I’ve always been drawn to this building. The many times I have driven by, I want to stop and explore, yesterday was my chance, the season hasn’t started yet, so the parking lot was free of cars, and I had plenty of time to wander. The day was overcast, but to me, it made the whole place more attractive and compelling.
The Orleans Fruit Farm has an important link to the history in Ottawa of the francophone community. It was purchased in 1917 by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate the founders of one of the big Universities here (University of Ottawa) When it was purchased, they renamed it Ferme Saint-Joseph.
The root cellar was built in 1937 using stones recovered from the dairy barn that had been destroyed by fire. In the 1940’s the cultivated 325 Acres of land to provide food for their community, namely the U of O, Seminaire Saint Paul, l’ecole secondaire Saint jospeh and the Juniorat Sacre Coeur, in 1942 they had 90 Holstein dairy cows, 400 pigs and over 1000 chickens and by 1945 they had 750 productive fruit trees.
It is now owned by the National Capital Commission (NCC) it was purchased in 1968 and is now part of the National Capital Greenbelt. It is an operating farm, rented by a couple who have focused their business on apple production .. but also produce other fruits and veggies. It is an agriculture site that is well worth a visit. Once the season starts up where produce is available.. or plants from their greenhouses, the parking lot is full, and continues that way till the retail season ends,
With produces and meats that are always being examined and questioned, re. chemicals, hormones,fertilizers, pesticides used etc. a farm like this is even more attractive to those of us who watch what we eat, where it comes from is important, were animals free to roam, grass-fed??/???? A fresh carrot that is not perfect to look at, is just as good and nutritious as one that has been sized and shaped to perfection. Apples without layers of wax…
History does a place in the present, when it can teach us, or remind us of what is really important in life, and essential.