A small but hardy group of local Citroën owners gathered in Osgoode Ontario on Saturday June 8, 2013, under threatening but improving skies.
The group included three 2CVs, two DSs and one SM, along with 12 people. We were happy to welcome new members Isabelle and Dennis, with their 2CV Charleston.
The convoy headed out from Osgood for the short drive to the SunTech Greenhouses. We parked together in the parking area, and then were greeted in the company store by our enthusiastic guide. After cleaning our footwear, to ensure we did not import and contaminants, we entered the impressively extensive greenhouses. To our amazement, the greenhouses cover around 4 acres (2 hectares)!
Our guide explained the various growing methods that are used at SunTech. We marveled at tomato vines that grow to 40 feet (12 metres) in length, without any soil. The methods are hydroponic, but not necessarily organic. That being said, SunTech uses many natural methods to avoid the use of pesticides and other chemicals. One such method is to grow a few eggplants among the tomatoes. It turns out that certain pests prefer the leaves of eggplants over the leaves of tomato plants. So, these sacrificial eggplants attract the pests away from the main crop. Simple and effective.
Pollination at SunTech is done naturally, with bees that are brought in just for that purpose. Plants are trimmed of sucker shoots, and the resultant clipping collected manually, by what seemed like a relatively small staff of people. The overall impression was of a very efficient and tidy operation, where every step in production was part of a well-thought-out process.
After the greenhouse tour, several members took the opportunity to do some of their weekly shopping, from very freshly picked produce at the Sun Tech onsite shop. Some members reported that they already are customers of SunTech products at their supermarkets, but were unaware that they were buying locally grown produce. What a nice discovery!
Soon we were back in the parking lot, among our beloved Citroëns. Leaving the SunTech premises, we arranged a few in-situ photos, before heading towards the village of Manotick. The route along River Road took us past the local “Millionaires’ Row”, where we enjoyed fleeting views of modern castles and waterfront estates. We followed the bridge across the historic Rideau River, and entered the village of Manotick. After a short hunt for parking spots (some members were VERY skillful/lucky, and wound up directly in front of the restaurant!) we all entered the Black Dog Bistro for a well-deserved lunch (hey, driving is hard work!). The table soon was graced by such dishes as Croque Monsieur, Moules Frites, and crême brûlé, in keeping with the French atmosphere that tends to infuse our gatherings.
After lunch, the group dispersed somewhat, with some folks heading over to the historic Watson’s Mill, while others headed home.
Enjoy this gallery of our photos: