Local Veggies [General]

2008 Aug 14
Hi everyone:

Does anyone get a veggie delivery in Ottawa? I am sure there are a few farms which provide this service, however I am not aware of the options. Any opinions on who is best?

Secondly, anyone know of any gardening co-ops? (ie: you can rent some space to have a proper garden) I have seen some empty lots that have been temporarily converted around town, but is their a dedicated spot where you can set up shop for a whole season?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

2008 Aug 14
Tracinho - Can't help you with the Veggie Delivery Farms (think Zym though uses such a service as well as some other Foodies). Afraid I'm a Farm Boy or local farmers' market kind of girl.

But, I did know where to look for the Garden Plot info, check out the Ottawa Community Garden Network at www.flora.org

2008 Aug 14
Tracinho I know Bryson Farms offered a delivery service - not sure if they still do - maybe some other Foodies would know? There is also Ottawa Organics: www.ottawaorganics.com and they deliver. You could also try Byward Fruit since they have an organics club but you have to pick up.

2008 Aug 14
Bryson is pretty much the only one that lets you opt in and out whenever you wish. If they deliver in your area, that is, and have room for another customer.

Most of the rest of them you have to subscribe in the spring so it's too late. I'm with www.saffirefarms.ca

2008 Aug 14
Byward Fruit Market has an organics club, which you have to buy into for 6 weeks at a time. After which, you can opt-out for a week here or there as you need to. Their stuff is pretty good.


2008 Aug 14
I subscribe to Bryson's delivery. They cover most of town (I am in Stittsville), but I know there are waiting lists, the farther west, the longer.

We really love it (2 adults and 1 toddler). We get a 2 person basket every week for $45. For that you get a little more than 2 plastic grocer bags full of produce. I would guess it is 10-15% more expensive than the chain grocer, but cheaper than the market. We eat fairly healthy with approximately 10 at home veggie servings each per week. There are enough veggies to cover this, and generally something piles up for a great big fridge cleaning stir fry every 2-3 weeks.

The produce is seasonal, with new items coming every 2-3 weeks, each lasting about 6-8 weeks, some a little longer. I would guess you get 10-12 different items each week. They have some greenhouses so you get salad greens all year.

Right now the tomatoes are coming like crazy, and we love them. Everything is organic (yawn) and from heirloom seeds (yum!). For example the tomatoes are green, yellow, orange, green-orange striped, fuzzy, etc. Carrots are white, sometimes purple. Soon the corn will come, and we are waiting with bated breath.

We were looking to break the veggie rut (not necessarily to jump on some organic bandwagon, I eat big macs and love hot dogs, so there!). The small price premium is worth the variety and the freshness. For the first 6 months or so we had to hit Wikipedia every Wednesday night to try and figure out what the heck came in this little plastic bag. In the end, we found "steam it for 4 minutes, add a little garlic, lemon juice, or romano" the right first-time recipe to try just about every unknown veggie.

If you are looking for a negative, some items start to become a little overwhelming when in peak season. Beets (not your grandma's beets), zucchini and carrots come to mind. But the 'net has all sorts of great pickling and soup recipes.

Also, one of the owners has some well documented legal troubles in Texas. I don't get involved in political stuff and won't comment on it.

2008 Aug 14
Oh, I mean't to add. We spend about $60 additional dollars at the chain grocer each week for fruits and veggies. Bryson's is not the delivery you want if you are looking for baby carrots, red bell peppers, and english cucumbers every week. We buy the "staples" at the Independent or the market when we can get out to Carp.

2008 Aug 14
We used Bryson a couple years ago and were thrilled with the tomatoes but were turned off by the never-ending supply of turnips, beets, and greenhouse microgreens that appeared in the fall. That's the price of truly local veggies in a northern climate! They no longer service my neighbourhood (Crystal Beach) so they aren't an option for us.

If you're willing to go non-local during off-season months, there are two other excellent choices available: Ottawa Organics (Ottawa Organics) and Life Organic (Life Organic). Both provide a good selection of fruits and veggies year round. We found Life Organic to provide a marginally superior selection and quantity for the price (both vendors offer a large basket for $45). On the other hand, Ottawa Organics is a more recent arrival on the scene and should be given some leeway for growing pains.

2008 Aug 15
Thanks for the feedback guys, sounds like I may be a bit late for this year...but I will consider the options you suggested and let you know what I go with.

Thanks again.

2008 Aug 15
When we were with Bryson maybe 4-5 years ago, there was often non-local stuff. Often stuff imported from California, South America and so on. Certainly where they are a year-round supplier (or were back then at least) that has to be expected. But it even happened in peak season.

2008 Aug 15
I am member of the Organics Club at the Bytown Fruit Market. I pickup a $20 basket of veggies and fruit once a week. I have found it pretty good and the variety is nice - keeps me out of ruts too. But its often not local. Anyway, if you are interested you find out more about it here:


2008 Aug 17
Zymurgist, I am surprised by your comment. Are you saying Bryson's used non-local produce? This is very odd as they claim everything is not only local but is grown only on their farm. They are not a co-op.

I haven't seen anything in the 18 months we have been with them to lead me to believe that anything did not come directly from them. Nor has the appearance of the "off-season" items suggested that they would have come from a commercial non-local farm. Do you have examples of this?

They have greenhouses in Shawville and the "off-season" items are grown there - as is evidenced by their limited quantities. Also, in the slower winter season you tend to get a few easily stored items like potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes, and carrots.

They offer a farm tour (and you can even help work for a day). I've never taken them up on it, but just might as your claim worries me.

2008 Aug 18
When we were with them 5 years ago or so they often have non-local stuff, and it was clearly labelled as such. It's not like they were trying to hide it or anything. I clearly recall stuff from the US as well as several South American countries. It could be that they don't do this anymore - you might consider just asking them.

2008 Aug 18
Thanks Zymurgist. I am pretty sure they've changed their business plan then.

2008 Aug 18
Seems a bit of a toss-up, depending how you read the Bryson website. ( www.brysonfarms.com/ )

From their web-site: "During the growing season, we only deliver the produce which we grow and inspect, so nothing we sell is re-sold or imported. Everything we sell is heirloom flavourful and fresh."

That comment says two things which are not compatible. It says 'nothing we sell is re-sold or imported', but that clause is within the qualifying preamble of 'During the growing season'. It could be clearer...