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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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Kids

Apple Picking in the Ottawa Region

Over the last couple years I’ve visited many apple orchards in Eastern Ontario (and one in Western Quebec). Here is a summary of what’s available in our region:

Within the city of Ottawa:

Pinewood Orchards: An apple orchard on NCC land in the Greenbelt (Kanata). Very picturesque. Although the store is open daily, I believe apple picking takes place only on weekends. You can also purchase their apples at their stand along Carling Avenue, near March Road.

Apple Hill Fruit Farm: A small pick-your-own apple orchard in Barrhaven (Nepean). They also offer wagon rides on weekends. NOW CLOSED

Log Cabin Orchard: A 10 acre, pick-your-own orchard featuring 7 varieties of apples on a 33-acre farm in Osgoode. The store front is a 172 year old log cabin which is the original homestead on the property from 1840. I have not yet visited this orchard, but it looks great!

Harvest Moon Orchard: This orchard in Carp does not offer pick-your-own apples, but they have a very nice store and the apples are freshly picked. Note: They hold a special event called “Heritage Apple Days” each year in October.

Dekok Berry Farm: This berry farm in Kanata offers pick-your-own apples on Saturdays. Continue reading “Apple Picking in the Ottawa Region”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Ferguson Forest Centre in Kemptville

Larger trees for sale

Just south of Ottawa, eastern Ontario’s largest tree nursery welcomes nature lovers to explore its 1000 acres of plantations and forested Crown land. Since 1945, the Ferguson Forest Centre (FFC) has been providing tree seedlings for the reforestation of eastern and southern Ontario. Originally managed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the  nursery property is now owned by the Municipality of North Grenville and leased by the non-profit Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation.

There are three parts to the FFC property: a seasonal nursery outlet, the seedling production and research areas, and over 800 acres of forested Crown land with numerous walking trails.

The nursery outlet is open in the spring and fall. Visitors are free to walk through the greenhouses and view the many types of trees, from conifers to hardwoods to shrubs. Some of the trees are quite large (10 ft. or higher), while others are tiny seedlings available for less than a dollar each. Continue reading “Ferguson Forest Centre in Kemptville”

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