Farm & Food Care Ontario is a non-profit coalition representing Ontario farmers and associated businesses. For several years, Farm & Food Care has offered opportunities to Ottawa food influencers, authors, chefs and local foodies to learn about local agriculture via excellent farm tours.
Several Ottawa HEA members were aboard the bus again, this year. Sharing local ag-education is the goal. Annie Woo, P.H.Ec. reports on the Farm & Food Care Media Tour - Oct. 11, 2018
Our first stop was at the Grenier/Bourdon Family Poultry Farm - St. Isidore. The barn we visited could house 27,000 chickens. The chicks were 14 days old, brought in from a hatchery in Quebec. Chicks stay in the climatically controlled barn with air flow, relative humidity and computerized temperature control for 40 days. The farm has two barns. Once the birds leave the barn, barns are cleaned and sanitized and left empty for 2 weeks to ensure that all contaminants are eliminated. Gabriel Grenier and his wife Nathalie Bourdon-Grenier allowed us to enter the barns; we had to suit-up in white Tyvek bio-suits. (I skipped the visit inside since I have a bird phobia).
Gail Nevraumont adds that, ‘Canadians eat an average of 33 kilos of chicken per person / year. We had a lovely locally-sourced buffet lunch at Fermi Drouin which consisted of: All Ontario Salad, St. Albert Cheese Platter, and Deviled Egg Platter, Roasted Pumpkin & Vegetable Soup, Stuff Chicken a la Grecque (stuffed chicken with goat cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic glaze) Beef Bourguignon with garlic/pesto roasted mini potatoes; and caramelized corn-on-the-cob with sage and onion. Homemade Beaver tails with local goat's ice cream (vanilla, maple and blueberry), and homemade toppings: (puree pumpkin, salted caramel, apple pieces, raspberry puree, etc.) Sparkling Apple Cider, Fruit/Herb infused water, tea/coffee After lunch, we visited Avonmore Berry Farm where apples, strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins, Brussel sprouts, kale, cucumber, asparagus, beans, white and sweet potatoes, zucchini, sweet corn, squash, garlic, peppers, beans, pickling cucumbers, kale, are grown – all on 300 acres.
We toured the fields with owners David and Pam Phillips (both Kemptville College grads) along with one of their sons and one of their dogs. We tasted a late strawberry variety directly off the vine (Imagine in October!) and next year's raspberries straight from the bush. I had difficulty breaking the Brussel sprouts off the plants. I definitely don't have the muscle to work on a farm. I loaded up on Honey Crisp apples, cooking pumpkin, garlic, giant tea biscuits, and pumpkin pie at the Pantry. By Annie Woo, P.H.Ec.
“By supporting local food, you support farmers, the environment and stronger communities.” Farm & Food Care.