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Foodies on farm tour

Ottawa area foodies – media, chefs, instructors and home economists – had a chance to get a first hand glimpse into food production and agriculture as they visited two local farms yesterday.

The tour was hosted jointly by AGCare and our sister group, the Ontario Farm Animal Council, and attracted about 20 participants.

First stop of the day was on the chicken farm of Gabriel and Natalie Grenier near St. Isadore ON where we donned special biosecurity gear – designed to keep us from bringing any disease into the barn – and had the chance to get up close and personal with 17,000 broiler chickens destined for KFC.

The lighting in the barn made it difficult to get a good shot of the birds, but here we are getting ready to enter the barn.

Following a terrific beef lunch in a lovely restaurant called Le Bourgetel in Bourget ON, we spent the rest of the afternoon at Rochon Gardens, a fruit and vegetable farm owned by Gerry and Diane Rochon of Edwards ON.

We saw a veritable bounty of the finest produce Ontario has to offer – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, mesclun mix (fancy lettuce mix) and beans, along with hanging baskets of all sorts.

The visit ended with a stop in the strawberry patch to sample the freshly ripened fruit.

The Rochons sell all of their crops directly to consumers at the Byward Market and six other farmers markets in Ottawa.

It makes for a busy season from March until the end of November, but the Rochons pride themselves on always being able to have something fresh, local and seasonal to offer shoppers.

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