Get Ready for a Farm Visit

Joe McClain - Jan 25, 2010
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An agritourism farm is any land based farm or business that is open to the public. These specialized agritourism destinations generally offer things to see, things to do, and produce or gifts to buy, and are open to the public at least some parts of the year. Some agritourism farms are open 365 days, some only for a few weekends in the fall. All offer a unique and entertaining farm experience and are generally appealing to all members in a family.

Sometimes called entertainment farming, rural tourism, farm experience, agri-entertainment, agri-tourism, and most recently, agritourism, all of these really mean the same thing: a meaningful visit to a farm with a producer of land-based products and services.

Recently, more farms, wineries, bed and breakfasts, and other land-based businesses have been catering to tourists, local and regional families who enjoy visiting and shopping at these businesses.

Farm visits will be unlike any other experience you have had in your life. Working farms are alive with sound, smell, character, and a daily routine ingrained in the lives of the farmers, their helpers, and all who inhabit the land and barns.

When you plan to visit a working farm, it is often good to call ahead. That way the host or hostess will know to expect you, and can be ready when you arrive.

As much of a farm is outdoors, you can expect to meet conditions of weather on your visit. Everyone should wear boots, and bring a coat or extra layer if you know you’ll be out hiking. You may encounter mud or manure, so dress yourself and kids appropriately.

If there are animals around, ask your children to use some restraint in approaching the animals. Allow animals time to explore you before touching them.

Farmers work very long hours for relatively low pay because they love the land. If a farm you are visiting has a gift shop or farm stand, make an effort to support the farm with your purchases. You and others will make the difference and influence whether many small farms continue for another generation: buy their local produce and locally crafted products. Even if you can get the item cheaper somewhere else, choose to help the farms you visit, so they will be there when your kids have kids.

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