Strawberry Fools Forever

Strawberry Picking in Ottawa
Strawberry Fools Forever

We have it on good authority that local strawberries are going to be a little late this year, but we’re okay with that. It gives us more time to plan one of our favourite outings—to the ‘U-pick’ strawberry farm. Picking strawberries off the bush for an hour in the afternoon makes a sweet little family outing and is a great way to show our kids where food comes from (and it’s not a plastic container).

An informal poll of Ottawa Savvies revealed some fave destinations include Cedar Hill Berry Farm (followed by ice-cream at Scoops in Pakenham), Rideau Pines Farm, and Dekok Family Berry Farm. We like the Dekok email subscription service—we’ll never miss another berry season again!

But one of our all time faves for strawberries is Richmond Nursery Strawberry Farm. It’s a quick drive from Kanata, and it’s a no-fuss no muss solution. Just don’t expect any pony rides or ferris wheels here. It’s strictly about the berries.

You can park near the entrance and walk (we do this because it makes the experience feel a little more legit) or drive your car and park closer to the pickings. If you’re really pressed for time you can always buy baskets of fruit at the front and pay for someone else’s labour, but where’s the fun in that?

If you’re wondering whether or not your farm of choice practices natural or organic pest and weed control don’t be shy about asking. At Proulx Farm, for example, the harvest isn’t organic but they have been using ‘‘eco-sensible’’ methods for the past 15 years. Weeding is done by hand, plastic covers are biodegradable, they irrigate with a drip system, and they use bugs to control bugs for some of their crops.

Good To Know

  • Bring cash. Some local farms and roadside stands don’t accept plastic.
  • Call ahead for updated conditions, especially at the beginning and end of the season (which runs until mid-July).
  • Wear a hat, closed-toe footwear, and sunscreen. Bring water. The open fields can get very hot on sunny days.

For the Berry Best Results

  • Consider sharing a basket between multiple people. It cuts down on the competition and reduces the risk that you walk away with more berries than you had intended to buy. (Although that might not such a bad thing.)
  • Rinse fruit just prior to using and dry immediately or the fruit will absorb the water and lose some of its sweetness. Remove the stems after rinsing and drying.
  • Freeze berries individually on a cookie sheet then put in freezer bags for future use in smoothies, pies, or homemade ice cream.
  • Strawberries have a “counter life” of four to six hours so bring a cooler if you’re going to be in the car for a long time. Their “fridge life” is three or four days.

The sun brings out the natural sugars in strawberries so lets cross our fingers and hope for more sunshine. That’s finger-pickin’ good.

How to Find

Richmond Nursery Strawberry Farm
5740 Richmond Road (corner of Richmond and Fallowfield Road)

Proulx Sugarbush & Berry Farm
1865 O’Toole Rd. Cumberland

Find More on Sharesavvy

Miller’s Berry Farm
Dekok Berry Farm

Tested by Andrea T., Loukia Z., Ottawa
Tagged under ottawa, kids, fruit, sweet
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First published 2009.06.18

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