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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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Sugar Bush

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”

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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”

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”

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”

Blog News: OttawaStart, Local Tourist Ottawa, and Maple Sugar Season

My blog on the OttawaStart "very strongly recommended" list

I’m excited to report a couple recent developments pertaining to this blog. First, a big thanks to the OttawaStart blog, which named Agritourism Ottawa as one of its 30 “very strongly recommended” blogs about Ottawa. I am very honoured to have been put on the list! Thank you also to any new readers who followed the link from the OttawaStart blog. If you want to get updates through RSS or email, just click the Subscribe button on the left hand side.

Earlier in the week, OttawaStart also published its list of 26 “essential Ottawa blogs”, which represent the very best blogs in the region. This is where I learned about a recently launched blog called Local Tourist Ottawa, which features articles from local writers about places to explore in Ottawa. I contacted the blog coordinators to discuss contributing to their blog, and my first blog post is now in the works! I will post more here when the article is published, but I will say that the article includes news that will thrill organic food lovers, especially in the west end of Ottawa!

In other news, the maple syrup season is now starting (Fulton’s opens today!), so stay tuned for profiles of the best sugar bushes in the region.

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