Dining alfresco on local farms

Wow I had no idea this was going on in our area?! I think its a fantastic idea!

Ottawa Citizen

About 35 years ago, Saunders Farm, near Stittsville, like several others around Ottawa, was a booming pick-your-own destination for strawberries.

“It was fantastic through the ’80s,” says Angela Grant Saunders. Families flocked to farms to sample the first sweet fruits of summer, plucked fresh from the plants.

“Then, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, stores started getting strawberries from Chile and California, year-round,” Angela says. “I remember sitting in high school and seeing a girl with a strawberry in February and saying ‘where did you get that?’ ”

Suddenly, local strawberries were not so exciting. Saunders Farm was forced to diversify, becoming a destination for Halloween activities, getting lost in mazes and having weddings. Instead of identifying himself as a farmer, Mark Saunders, who with his wife Angela took over the farm from his parents, now calls himself “Director of Fun.” No strawberries have been grown at Saunders for nearly a…

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