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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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Without Animals

Wheeler’s Maple Sugar Camp and Pancake House

Wheeler's entrance
Wheeler's entrance

If the mild winter weather is filling your head with thoughts of spring and the maple syrup season, you may want to get a head start by visiting Wheeler’s Maple Sugar Camp and Pancake House. Located in the beautiful Lanark Highlands (about 90 minutes from downtown Ottawa), Wheeler’s is a year-round destination providing outstanding recreational and educational facilities. With groomed trails, a maple museum, farm animals, and a beautiful log restaurant, visitors can easily spend a half-day enjoying the sugar camp, even off-season.

I’ve been to Wheeler’s twice: once in the fall of 2010, and again this February. Both visits were outside the maple syrup season, so I was able to enjoy all the activities without the crowds. Of course, I didn’t actually get to see the maple syrup being made, which is certainly part of the fun of going to a sugar camp, but there were more than enough other activities to keep me entertained.

One of Wheeler’s unique features is its extensive trail system running through the 730-acre sugar bush. Continue reading “Wheeler’s Maple Sugar Camp and Pancake House”

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”

Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Prince Edward County

Chef Anthony Rose from the Drake Hotel

I just returned from a wonderful 3-day weekend in Prince Edward County, where I attended the 1st annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival. I had such a great time touring cheese factories, sampling outstanding cheese, and most of all, meeting so many inspiring and passionate people who were part of the event. As one woman I met said, “This is like a wedding, but without the bride and groom!”

Over the next few blog entries, I will provide details about the tours, seminars, and tasting events that I attended. This should provide lots of ideas for agritourism experiences in Prince Edward County and beyond, and will also give you some ideas for great cheeses to seek out from your local cheese shop.

Here are the topics I will cover in the next blog entries:

  • An all-day bus tour that took us to a dairy farm, Black River Cheese, Vicki’s Veggies, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, and County Cider
  • A full day of cheese seminars covering Canadian cheddar, cheese from Quebec, and artisan cheese in Ontario
  • The Cooks and Curds gala featuring tasting dishes prepared by eight Canadian chefs with eight Canadian cheeses and paired with Ontario wine and beers
  • The  Artisan Cheese and Fine Food Fair where cheesemakers and producers of artisan foods offered their products for sampling and purchase

It’ll take me a few days to cover all these topics (unless I write faster than I usually do), so keep checking back for new updates, including pictures from the various events.

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”

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”

Cranberry Farms in the Ottawa Region

Floating cranberries at Cranberries Valley
Several people have asked me about the picture at the top of my web site. What is it? Why is the water red? The answer is that it’s a cranberry farm!
A flooded cranberry bog is one of the most beautiful sights in the fall; the red water and the fall foliage are really something to see. We are lucky enough to have two of these farms in our region: Upper Canada Cranberries and Cranberries Valley (aka Vallée de Cannaberges). Continue reading “Cranberry Farms in the Ottawa Region”

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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