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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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Quebec

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”

Baling the Hay

Earlier in August, I spent a week up at our property on the Gatineau River in Quebec. We’re building a small cabin there, but for now, we stay in our RV in a neighbouring farm field that belongs to my brother-in-law. Another neighbour, who farms there full-time, does the haying. I was there while they were baling, which gave me a chance to see how the round bales are made. Our neighbour’s young son explained the process to me while I took lots of pictures and a few movies. You can see the process in the movie below (please ignore any safety issues in the making of this movie!)

Here are some additional pictures: Continue reading “Baling the Hay”

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”

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”

Wineries and Vineyards in the Ottawa Region

Before I started researching my agritourism guidebook, I had no idea there were so many wineries in the Ottawa region. There are 11 wineries within a one hour drive of Ottawa, and according to some of the vintners I’ve spoken to, we’re about to get a lot more in the coming years.

You may wonder: how can anyone produce a good wine in such a cold climate? Well, the grape I keep hearing about is called “Frontenac”. It’s a French-American hybrid developed at the University of Minnesota for very cold climates. You can read about it here.

In addition to grape-based wines, some of our wineries produce wines from other fruits, such as strawberries and apples. With so many winery touring options, there really is no need to go to Prince Edward County, the Eastern Townships, or Niagara (much as these places are great too).

Here’s a brief description of the wineries in our region. Click here for a map that I created with Google My Maps.

South of Ottawa:

Jabulani Vineyard and Winery: The Ottawa region’s newest winery. Really good wine, and a wonderful agritourism experience. They are located in Richmond, and are open from 11am to 6pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Labour Day. Full report here.

Green Gables Winery: A picturesque winery in Oxford Station (near Kemptville). They make their own wine from Frontenac grapes, and also produce wine from grapes from the Niagara region. This winery is for sale, so if your dream is to own a vineyard, have a look at the Green Gables Winery real estate listing.

Countryman’s Estate Winery: A winery in Prescott that specializes in fruit wine. Lots of very interesting wines – for example, who would have thought you can make wine from watermelon? I tasted the strawberry, black cherry, rhubarb, and watermelon wines. I also tasted a maple-flavoured wine that’s similar to sherry – delicious! One wine you must try is the “Green Salad” wine. We tried it a dinner party with some guests from Wisconsin, and it made for some great conversation! Continue reading “Wineries and Vineyards in the Ottawa Region”

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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