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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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With Animals

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”

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”

Les Trois Coteaux Heritage Farm Tour

Fjord horse

A couple weekends back, my husband and I visited Les Trois Coteaux, a heritage breeds farm located in Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix, Quebec (near Ripon). Daniel Miclette, the owner of the farm, offers 90-minute tours in French or English for anyone who wants to visit the farm. The cost is $10 each for adults, free for children 14 and under. Although it was November – probably the worst month to visit in terms of weather and scenery – we had a great time and learned a lot about heritage breeds and farming.

Daniel Miclette grew up on a mixed farm that switched over to dairy after the Quebec government began encouraging farms to specialize back in the 1970s. He didn’t really like the dairy farming life, so he followed a different career path. But he still loved farming, so he started Les Troix Coteaux and now raises a number of heritage breeds, including Highland and Canadienne cattle, Fjord horses, Sanglachon pigs (wild boar/heritage pig crosses), Chantecler chickens, Katahdin and Blackbelly sheep, and Primorski bees. He now welcomes visitors to the farm to learn about these breeds and enjoy the surroundings. Continue reading “Les Trois Coteaux Heritage Farm Tour”

Organic Farms – Ferme Dagenais and Funny Duck Farms

Fall litter. Source: Funny Duck Farms

In the last two months, I’ve been fortunate to visit several organic farms in the Eastern Ontario. Two farms have really stood out for me: Funny Duck Farms in Jasper (southeast of Smiths Falls) and Ferme Dagenais in Embrun (east of Ottawa).

The farms are similar in many ways. Both are organic and use biodynamic farming methods. Both are owned by families with a strong interest in herbs and natural healing methods. And both are centres of community education and the promotion of healthy living. Continue reading “Organic Farms – Ferme Dagenais and Funny Duck Farms”

Ripon, Quebec – Agritourism Heaven

It’s 45 minutes from downtown Ottawa, and I’d never heard of it. Ripon, Quebec – an unexpected agritourism hotspot, and one of the prettiest drives in our region.

The Ripon area has it all – wineries, farm tours, cheese shops, specialty butchers, display gardens, organic farms, and more. It’s a fantastic place to visit as a day trip. Just remember to bring your cooler, because you’ll have a lot of food to bring back by the end of the day. Continue reading “Ripon, Quebec – Agritourism Heaven”

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