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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 Tours

May Agritourism News

I apologize for not posting many entries lately. For personal reasons, I haven’t been able to focus much time on agritourism lately, but hopefully that will change as the weather warms up and the growing season gets into full swing.

Here are a few recent agritourism-related developments that readers may find interesting:

1. New Garden Centre in Carp opening on Saturday, May 7th: Our friends at Kings Creek Trees and Ornamentals are opening a full service retail garden centre at 153 Donald B. Munro Drive. This is exciting news for the Carp area, which is also home to the new organic farm at Carleton Growers. For those not familiar with Kings Creek Trees, have a look at my previous article about their tree farm and perennial garden business, where they grow an interesting assortment of trees, ornamental grasses, exotic thistles, and wetland plants. Their new business in Carp is a welcome addition to the community, and definitely worth checking out on their opening weekend! 

2. Farmers’ markets opening dates: Many farmers’ markets are starting up this weekend. Here is a list from Ottawa’s Rural Affairs Office:        

Continue reading “May Agritourism News”

Temple’s Sugar Camp and Restaurant

Temple's Sugar Camp Restaurant

Earlier this week I made a trip out to Temple’s Sugar Camp and Restaurant in Lanark County, where I treated myself to some decadent Belgian Waffles covered with maple whip cream, blueberry preserves, and lots of pure maple syrup! I also checked out Temple’s excellent nature trail that runs through their sugar bush. For the full story, please go to the Local Tourist Ottawa website. Warning: Don’t read the article when you’re hungry!

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!

Valleyview Little Animal Farm and Bill’s Old Farm Museum

Pig peeking through the fence

Most parents of young children in Ottawa know about Valleyview Little Animal Farm. Like Saunders Farm and the Central Experimental Farm, this is one of the top places to bring young kids for a farm outing. So when I pulled up to the farm on a sunny autumn day – all by myself – I was feeling a bit awkward. After buying my single admission ticket (“Just you? Are you sure?”), I thought I’d make a quick tour of the place: say hi to the animals, check out the children’s play area, take some pictures, and then be on my way.

That was before I knew about Bill’s Old Farm Museum, a hidden gem that makes Valleyview Little Animal Farm one of the top agritourism destinations in the Ottawa region – not just for kids, but for adults too.

Bill’s Old Farm Museum is a collection of restored farm machinery spread out over five barns. All the machinery works, and was lovingly restored by the late Bill Mowat, father of the current farm owner, Heather Brophy. The collection used to be open to the public only on special occasions, but is now open for self-guided tours whenever the farm itself is open. Continue reading “Valleyview Little Animal Farm and Bill’s Old Farm Museum”

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”

Continental Mushroom in Metcalfe

Pruning the mushrooms

Update: Sadly, Continental Mushroom is now out of business.

Did you know that if you leave a package of mushrooms on the kitchen counter, the mushrooms will continue to grow? Or that portobello mushrooms are really just large, brown cremini mushrooms?

You can learn these and other mushroom facts at Continental Mushroom, a large mushroom growing farm on the eastern edge of the city of Ottawa. While not a tourist destination per se, Continental Mushrooms provides guided tours of the facility to interested groups and individuals.

Continental Mushroom is a great Canadian success story. The founder, Nicholas Pora, was a Romanian refugee from WWII who came to Canada in 1950. After working at mushroom farms in Ontario and Quebec, he founded Continental Mushrooms in 1972. Since that time, the business has grown to 250 employees, and now grows 200,000 pounds of mushrooms per week. Continue reading “Continental Mushroom in Metcalfe”

10 Agritourism Destinations During Winterlude

A recent Ottawa Citizen article reported that City Councillor Doug Thompson wants visitors to “come for Winterlude and stay for the farms.” With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of fun farm destinations that Ottawa visitors can enjoy in February (or any month really).

  1. A farm stay at Gillenderry Farms in Pakenham. If you’re from out of town, why not stay in a B&B on a 170 year old farm just outside Ottawa? Gillanderry Farms is a working dairy and cash crop farm in Ottawa’s west end. The B&B offers three guestrooms in a beautiful old stone home. In your free time, you can visit the livestock and tour the farm’s museum containing 30 antique farm tractors!
  2. The animal barns at Canada Agricultural Museum. The exhibition areas are closed until February 26, but the animal barns are open. Drop by and visit with the dairy and beef cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, and chickens. Best of all, there’s no admission charge at this time of year (but donations are encouraged)! Continue reading “10 Agritourism Destinations During Winterlude”

Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary

Pot-bellied pig

A very special farm experience awaits those who make the trip out to Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary. Founded by Andy Parent, this Kemptville-area farm has taken in over 1500 unwanted and abused animals since 2002. Unlike most animal sanctuaries, the refuge takes in not only cats and dogs, but also horses, pigs, cows, goats, reindeer, and even bison. At any one time, there are usually about 150 animals on site, most of whom are available for adoption.

I met Andy Parent on a sunny fall day in September. He arrived from a back field on his ATV, followed by five dogs of varying sizes, including the boss of the pack, a little white maltese mix. Although I hadn’t called ahead, Andy was very welcoming and took the time to introduce me to the sanctuary and its history.

Andy Parent bought the 25.5 acre property as a hobby farm, a place to retreat from his busy life as a successful property manager in Ottawa. But it wasn’t long before he started taking in animals that had nowhere else to go, especially larger farm animals that didn’t fit into regular rescue protocols. Continue reading “Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary”

RMCP Rockcliffe Stables – Musical Ride Centre

RMCP Musical Ride trainee

Many Ottawa visitors and residents will be familiar with the RCMP Musical Ride. Performed by thirty-two Royal Canadian Mounted Police riders and their horses, the Musical Ride is a military pageant consisting of cavalry drills choreographed to music. The spectacle has thrilled audiences for over one hundred years, and continues to be seen at forty to fifty locations a year between the months of May and October.

So what happens during the winter months when the Musical Ride is not touring? That’s when the riders and horses come back to their home base at the RCMP Rockcliffe Stables in Ottawa. From November to April, the stables are buzzing with activity as new riders and horses go through their training for the next year’s tour. This is by far the best time to visit the stables, which are open to the public year-round.

During the winter months, the RMCP Musical Ride Centre offers tours of the horse stables and training centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Continue reading “RMCP Rockcliffe Stables – Musical Ride Centre”

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