Posts Tagged ‘food markets’

Celebrating Ottawa’s summer harvest: farmers’ markets, food festivals, gourmet tours and picnic pop-up’s

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Photo by Lorna Rande (Flickr)

Besides hot weather and non-stop music festivals, summer in Ottawa means an explosion of local produce and food celebrations across the city. Visit farmers’ markets for just-picked fruit and veggies. Dine at open-air picnics where Ottawa’s chefs prepare dishes using fresh local ingredients. Tour regional farms and food artisans. Learn to forage for wild edibles.

Not only will you enjoy the best food Ottawa has to offer, you’ll help support the local food economy and learn more about how the region feeds itself. Here’s a taste of what’s coming up over the next six weeks.

Harvest events

Partnering with local farmers, some of the Ottawa region’s finest chefs prepare unique dishes from seasonal local ingredients for family-style dining. Participating restaurants include Beckta Dining and WineCourtyard RestaurantFairmont Château Laurier and Thyme and Again Creative Catering, among others.

Tickets start at $75/person and are available at Event Brite and the Ottawa Farmers Market. VIP tickets ($90) cover cocktails and appetizers, and a tour of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market by C’est Bon Cooking.

  • Harvest Noir Secret Picnic, September 7, 5 p.m.

Described by media as a game-changer when it burst on the Ottawa scene a few years ago, the Harvest Noir Secret Picnic is a pop-up foodie and social happening whose location is announced at the last minute. In the past, as many as 1,500 people have attended to celebrate local food and farms, strut their stuff in black vintage clothing, dance, and enjoy the spectacle of flash mobs and a pop-up parade.  The event is modeled on similar picnics in Europe, New York City and Montréal.

Tickets range from about $37 to $57 and can be ordered online. 

Food markets 

  • Farmers’ markets

In full swing right now, many will remain open until October/November. Others, such as the Byward Market and the Savour Ottawa Parkdale Field House, are open year-round. Check here for a full list of urban and village markets in the Ottawa region. For tips on how to shop smarter at the farmers’ market, read my May post.

  • Good Food Markets, summer

These community non-profits sell good quality, affordably priced fruits, vegetables and dried goods in neighbourhoods that don’t have farmers’ markets or food stores nearby.  For information about dates and locations, go to www.facebook.com/OttawaGoodFoodMarkets or contact Kaitrin Doll at kaitrin.doll@ofcrc.org

Food festivals 

The herbfest is geared to gardeners, foodies, environmentalists, families, artists and entrepreneurs who are interested in healthy living alternatives. Highlights will include live music, local food producers and a chef cook-off, hosted by Debbie Trenholm of The Savvy Company. Buy tickets in advance ($4 per person/$12 per family) or at the gate.

  • Garlic festivals, August 10-11, Carp and Perth

Sample different types of garlic from a variety of producers, see cooking demonstrations and check out other food vendors and artisans at the Carp Garlic Festival or the Perth Lions Garlic Festival.

Tours and walks 

  • Wild garden plant walk, August 7, 17, 21

Learn how to identify, use, harvest, process and store safe, common wild plants. Walks are led by Amber Westfall, founder of The Wild Garden and a start-up farmer with Just Food. Tickets cost $20 for a single walk and $15 for multiple walks. Sign up online or contact Amber.

The day’s agenda includes trips to three organic farms: Arc Acres Farm (vegetables, beef and pork), Grazing Days Farm (beef) and vegetable farm Roots and Shoots (to be confirmed). Go to the COG website for more info or send an email to register.  Instead of admission fees, COG encourages donations to help support its educational programs.

  • Just Food’s 7th Annual Urban Agriculture Bike Tour, August 25

This relaxed-pace 12 km bike ride will take you to five of the city’s more than 30 community gardens where coordinators will share their garden experiences and answer questions. For more info or to sign up, send an email (cgnstudent@justfood.ca) or call Agathe Moreau at 613-699-6850 (x12). Tickets are $5 each. 

Get a taste of Ottawa’s varied culinary scene by visiting farmers’ markets, and chefs and food artisans in neighbourhoods such as Westboro, the Glebe, Hintonburg, Preston Street and rue Eddy. Tours start at $40 plus taxes.

What’s your favourite way to celebrate Ottawa’s summer harvest?