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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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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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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”

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”

Pine Hill Orchards in Bourget

McIntosh apples

In 2010, the apple picking season ended earlier than usual. As a result, I didn’t get a chance to visit one of the orchards that I was most interested in: Pine Hill Orchards. So this year, they were the first on my list to visit (good thing, because I’ve had no opportunity to go apple picking since then, other than picking apples from a really old tree in the farmer’s field behind our property).

Pine Hill Orchards (or Vergers des Pins in French) is located east of Ottawa in Bourget, which is south of Rockland. The orchard is next to the LaRose Forest, a 26,000 acre publicly-owned forest with excellent recreational and nature-watching opportunities.

The orchard itself covers 50 acres, with 6000 trees and 20 varieties of apples. The Doran family has owned the orchard since 1995, and has planted cherry, pear, and plum trees, as well as grapes, to go along with the apple trees. As Paul Doran said to me, “It was a retirement project that went crazy.” Continue reading “Pine Hill Orchards in Bourget”

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”

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”

Domaine Cléroux Maple Orchard – Open House This Weekend

This is just a quick blog entry to let people know that Domaine Cléroux Maple Orchard is having an open house this weekend from 12-4:30 pm. Here is how they describe their property on their website:

Come discover our vast 200 acres Domain, with our apple orchard, sugar bush, sugar shack, bed & breakfast and kiosk.  The ceilings dressed with 120 year old tin from church benches, floors covered with 300 year old slate originally from a church roof, doors also from a church, the staircase recycled from a presbytery, and the stained glass windows from different churches on display as art. In our kiosk, you will find all our maple and apple products along with other refreshments, for you to enjoy on picnic tables set up for your convenience. For those who want to stay for the weekend, it will be our pleasure to greet you in our Domain Bed & Breakfast. – Domaine Cléroux website

I visited Domaine Cléroux a couple months ago, and it was gorgeous. The store is really something to see with all its recycled church components. The B&B is still under construction, but you can see the staircase leading up to it, including an absolutely beautiful gold Italian chandelier. Continue reading “Domaine Cléroux Maple Orchard – Open House This Weekend”

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Part 2: Fallowfield, Thomas, Hillcrest and Briggs Tree Farms

Thomas Tree Farm plantation
In yesterday’s post, I wrote about my visit to Ian’s Evergreen Plantation and Cedar Hill Berry Farm. Today I visited four more cut-your-own Christmas tree farms: Fallowfield Tree Farm, Thomas Tree Farm, Hillcrest Tree Farm, and Briggs Trees. Read on to find out more about each one (including pictures at the bottom of the post).

Fallowfield Tree Farm is a great option for people who want to stick closer to the centre of Ottawa. Located on Fallowfield Rd. in Stittsville, the farm is about 15 minutes west of downtown Ottawa. It has several activities for visitors, including a bonfire, hay rides, a couple farm animals, and a Santa who greets visitors in the parking lot. One word of warning – be careful about petting the goat, or your hand will smell like mine did for the rest of the day (even with the use of Purell)! I think it was a billy goat, because female goats usually don’t give off such a strong odour. But I can never resist petting animals, so I didn’t mind – just be aware if you go! Continue reading “Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Part 2: Fallowfield, Thomas, Hillcrest and Briggs Tree Farms”

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