walk through a corn maze than actually getting lost. Continue reading “Mazes and Haunted Delights at McMaze”

Locavore Tours and Alpenblick Farm

Dairy goats at Alpenblick Farm

Just over a week ago, I attended a Locavore Tours outing to Alpenblick Farm in Ashton. We spent the day petting the very tame farm animals (including the beautiful goats in the picture to the left), learning about organic farming, and sampling organic milk, hamburgers, and swiss cheese. What a fun day!

To read my article about the tour, please visit to the Local Tourist Ottawa blog (click here). Then sign up for the next Locavore Tour to Alpenblick Farm, taking place on Saturday, September 17th. The cost is only $20, and that includes transportation from the Eagleson Park & Ride, and an organic lunch at the farm!

Strawberry Heaven: Cedar Hill Berry Farm

Fresh-picked strawberries

As you can see from my latest posts, I’m still working away at my Great Canadian Cheese Festival articles. I better hurry up, because the summer agritourism season is now in full swing and there’s so much to write about. And what better way to start than to write about STRAWBERRIES!!!!

Yes – finally – the pick-your-own strawberry season has begun, and to celebrate, I headed out yesterday to Cedar Hill Berry Farm in Pakenham. It was a race against the weather, as the skies were turning dark and the rain was on its way. But several days of hot, sunny weather had ripened the strawberries to perfection, and I was able to pick a 4 Litre basket in under 15 minutes.

I’m a big fan of Cedar Hill Berry Farm, having visited them last December for their Christmas tree season (which you can read about here). The setting is so idyllic, with the farm located at the end of a dirt road, beside a small creek with a covered bridge.

Your first stop for berry picking will be the barn beside the parking area. Continue reading “Strawberry Heaven: Cedar Hill Berry Farm”

All Day Cheese Tour: Vicki’s Veggies

Picnic lunch at Vicki's Veggies

A highlight of our All Day Cheese Tour was stopping at Vicki’s Veggies for a picnic lunch. We arrived quite hungry from a busy morning of touring, and were happy to take a seat at the picnic tables that had been set up on Vicki Emlaw’s and Tim Noxon’s property. Here we savoured a delicious box lunch from Prince Edward County’s East & Main Bistro, while free-range chickens wandered around us looking for handouts.

During our lunch, Vicki Emlaw provided a history of the farm business that she and her husband run. After spending a couple years at university, Vicki spent twelve years travelling the world. She would return in the summers to work evenings in local restaurants, and would spend her days working in her mother’s garden. At a party one night, she met a local carpenter whose recent hand injury was preventing him from being able to can his home-grown tomatoes. She volunteered to help him, and the rest is history.

Now the couple lives on an 8-acre property where they grow non-certified organic mixed vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, mushrooms, and eggs. Continue reading “All Day Cheese Tour: Vicki’s Veggies”

Fortune Farms Sugar Bush

Making my maple taffy on snow

If you haven’t made it out to a sugar bush yet, you may want to head to Fortune Farms tomorrow for what may be their last day of the season. This Lanark County sugar bush provides an excellent introduction to the history and science of making maple syrup.  From sap boiled in kettles, to modern evaporators, you’ll be able to see how maple syrup production has progressed from pioneer to modern times.

Your first stop will be the modern maple syrup production building, where you’ll see the oil-fired evaporators with stainless steel pans, and will learn about modern production techniques using reverse osmosis.

Next, you’ll walk down a dirt road to the 1940’s sugar shack, where maple syrup is produced using an old-fashioned wood-fired evaporator. Here you’ll learn interesting facts about traditional maple syrup production – such as the huge amount of resources (wood and labour) needed to produce a small amount of syrup, or the fact that the steam contains small amounts of sugar, which sticks to the roof and attracts wasps in the summer. The best part is that you get a free sample of warm syrup freshly made from the evaporator, which should give you lots of energy for the rest of your visit! Continue reading “Fortune Farms Sugar Bush”

Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush

Horse-drawn sleigh ride

Located between the picturesque towns of Almonte and Pakenham, Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush is one of the biggest sugar camps in Lanark County. And with the property being in the Fulton family for over 160 years, the current generation is tapping some of the same maple trees that their ancestors tapped in the 1840’s!

You may want to start your visit in the restaurant, where you can fill yourself up with enough sugar and carbohydrates to keep you going for the rest of the day. Unlike many other sugar bushes (especially in Quebec), you don’t need a reservation, so you can just come in, order your food, and sit down at one of the many long tables in the 120-seat restaurant.

Your food choices include pancakes, sausages, beans, and various desserts and drinks. Gluten-free pancakes are available, and if you need to bring your own food because of dietary restrictions, Fulton’s will be happy to heat it up for you.

The food service is cafeteria-style, with beverage stations and a maple syrup centre where you can apply as much maple syrup as you like. It’s been a while since I’ve had pancakes, so I was shocked at how quickly the pancakes absorb the syrup, and had to make a second trip to get more! The whole meal was delicious, and I was glad that I’d arrived hungry! Continue reading “Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush”

Ferme Ouellette Farm in Middleville

Store entrance

Visiting Ferme Ouellette Farm is like stepping 100 years back in time. Located in the small town of Middleville in the Lanark Highlands, the farm is an old-fashioned community gathering place, complete with an old-time country store, chickens on the doorstep, and workhorses in the back.

The farm itself dates back to the 1850’s, and was once the site of a cheese factory producing as much as 100,000 pounds of cheese per year. Caroline and Patrick Ouellette purchased the former dairy farm in 2002, turning it into a small-scale vegetable and poultry farm. A couple years later, they opened a farm gate store. Continue reading “Ferme Ouellette Farm in Middleville”

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