Markets and Orchards and Farms, Oh My!
Most busy families create schedules and routines to coordinate all the demands of kids, work and school. Since our world changed last March, many have found schedules to be much less stressful because COVID-19 cancelled school, work and events. There were no hockey or dance practices, no birthday parties, no extracurricular anything, and no commutes.
Despite the fact that children may be experiencing a little social loneliness that cyber connections just can’t cure, they are relatively happy, enjoying the extra time they have to focus on some of their own hobbies and interests. Sometimes, however, they get a little bored and antsy and just need to get outside and ‘do something’. Usually, their parents are experiencing the same cabin fever – as it too is contagious – and so the keys are sought, the masks collected, and out the door to the car, in hopes of finding some excitement somewhere in Ottawa, that doesn’t involve the threat of hungry coyotes or human groups more than 10 ten people.
So try hitting the road with absolutely no plan in mind; Get on the 417, the central aorta of Ottawa, and pick a direction – North, South, East or West? It’s kinda like playing rock, paper scissors, except usually two people in the car say the same heading – and off you go. You can have many fun adventures by not planning where we will go – just going.
Once you have decided on a direction, have your passengers search for the attractions ahead. One of the really wonderful things about living in the Ottawa Valley is that there are more than 20 different farmer’s markets, rural and urban, available to us. A big list can be found online, but many are not yet listed and discovering them is part of the fun. You might end up at the Smyth’s Apple Orchard in Dundela, where the MacIntosh apple was first farmed or at Mountain Orchard in the Prescott-Russell area, where there are mazes and hay barns to play in. Have some fun picking apples while you are there and grab a Cornish pasty, a bar of fudge, or some hot apple cider to enjoy on the way home.
Check your local community newspaper if you would rather have a plan, but consider that you can get most of your grocery shopping done at these farmer’s markets and enjoy an outing with the family at the same time. Kids can fetch homemade jams of their choice, choose their favourite veggies for the week, or pick up their favourite fruit for lunches and dinners.
Getting local farm-fresh produce is definitely a great way to boost the local economy. Aside from markets, there are also many community shared farm projects too where you can pick up some fruits and veggies, such as Maple Hill Urban Farm on Moodie Drive, Just Food Farm, the Ottawa Food Bank Farm, Rochon gardens, and Beet Box Co-op Farm. If you are looking for ways to cut down on time spent outside shopping, another way to get your hands on these goodies is to sign up for weekly bins of produce with various CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) farms like Bryson’s, Foster Family Farm, Roots and Shoots, Riverglen, Aubin Farm, Our Farm CSA or by accessing local farmers through farmscore.ca.
So get out there this autumn and enjoy your grocery shopping experience with the family at local farms and markets. Creating new routines can be a lot of fun.
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