As a Realtor in Ottawa for more than three decades, I’ve worked regularly with home buyers who are new to the city and just starting to discover its attractions.

One of the things I love pointing out to clients is how easy and fast it is to get out of the city to farm or cottage country to enjoy some quiet time in nature.

We’re lucky to have excellent farmers’ markets in the city, including the Parkdale and ByWard Markets, where you’ll find fresh-from-the-farm produce, but many food lovers enjoy the chance to travel straight to the source and even pick their own.

From Ottawa, you can be at many farms within 30 minutes, whether it’s to sample fresh maple syrup in the spring or pick your own berries or apples in other seasons. The countryside drive to get there is part of the attraction.

With Halloween approaching, pumpkins are on the mind of many families. Some farms allow visitors to pick their own. Others offer family activities, including hayrides, mazes and Halloween-themed fun and haunted houses.

As a bonus at this time of year, farm visitors can also enjoy the spectacular fall colours along the way.

Here are a just a few farms a short drive from Ottawa. If you find a favourite, you can take note of the activities or harvests they offer for visits at other times of the year. Saunders Farm, for example, is also open through December for winter visits, a market and lighting displays:

Rideau Pines Farm: Established in 1980, this North Gower farm about 20 minutes south of Ottawa supplies fresh vegetables and fruit to many Ottawa restaurants and caterers, including Beckta and Thyme and Again. 

The farm offers pick-your-own produce throughout the seasons, including pumpkins and squash in fall. For those who don’t want to pick their own, the shop offers fresh pumpkins and seasonal produce as well as honey, syrups and sauces. www.rideaupinesfarm.com

Millers’ Farm, Market and Garden Centre: South of Manotick, about 35 minutes from Ottawa, this farm offers pick-your-own pumpkins. On weekends, wagon rides are offered to pumpkin patches.  Through late October, children can enjoy a corn maze.

Pick-your-own produce in other months includes strawberries in June and raspberries in July. The farm shop sells other farm produce, such as corn, carrots and tomatoes. It also sells preserves, maple syrup, locally-grown apples and pears from other producers and wild blueberries from Northern Ontario, in season. www.millersfarmandmarket.ca

Cannamore Orchard: Located in Crysler, about 35 minutes southeast of central Ottawa, this popular farm has offered pick-your-own strawberries, apples and pumpkins for four decades.

You can pick your own or choose pumpkins from the farm shop. The farm offers the smaller-sized pumpkins suited for pies and the larger ones better suited for carving. After Thanksgiving, visitors can pick pumpkins only on weekdays, because weekends are busy with the farm’s popular “Acres of Terror” Halloween activities.

The Halloween events include hay rides, haunted houses and fog-filled mazes, among other activities. Reserve early if interested, as the farm says the events often sell out as Halloween approaches.

If you want to pick your own pumpkins, the farm recommends bringing a small wagon or containers for carrying them from the patch.  The “pumpkin” section of the farm website has tips on caring for pumpkins and carving them safely for Halloween night. www.cannamoreorchard.com

Saunders Farm: About 30 minutes southwest of Ottawa in Munster, this 100-acre working farm has been a popular family attraction for more than three decades. While you can’t pick your own pumpkins here, visitors can purchase farm-fresh pumpkins in a range of sizes, and the farm has many activities for children.

These include play structures, several hedge mazes, puppet shows and hayrides. The farm sells produce, crafts and its own Saunders-brand ciders, including autumn-themed flavours like pumpkin pie and ginger spice.

Admission is by advance reservation only. www.saundersfarm.com

If you’re planning to buy or sell property in the Ottawa area,  I’d be happy to chat with you about the current resale market and conditions in your area of the city.

With more than 30 years of experience, I know the city and its neighbourhoods well, and have assisted and negotiated for clients in a wide range of market conditions. You can read more about me and the services we offer at www.nancybenson.com. Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747.