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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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Organic

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”

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Upcoming Event: Alpenblick Farm Tour on Saturday, August 13th

I’m very excited to announce that I’m working with Locavore Tours to promote their upcoming farm tour to Alpenblick Farms!

Locavore Tours is a new tour company founded by Jasen Brousseau, an Environmental Studies student who aims to reconnect people to their food. He organizes bus tours to local farms, where participants meet the farmers, learn about organic and sustainable farming, and enjoy a chef-prepared, organic lunch.

Locavore Tours’ next tour is on Saturday, August 13th. The destination is Alpenblick Farm, an organic, off-the-grid farm located in Ashton. On this tour, visitors will:

  • Get a tour of the farm
  • Visit with the farm animals
  • Witness vintage Swiss cheese making
  • Enjoy a lunch prepared by an Organic Chef
  • Have the opportunity to purchase food directly from the farm (at a special Locavore Tours discount!)

All this for only $20 per person!

Transportation is by school bus, with pick up at Eagleson Park n Ride in Kanata at 9:30 am, and drop-off at approximately 2:30 pm.

I can guarantee that this is going to be a fascinating tour. I met Robert Oechsli from Alpenblick Farm last year at Herbfest, and he is a super-interesting guy. I can’t wait to see his farm and discover more about how he is farming sustainably and organically.

To sign up for the tour, please visit www.locavoretours.com, and click “Tour Sign Up”. The tour is limited to only about 20 people, so sign up early to avoid disappointment.

Jabulani Vineyard and Winery in Richmond

Tom and Janet Moul in the tasting room

Look out Prince Edward County and Niagara Region. Ottawa has quietly turned itself into a wine destination, with 10 wineries located within an hour of the city core. The newest is Jabulani Vineyard and Winery in Richmond (the southern part of Ottawa).

Jabulani opened only a month ago, but you’d never know from the quality of its wine and the immensely enjoyable tourist experience that owners Tom and Janet Moul provide.

I visited Jabulani around noon on a Friday – one of their quieter periods before the weekend rush. After turning down a long gravel driveway to their farm, I drove past the vineyards and parked in the grass-covered parking lot. As I got out of the car, Tom was already walking out to greet me. This is what I love about agritourism in Ottawa – no pretention, just welcoming, down-to-earth farm experiences.

Tom led me to his and Janet’s log home, where they’ve opened a tasting room in the lower level, with a walkout patio overlooking the vineyard. I was invited to take a seat at one of the wine barrel tables, where I would begin my wine tasting. Out came perfectly chilled wine, along with generous plates of cheese, crackers, and grapes. Continue reading “Jabulani Vineyard and Winery in Richmond”

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”

Carleton Growers Looking for Part-time Help

Carleton Growers greenhouse
Carleton Growers greenhouse

Update: Sadly, Carleton Growers is now out of business.

I stopped by Carleton Growers in Carp today to pick up some cut lilies and roses from their greenhouses. While I was there, they told me they’re looking for some additional part-time help. They have several open positions: florist, design florist, harvesting help, and drivers to delivery flowers to farmers’ markets.

This could be a great opportunity for anyone who loves flowers and is passionate about environmental issues. As I wrote about previously on the Local Tourist Ottawa website, Carleton Growers was recently purchased by the Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre, a charitable organization with an environmental focus. They plan to turn the adjacent fields into an organic farm and add more greenhouse space so they can grow year-round organic vegetables in addition to flowers. They’ve hired 11 local youth for the summer to help with their plans, and now are looking for more specialized help with the flower business.

If you’re interested, you can send an email to carpacresdm <at> hotmail <dot>ca. Or visit the Carleton Growers website for additional contact information. (Note: The website has not been updated since the business changed hands earlier this year, so you won’t find details about their expansion plans there yet.)

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!

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”

Cross-border Shopping at the Outaouais Local Food Co-op

My Quebec contraband per Prohibition-era law

A couple months back, I wrote about a food co-op in Gatineau, Quebec called Marché de solidarité régionale de l’Outaouais. This local food distribution cooperative offers products from the Outaouais region’s farmers, manufacturers, and artisans. For a 15% premium over the producer’s regular price, customers can place their orders online and pick up their order at a downtown Hull location. The cost to join is $20/year.

I decided to join this co-op for a couple reasons. One is that the co-op includes some of my favourite producers in Ripon, Quebec, including Ferme Fée et Fougère (organic meat), Ferme aux Pleines Saveurs (organic produce and amazing strawberry pies), and Fermes Les Folies Bergères (sheep cheese).

The other reason for joining is that the co-op sells wine and ice cider from some terrific Quebec wineries. My order today included strawberry wine from Domaine Mont-Vézeau and ice cider from Vignoble du Clos Baillie. In the future, I will order ice wine from Verger Croque-Pomme, and the 2011 organic wines from Domaine des Vignobles Météores.

It’s really great to be able to order local wines and pick them up with my other local products from the co-op. The only problem is… it’s ILLEGAL for me to take these wines across the border to Ontario. Continue reading “Cross-border Shopping at the Outaouais Local Food Co-op”

Domaine des Météores Organic Winery in Ripon, Quebec

3 Types of Wine

Back in September, my husband Gary and I visited Green Gables Winery in Oxford Station, just south of Ottawa. When I found out the property was for sale, I started dreaming aloud about how fun it would be to own a winery. To which Gary replied, “Yeah, but what you really want is a winery where someone else does all the work, and your job is to on a chair at the edge of the vineyard accepting glasses of wine from the staff.”

I laughed, because it’s totally true. I now know that running a vineyard is HARD work. It’s even harder when your vineyard is organic, like Domaine des Météores in Ripon, Quebec.

Domaine des Météores is owned by André Cellard (a professor at the University of Ottawa) and Chantal Ippersiel (a former government employee who now works at the winery full-time). André and Chantal have planted 10,000 vines, with another 2,500 planned for next year. The grapes are a mix of Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, Marquette, Sabrevois, Louise Swenson, and Radisson. The Frontenac and Marquette grapes are from the University of Minnesota, which has a grape breeding program for cold hardy, disease resistant grape cultivars. Continue reading “Domaine des Météores Organic Winery in Ripon, Quebec”

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