Pick It

Pick-Your-Own Farms, Ottawa
Pick It

For those who love the idea of picking their own produce, don’t think that August has less to offer than June or July (especially with all the rain we’ve had). A little Savvy delving has turned up several farms around rural Ottawa where you can get down in the dirt and harvest your own fruits or vegetables right through August.

All of these farms recommend calling before you come, because crops and picking conditions depend greatly on a number of unpredictable variables (like the aforementioned weather).

With that caveat, here are some pick-your-own destinations for the dog days of summer:

Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch in Pembroke has 15 acres of blueberries with 17 different varieties that ripen at various times of the season, which runs throughout the month of August. There is a designated blueberry picking area for people with handicaps or in wheelchairs. Check out the country gift shop, or relax after a tough day in the fields with a scoop of blueberry frozen yogourt from the ice cream parlour.

The blueberry season is, of course, the same at Canaan Blueberries east of Ottawa in Sarsfield, between Cumberland and Rockland. This farm grows four varieties: Blueray, Patriot, Bluecrop and Northland. There are also 15 bee hives, and fresh honey is usually available at the start of the blueberry picking season. Both blueberries and honey are sold by weight at market prices.

Dekok Family Berry Farm gets the award for being closest to the city. The farm may still have some raspberries left to pick in early August, and apples may begin to be ready by the end of the month. There are play structures for kids and a variety of farm animals they can check out, including goats, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys. On your way out, stock up on some of the produce they pick for you, including tomatoes, corn or potatoes. There are also home-made preserves, jams and honey.

McGregor’s Produce in Braeside, about 45 minutes from Ottawa, has pick-your-own cucumbers for those who like to make pickles. Call ahead to arrange your picking session. You can also buy (but not pick) squash, zucchini, beets, corn and tomatoes while you’re there.

For something completely different, The Herb Garden in Almonte lets you pick your own culinary herbs. Choose from basil, thyme, mint, chives, rosemary, tarragon and parsley. Children are welcome—the farm has a playground and a friendly, soccer-loving dog. No appointments are necessary, but it’s wise to call ahead to ask what’s plentiful if you have a specific herb in mind. If you can get away from the kids for a couple of hours on August 30, the owner is offering a 90-minute presentation on harvesting your herbs.

Any parent will agree that kids like to pick. This time let them get their hands dirty (in the mud) and take home something healthy.

Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch www.blueberryranch.ca (613) 638-1288 2139 Greenwood Road Pembroke, ONMcGregor’s Produce www.mcgregorsproduce.com (613) 432-2754 351 Lochwinnoch Road Braeside, ON
Canaan Blueberries www.bluberry.ca (613) 833-2069 2351 Canaan Road Sarsfield, ONThe Herb Garden herbs@herbgarden.on.ca (613) 256-0228 3840 Old Almonte Road Almonte, ON
Dekok Family Berry Farm www.dekokberryfarm.com (613) 592-3779 1070 March Road Kanata, ON

PS…speaking of food, stay tuned for the next edition of EatSavvy this Saturday morning coming straight to your inbox!

Tested by Patti R., Ottawa
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First published 2008.08.14

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