It all began with a simple documentary called Food Inc. It’s about corporate farming in the United States, and the idea that agribusiness produces food that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees. If you’re eating meat that isn’t locally raised, it’s essentially losing nutritional value throughout its trek, and the by-products of that travel are having a very negative impact on the environment. Plus, the resources used to raise, feed, and slaughter the animals do this as well.
Realizing this made me want to try local meat consumption in addition to what I’ve already been doing with fruits, vegetables, and other products. So began the hunt for the best locally raised meat experience in the area.
That’s how I found the Mariposa Duck and Goose Farm. Living in the city or an urban area, there just aren’t any farms close by. Located 45 minutes east of Ottawa in Plantagenet, it isn’t a super close location, but as you’ll come to find out, it is definitely worth the drive. Soon enough my main squeeze Jeff and I found ourselves speeding off to the renowned Mariposa lunch that happens every Sunday from 11:00am to 1:00pm.
Since 1980, Mariposa Farm has specialized in the production and marketing of Barbarie ducks, Embden geese and crossbred pigs. They also grow vegetables, and are quick to ensure that everything is produced with chemical-free products and that they practice sustainable agriculture.
Managed by Ian Walker and Suzanne Lavoie, it’s apparent just by observation that there is a lot invested in this business – they display a phenomenal work ethic and close attentiveness to their customers. Plus, the lunch is going on it’s 15th year, so they must be doing something right!
How it works
Mariposa is the only farm in the surrounding area that offers such a unique country-style Sunday lunch. The magic happens in an old barn which has been transformed into a quaint dining room with a panoramic view of the rolling countryside.
A warm bonfire is there to greet you as you meander indoors, where the dishes are laid out on the counter of the rustic farm kitchen as examples for you to choose: a choice between three entrées (where foie gras is always on the menu), three main courses (always duck or goose on the menu) and a choice between two desserts or a cheese plate.
After being seated, home-baked bread was brought to us, as well as water, but not your usual tap or sparkling – here it’s water right from the well. The table d’hote (the only lunch on offer at $45/person) began with a hearty lentil + bacon soup and the Chef’s Salad (Jeff and I always choose differently so we can share). The salad was refreshing and lively, with apple slices, a delectable hint of mustard, and with plenty of bacon pieces of course. Jeff couldn’t stop going on about it. He was just oozing compliments: how the salad alone was worth the drive, and it was the best salad he’s had in a while. They certainly do meat well, but we discovered that it isn’t solely what this place is all about.
The mains consisted of a succulent bison flank steak and a pleasant homemade pasta dish (pork ragout & ricotta cavatelli). And finally, dessert arrived – a perfect buttermilk panacotta with raspberry and peach along with a sable cookie.
Our goal is a small step to becoming healthier by eating meat that is locally produced. I’m well aware that the term local doesn’t necessarily provide any indication of freshness, nutritional value, or production practices, so that’s just precisely the reason why we embarked on this journey: to check it out for you. It’s a direct-to-consumer deal, meaning all middle men are cut out, so they sell directly to local restaurants and have a presence at farmers’ markets. Therefore we’ve got sustainability, food safety, health, and nutrition, and the support of local farms and farmland. By trying to improve our own health, we are contributing, if even just a little bit, to improving so much more on this planet.
Check out all they have to offer here.