Archive for October, 2010
In the last two months, I’ve been fortunate to visit several organic farms in the Eastern Ontario. Two farms have really stood out for me: Funny Duck Farms in Jasper (southeast of Smiths Falls) and Ferme Dagenais in Embrun (east of Ottawa).
The farms are similar in many ways. Both are organic and use biodynamic farming methods. Both are owned by families with a strong interest in herbs and natural healing methods. And both are centres of community education and the promotion of healthy living. Read the rest of this entry »
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! Read the rest of this entry »
I ran into an interesting ethical dilemma yesterday while doing research for my agritourism guidebook.
I had gone to visit an agritourism operation that is unique in the Ottawa region, maybe even in the world. It was an informative and enjoyable experience, one that I’m sure many tourists would enjoy.
But here’s the catch: while the owner appeared to be taking proper care of the animals that were the star attraction, he was abusing some other animals in his care. Most disturbingly, he was raising puppies in an absolutely filthy shed that had obviously not been cleaned in many days (I saw at least 11 large feces from the one mother dog, who was locked in the shed with her puppies). The smell of ammonia was overpowering and made my eyes water. The poor dog was staring out of the one window, begging for attention and to be let out. So sad. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »