Good things grow in Ontario’s Highlands! From farm to table our growers and makers are crafting delicious artisan cheeses, meats, wines, ciders, beer, chocolates, and incorporating local ingredients into menus across the region.

In the Ottawa Valley, Akos Asare, owner of Re.Planted Farm, a small-scale, high-yield micro-urban farm in Deep River, is a big believer in supporting local food initiatives and sustainability. Akos is walking the talk when it comes to sustainability in urban and suburban spaces and loves sharing some of her favourite places to find local food and drink in the region.

This summer, be inspired by Akos’ list of must visits for local food and experience the abundance of the region from a local perspective. You won’t even need to wait for a long weekend to follow this leisurely two-night, three-day farm-to-table edible road trip. 

2-Night, 3-Day Farm to Table Road Trip

Start Here: Carleton Place

Carleton Place has burst onto the food and drink scene these days, and is home to award-winning and inspiring eateries and specialty producers. Bring your appetite – today is a good day to skip breakfast so you can savour it here.

Freska is a popular breakfast spot in Carleton Place – order one of their thick and hearty waffles.
• The trending and award-winning Black Tartan Kitchen is  a must-try while in Carleton Place. 
• This satellite location for The Carp Custom Creamery (founded in nearby Carp) has the same fabulous choices for ice cream and sorbet, all made from scratch. Order one of their milkshakes for an old fashioned, hot summer day treat. 
The Good Food Co. is a local favourite for locally-sourced menu items made from scratch. Head here for a homemade soup and sandwich to eat-in or take on the road or to a prime picnic spot.
• Speaking of prime picnic spots, head to Riverside Park to cop a squate beneath one of the towering maple trees here. 
• There are two breweries in town – check out Stalwart Brewing Co. and Braumeister Brewery, both found in the downtown core.

Carleton Place
Lanark County
From Toronto: 360km • 4 hr 30 min From Ottawa: 53km • 50 min

Park the car and still explore Carleton Place!  The Chamber of Commerce rents out bikes from its downtown office for $5 a day.  Call ahead and reserve to make sure one is available, and grab the free local cycling map to guide your trip.

Time Spent Here: You could spend the whole day here, but you will need to be on the road for your next stop by early afternoon to stay on track.

Next Stop: Almonte

Just 10 minutes from Carleton Place is the charming boutique community of Almonte, and they have plenty going on here in the food and drink scene, including some award-winning destinations. With the mighty Mississippi River as your backdrop, every bite will taste extra good.

• A must visit is Dairy Distillery, where they are producing alcohol from dairy permeate. Try one of their cream liqueurs for something new (and sustainable).
• The award-winning Hummingbird Chocolate Maker is another must in Almonte. They source their cacao beans from sustainable growers all over the world, and use them to make their delicious bean to bar chocolates.
The Sterling is a new and trending casual fine dining restaurant in downtown Almonte whose seasonally changing menus are sourced from local vendors, and small craft beers and wine from independent vineyards.
• The European-style bodega North Market's menu makes out of this world sandwiches with a European twist. Check out their bottle shop for unique ciders and craft beers.
• Stop and have a chat with the life-sized bronze statue of Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball while you munch.

Lanark County
From Toronto: 360km • 4 hr 30 min From Ottawa: 52km • 50 min

Dr. James Naismith, the founder of basketball, was born in Almonte, where the original homestead still stands today.  Visit the Dr. James Naismith memorial statue on Mill Street, and get your picture taken with this Canadian legend.

Time Spent Here: Plan on at least two hours here.

Next Stop: Pakenham

Are you full yet? We hope not because there is more yet to come in this cute small town between Almonte and Arnprior.

• Visit Cartwright Springs Brewery, just a few minutes outside of the village, and see what craft beer tastes like when made from sweet tasting artesian spring water.
1840s General Store can be your go-to for local products and when you're craving a made-from-scratch baked goods. 
• Looking for gluten-free options? 3 Apples Bakery is a new gluten-free bakery where they specialize in sourdough bread and baked goods that taste as good (or better) than those made with gluten. (Note they are only open Friday to Sunday).
Keepers Coffee Bar makes really good coffee and dishes up locally made baked goods (with gluten). 
• Get some of your edibles to go and sit in one of the picnic tables at the Five Span Park overlooking the Mississisppi River and the historic Five Span Bridge.
• Keep your eyes open for farm stands in and around this area to pick up some fresh from the farm goodness as you travel.
• Visit Fulton’s Sugar Bush & Maple Shop before leaving the Pakenham area and pick up some of their maple syrup (check ahead for hours for the maple shop).

Lanark County
From Toronto: 377km • 4 hr 40 min From Ottawa: 59km • 50 min

Cartwright Springs Brewery takes locally-made to a whole new level, using natural water from an artesian spring located on the property, just 15 metres away.

Time Spent Here: Plan on an hour to an hour and a half here.

Next Stop: Calabogie Rustic Farm & Market

This local market is one of your last stops for the night so make sure you stock up on fresh from the farm local goodness. As you pass through Calabogie, feel free to explore a bit.

• Hit up Calabogie Rustic Farm & Market on your way out of town and check out their selection of locally produced and raised meats, cheeses, eggs, and veggies.
• If you are planning a picnic lunch, this would be a great place to stock up on some fresh, seasonal produce and dry goods. 
• Chat with the owners about what got them interested in community supported agriculture and supporting small farmers.
• On your way through Calabogie, stop at Calabogie Brewing Co. to pick up great artisan beer – we recommend their Portage Pilsner for a refreshing brew.

Ottawa Valley
From Toronto: 372km • 4 hr 40 min From Ottawa: 102km • 1 hr 15 min

Referred to as 'the funnest small town in Canada' by CBC's comedy series, Still Standing, Calabogie more than lives up to the name.  From indoor activities like restaurant hopping, to outdoor adventure in watersports, backwoods play, and skiing Ontario's vertical drop at Calabogie Peaks, there's plenty of fun to be had at this outdoor paradise.

Time Spent Here: You can linger as you need at the market or in Calabogie proper but make sure you arrive at your final destination in time for dinner.

End Your Day: Ottawa Valley Farm to Fork

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to live off the land, Ottawa Valley Farm to Fork can help. These small farmers create gourmet foods from ingredients grown on their property (think organic pierogi or grass-fed beef sausage rolls). They also operate an accommodation option that sleeps up to six people and are a great place to spend the night. Waken with the birds and try out being a farm hand for a day. Pro tip: Pack a pair of old jeans and long sleeve shirt to do the “farm chores.”

• Check out the farm and ask how you can help out! These folks offer a “Farmer for a Day” option as well, and you can even learn to milk a goat. Check their website for booking details.
• Check in with Brooker’s Cider and see if they are doing tastings or are open for sales so you can plan when you will make a trip out there.
• Book a dinner picnic in the pasture (or in your accommodation) using the ingredients you brought from Calabogie Rustic Farm or a farm-fresh meal from the farm. 
• Crack open a beer and sit outdoors and bask in the quiet and fresh air.

Time Spent Here: Try and get to the farm at least a couple of hours before dark so you have enough time to explore.

Start Here: Ottawa Valley Farm to Fork

Waken with the birds (or roosters!) to an old fashioned farm-to-table breakfast made with fresh eggs at Ottawa Valley Farm to Fork. If you planned your journey to coincide with the weekend then today could be market day for you – visit one of the farmers’ markets (a few notables are the Cobden, Pembroke, and Deep River markets, to name a few) as you head deeper into the Ottawa Valley. 

Next Stop: Arnprior

You can’t travel through the Ottawa Valley without spending some time in the ‘Prior. This town is fast growing which means their food and drink experiences are growing, too. Situated on the outskirts of some prime farmland, you can expect to encounter some excellent farm-to-table goodies here. 

• Plan your lunch to include a stop at the Feast On certified gastropub, Lumbertown Ale House, in Arnprior. These folks are committed to including local ingredients in their menus and you’ll love the farm-to-plate experience. 
• Stop at Farmgate Cider for a farm tour of their cidery. Visit their website to book a tour and tasting in advance. We recommend one of their still or estate ciders, made with apples right from their farm. 

Ottawa Valley
From Toronto: 400km • 4 hr 35 min From Ottawa: 65km • 52 min

Historically known as a lumbertown due to its towering white pines, you can explore a small piece of this history in the old growth forest at Gillies Grove, including a 47-metre behemoth that was officially recognized as Ontario's Tallest Tree.

Time Spent Here: Don’t dally here for too long to make sure you have time to squeeze everything in before you end your day in Deep River.

Next Stop: Pembroke

The drive from Arnprior to Pembroke takes you through some of the most beautiful spots in the Ottawa Valley, and the Ottawa River to accompanies you along the way. Take some time to explore Pembroke’s food and drink scene before heading on to your last stop of the day.

• Local is at the heart of Ullrich's, a German-inspired deli where you can find products from area producers and processors to get a true flavour of the region, from a German perspective. 
Courtyard Bistro’s outdoor patio will make you feel like you are dining in a forest setting. Ask what they have on the menu that's locally sourced (hint, their soups are delicious).
• If you have time, connect with the owner of Mapleside Sugarbush, Ray Bonenberg, to see if you can swing past for a tour (and to pick up maple syrup straight from the valley).
• For authentic Mexican fare, visit Nomada Tacos, in downtown Pembroke.

Ottawa Valley
From Toronto: 387km • 4 hr 50 min From Ottawa: 145km • 1 hr 45 min

Stroll the Pembroke's downtown and take in 30 historic murals celebrating the history and character of the city, from steam engines to logging.  Pembroke has more murals than almost any city in Canada.

Time Spent Here: Plan for one to two hours in Pembroke.

Next Stop: Deep River

The small community of Deep River is known for its fabulous sand beaches and community spirit. This is your last destination before reaching your accommodation, so feel free to take some time to walk along the waterfront and watch the boats travel along the Ottawa River. 

• Book a workshop at Re.Planted Farm in Deep River and learn all about micro-urban farming, flower arranging, and more from Akos Asare. 
• During Farms Open in September you can do a farm tour at Ottawa Valley Food Co-op to get a behind-the-scenes perspective on farming in Eastern Ontario. 
• Visit Hexagon at the tennis club where you can try dishes made with ingredients from Re.Planted Farm.

Deep River
Ottawa Valley
From Toronto: 420km • 5 hr 15 min From Ottawa: 190km • 2 hr 10 min

Deep River is located on a section of the Ottawa River referred to as "La Riviere Creuse' by 17th-century French explorers.  This section of the river is 75 metres deep at it's deepest point. Today, the clear water, beautiful beaches, and great multi-use travels are just a few of the attractions that visitors and locals love about Deep River.

Time Spent Here: Make sure you leave in time to reach Anupaya Cabin Co., where you will be spending the night, before the sun sets. 

Last Stop: Anupaya Cabin Co.

Your last stop of the day is at the minimalist and sustainably-minded Anupaya Cabin Co., located on the shores of the Ottawa River. When you stay at Anupaya you are supporting their permaculture farm dedicated to regenerative agriculture, and to sweeten the experience, every cabin here has phenomenal views of the 1,200-foot white sand beach.

• Watch the sun set from their pristine white sand beach while sipping cider or beer from your journey today. 
• Anupaya’s on-site garden is open for guests to graze from for garden-fresh fare still warm from the sun. 
• Visit with their Nigerian Dwarf goats or their hens which deliver the farm’s eggs each day.