People and Places

Pioneer historical farm opens farmers market in Barrhaven/West Nepean

Many people know The Log Farm for its popular sugar bush. But the Orr family, which recently took over the historical farm site, wants residents to stop by all year ’round. Their first major step towards that goal has been the launch of a mid-sized farmers’ market.

It’s a fascinating plan because, although the market is situated within the Greenbelt, it’s also located just minutes from Barrhaven, as well as the busy Hunt Club-416 intersection. The Orrs hope that that proximity will lead to regular visits from hundreds of nearby residents who previously trekked to Carp or Lansdowne to shop for farm fare.

The Log Farm Farmers Market, which launched on Saturday, May 13, features about 30 vendors each week and runs 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. every Saturday until the end of October.

City Bites Insider caught up with Larry Orr — who runs the Log Farm, along with his wife, son, and son’s family — to here more about the city’s newest farmers market.

The Farm Shop at the edge of where the farmers market is set up sells maple syrup, handicrafts, and tickets to tour the larger farm property
The Farm Shop at the edge of where the farmers market is set up sells maple syrup, handicrafts, and tickets to tour the larger farm property

How did you come up with the idea to run a farmers market at The Log Farm?

When we took over the farm last year, we were looking for things to add to the sugar bush operation. My wife and I have been involved with the North Gower Farmers Market for the past 15 years, so we knew quite a bit about farmers markets — we knew that Barrhaven and West Nepean are underserviced.

So The Log Farm is convenient to a large base of residents and has a great setting.

That’s it. Within 10-15 minutes of the farm, there’s a large population. And we’re very handy to get to, sitting right at Cedarview and so close to Hunt Club at the 416.

How did you get all the farmers on board?

We reached out to people we already knew. We also did research on the farmers and producers in the area and sent out some queries. We obviously want some big producers who will always be here to supply veggies and bread and meat, but we also want to bring in local people doing interesting things on a smaller scale. So, for instance, there’s a guy from Eganville who does wild boar and a beef farmer from Ashton and some local bakers doing unique things. (A partial list of vendors is available on the website.)

How was your opening weekend?

It was great, except for the weather! We had a really good turnout and the people who showed up were really excited about what we’re doing. Our goal is to have at least 4-5 rotating vendors each weekend [until the end of October]. People can expect at least 15-20 set vendors, but will know that there will always be surprises — small vendors who will pop in and out depending on when they have product and manpower.

Any rules to join your market?

They’re simple. You have to grow it or make it yourself. We are a true farmers market.

Part of what we want to celebrate is the history of farmers markets. Historically these markets weren’t just about the produce — farm families often sold handmade products made in the household. So we have an artisan who will be joining us for about 10 markets who makes traditional rag dolls similar to those the pioneers would have made for the children. Because The Log Farm is a pioneer historical site we want to make those connections.

The Log Farm, which is a pioneer historical site and has been known for its sugar bush for years, has now launched an ambitious farmers market
The Log Farm, which is a pioneer historical site and has been known for its sugar bush for years, has now launched an ambitious farmers market

So you want people to see this as more than just a farmers market.

Exactly. You can definitely just shop at the market and leave, but you can also make a longer visit to The Log Farm. The farm is open every weekend [9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $5.50 per person] and we have turned it back into a functioning farm so there are all kinds of animals, from ducks and chickens to pigs and horses and lambs. We’re following the seasons and showing how a family would have lived in the 1860s, but also how a small family farm might function today.

Because you are a family that’s running The Log Farm.

Yes, it’s me and my wife and my son and his wife and their three girls. We want to show what a small farm looks like. This is 100 acres. You don’t see small farms like this anymore. So you’ll see the animals, but we’ll also try to follow the plantings that a small family farm would have had to go through.

There’s someone onsite to give tours and we’ve got picnic tables around the farm so you can bring a picnic and stay for a few hours. There are a few walking trails, one of which leads to a duck pond. So it’s just a really nice place to spend some time in nature. You can also go up to the sugar bush.

Are you hoping people will buy picnic ingredients at the farmers market, then head out to your farm to enjoy it?

Actually, one of the things on my to-do list is to work with a couple of vendors to put together picnic baskets that people can buy and take out to the farm for lunch.

Do you have any summer events planned beyond the market?

We definitely will. Since it’s our first year, we’ll keep it low-key. The farm has a summer kitchen and all of the outbuildings, but also a carpentry shop. So we’ve got local woodworkers who want to do demos out of the carpentry shop and the spinners and weavers guild will be by. This is a 20-year project, so this will evolve with time as we see what the community wants.