Agritourism Ottawa

A Guide to Wineries, Orchards, Gardens, Farm Tours and Other Agricultural Adventures in the Ottawa Region



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”

C’est Bon Cooking Food Tour with Girl Geek Dinners Ottawa

Murray's Market cheese plate

Earlier this month I attended my first Girl Geek Dinners Ottawa event. The evening brought 20 or so women (and a couple guys) together for a wonderful foodie tour of the Ottawa ByWard Market, led by Paola St-Georges from C’est Bon Cooking.  As someone who spends most of their time in the rural areas surrounding Ottawa, it was great to explore downtown for a change. To read about the tour and all the great stores we visited, please visit the Local Tourist Ottawa blog, where I wrote an article located here.

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!

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”

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”

Niagara FAM Tour: Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

Wine at lunch

Our next tour stop was Ravine Vineyard, located in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Although it opened to the public only two years ago, Ravine Vineyard has it all: a beautiful setting, great wines (all organic), a historic building for wine tastings, and a deli and bakery that has gained a well-deserved following for its wood-fired, stone oven breads.

We started our tour in the Woodruff House, an 1802 heritage home where the main tasting room is located (along with several tasting rooms that can be booked for private events). The assistant winemaker, Shauna White, gave us an overview of the winemaking process and answered many questions from the group. Although relatively young, Shauna is a very experienced winemaker, having grown up around a family vineyard in B.C., and then working at wineries in France, Australia, New Zealand, and Oregon (not to mention graduating from the Winery and Viticulture Technician program at Niagara College). Throughout her talk, we enjoyed several different wines from the winery. Continue reading “Niagara FAM Tour: Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery”

Niagara FAM Tour: Flat Rock Cellars and El Gastronomo Vagabundo

Breakfast taco

Our first stop was Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan. Worth visiting for the vista alone, the winery overlooks the Twenty Mile Bench and affords spectacular views from all directions. The architecture of the buildings fits into the environment perfectly, which is not surprising considering Flat Rock’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

Flat Rock Cellars specializes in three types of wines: Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. They also have some Gewurztraminer, which they use in their very popular “Twisted” blend. We tried several of their wines, and they were all delicious. We were even able to taste some Pinot Noir straight from the barrel.

We also had our first food of the day: a “breakfast taco” filled with eggs, bacon, honey, tomatoes, and several other fresh, local ingredients. The food was prepared by Tamara Jensen and Adam Hynam-Smith, owners of a gourmet mobile food truck called “El Gastronomo Vagabundo”. This retro-fitted courier truck with a full commercial kitchen offers up globally-inspired street foods, such as tacos, tapas, and Southeast Asian dishes. The gourmet truck served food throughout the summer and fall at the winery, with diners eating on the Flat Rock Cellars Green Roof patio above the underground barrel cellar. Continue reading “Niagara FAM Tour: Flat Rock Cellars and El Gastronomo Vagabundo”

Hobbs Meats and Bakery in Ashton

Sales counter
Sales counter with tempting bakery items!

Now Closed

While driving home from Saunders Farm, I came across a great new farm-direct store. The Hobbs Family Meat and Bakery store is on Dwyer Hill Road in Ashton, just south of Stittsville. Specializing in Black Angus and Angus cross beef, the Hobbs family is the 4th generation to manage and operate this 200 year old farm. In mid-June, they opened a retail store on their property, and are selling meat from their farm, as well as home-made “Meals to Go” and baked goods. They also have a small cafe within the store, where you can enjoy a sandwich and a coffee. Continue reading “Hobbs Meats and Bakery in Ashton”

Saunders Farm

Spiral Maze
My sister and her family visited Ottawa this week from the Toronto area. Before she came, we discussed various agritourism attractions we could visit. One option was Saunders Farm, so I showed the kids the web site last weekend, and the advertising was a huge hit. So much so that when we arrived at the farm yesterday, my nephew said, “There are three things I want to do here. The pirate ship, the mazes, and THE ICE CREAM!!!!!” That picture of a big ice cream cone on the Saunders web site was probably the biggest lure for the kids. As someone in the marketing industry, I admire the Saunders family’s marketing savvy!
Saunders Farm is a full-day experience, and well worth the $13 entry fee ($50 for families of 2 adults and 2 children). There is so much to do: 11 mazes, a water spray zone, a pirate ship, a tree house play area, puppet shows, wagon rides, old log buildings, a gift shop, and more. The farm is laid out perfectly – parents can sit down on Adirondack chairs in the centre of all the fun, and watch their kids burn off all their excess energy! Or they can join in on the fun, especially in the mazes, which could entertain adults or older kids for hours. Continue reading “Saunders Farm”

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