When you think of rural you think of farms, cows and rows upon rows of corn stocks. Little have we thought about what those farms do for us, and what more they are starting to do for us.
Ottawa, to my amazement is 90% rural with over 1300 hundred farms. And these aren’t just farms that grow our food. Rural Ottawa is in the process of change and they want you to join.
You can still do the classic farm activities in the summer like heading out to pick your favourite berries from straight off the plant. But now there is so much more. You can dine on food made with ingredients that you can see growing outside the window, you can take a break from the city and have a yoga retreat on a farm and you can find intimate areas in the lush greenery to celebrate your next big event.
Let me show you what rural Ottawa has to offer and you’ll be openly welcomed from the city to the charming small towns and farm fields at these innovative spots in the Rideau-Goulbourn area. This area encompasses communities such as Manotick, Richmond, North Gower, Munster, Kars, Fallowfield, Ashton, Burritts Rapids and area west and south of Stittsville.
Chances are you’ve heard of this place before. For years they told visitors that it was a venue only for weddings, parties and meetings. But now they’re welcoming the public. The charming old buildings that decorate the property are still used for events but new facilities bring in the locals.
The Retreat & Spa is made for the perfect night’s getaway where you can indulge in yoga classes, get pampered at the spa and relax by the fire. Detoxes are available but you can also enjoy a retreat with your favourite alcoholic beverages.
The best thing yet? You can try all of the sweets and savoury dishes at the Retreat Cafe where you’ll find healthy and energizing juices, VQA wines and craft better. What’s even more special is that so many of their ingredients are grown right on site. Now that’s a true farm to table experience.
Rideau Pines Farm
Get ready to pick those strawberries, dig up potatoes and find yourself some spicy peppers. You read that right, spicy peppers. Rideau Pine Farm grows just about everything you can on Ontario soil. The family owned farm works closely with multiple chefs who deliver an exceptional farm to table experience. As chefs create new dishes they request sometimes unusual ingredients or different plants (think edible flowers). Rideau Pine Farm grows those ingredients for them and that’s how they managed to get so many different kinds of plants.
And you can go and pick them! You’ll be guaranteed fresh ingredients straight from the source.
Plus if you’re looking for a place to hold an event you must check out the setup that they have. Nestled between the trees is a cabin that was built from fallen trees and a food truck was brought it to create the ultimate location for festivities in nature.
Jabulani Vineyard and Winery
Bet you weren’t expecting this one! Who knew that Ottawa has four wineries?! Ottawa is the coldest climate in the Western Hemisphere for growing wine, but it can be done. This winery is owned and run by a man from South Africa who named it Jabulani which means rejoice in the South African language Zulu.
You can pop in here for some wine tastings and pairings and get to know a little more about wine in Ottawa. You can also take a stroll around the grounds and find a beautiful backdrop for pictures in front of the vines.
Not far from Jabulani Vineyard and Winery is Anderson Farm that specializes in all natural beef and lamb and let me vouch for them and tell you that it is good. The family is a century farm and has been in the family for 5 generations, where much hasn’t changed in their process of making good meat.
I don’t know about you but local, natural and family run farms always seem to have the best food. They also support local businesses and sell other products like maple syurp, honey, pickles, sauces and condiments, jams and jellies and baked goods.
Take a day or a weekend away from the city. There is so much more to explore in Ottawa outside of the downtown core and suburbs. Drive around to these farms and you won’t leave disappointed but instead with a full belly and more relaxed.
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This article was written in collaboration with Ottawa Tourism as a part of the Secret Eats tours held for Canada 150. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own!