Saving Farmland One Farm at a Time
For those following along, last week I wrote about a unique and fun way to help save our farmland: agri tourism. As I mentioned, agri tourism is very broad but basically involves visiting a farm for a specific activity, class, lodging, entertainment, or even to just buy fresh-from-the farm produce.
As I also mentioned, agri tourism is one of the most creative ways to help save our farmland because it not only boosts the income of the individual farmer, but a region’s local economy as well.
My goal here is to highlight the diverse types of agri tourism sites available throughout the United States. And, last week I started with California, because it’s not only my home state, but the nation’s largest agricultural producing state, with over 30 organized farm trails.
But, as I said, California is not the only state with a well-organized system of farm trails and regions. Even Hawaii now has an Agritourism Association and it is organized around both location and commodity.
Hawaii is well known for two very popular commodities: coffee and chocolate, and there are several growers who have opened up their farms so you can see for yourself how they are grown and processed.
Specifically, in the Kona region, coffee farmers have organized to have their farms open for visits. One of these, the Holualoa Kona Coffee Company is a certified organic Kona coffee plantation that offers free tours and tastings.
Aside from coffee, there are a wide range of crops grown in the Kona Coffee Belt some of which can be tasted and purchased at the South Kona Fruit Stand an organic farm with fresh and dried tropical fruit including papayas, snake fruit, eggfruit, and abiu.
For those people that live in or are visiting the East Coast, Vermont offers a wide variety of farm experiences, ranging from farm stays and picking your own apples, to picnicking with a llama and visiting a winery.
While Vermont is best known for its maple syrup, there are many other commodities that the state is also recognized for, especially dairy products. You can find these at Vermont Farms! Association which has 75 members.
But, if you don’t want to miss the quintessential Vermont experience and want to taste maple syrup at one of its sugarhouses, there are plenty of listings on the site to choose from.
Or, if you’d like to learn more about maple, you can visit the New England Maple Museum. And, since Vermont is also famous for being home to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, you might want to take a tour to see how it is made.
We’ll continue exploring some other great agri tourism states next week. Please comment here to let me know if there are specific places, activities, or crops that you want to learn more about.