Ottawa’s first ‘U-Pick Tulip Farm’ opens during COVID-19 pandemic

OTTAWA — It will certainly be an opening to remember for the owner’s of Ottawa’s first “U-Pick Tulip Farm”—the debut season happening in the middle of COVID-19.

“We’ll give you a little bit of training how to pick the tulips and then you’ll just wander the field,” said Allan Groen who owns Green Corners Farm with his wife Manja Bastian.

The couple purchased the farm in Edwards, just east of downtown, two years ago.

“There’s all this land we thought ‘we’re kind of too young to retire, what can we do with it?’” recalled Groen.

A nod to their Dutch heritage, they decided on tulips… lots of them.

“All told we put about 160,000 tulips in the ground and we have a wide variety of colours,” said Groen.

“Word kind of got around that we were doing a garden here, particularly with some connections we made with the Canadian Tulip Festival, and through them we were able to make another connection to get the Liberation 75 tulips. So we have 110,000 approximately Liberation 75 tulips…and then we just happened to see on the Ritchie’s website that they were giving away their end of season tulips so we got another 30,000 from them.”

“We really wanted to share all the beauty of the tulips with people and so it’s been really exciting because this was a project we started in our heads in June last year and look what happened we have all these tulips now,” added Bastian.

Curbside pick up had been offered but now added health measures have been put in place so the public can still enjoy tulips at the farm and be safe.

“We set up a hand washing station if people would like to do that, we’ve also got timed tickets so we can kind of limit how many people are in the field,” said Groen. “When it’s time to wrap, we’ll give them instructions on how to do it but they can do it themselves and then when they leave we wash everything down then disinfect it.”

The $15 admission includes 10 tulips and there’s also a $5 child’s ticket. Curbside pickup is also available.

“We have the Liberation 75’s or we can just do what we call a grower’s choice for you of whatever is blooming that day.”

For anyone visiting the farm, Bastian encourages people to “wear sturdy shoes because we are a working farm which means the ground is uneven.”