Women In Ag: Taking Agritourism to New Heights
My first experience with agritourism was over 10 years ago when I took my siblings to spend the night at a bed-and-breakfast that was also a working goat dairy. We were able to see the goats milked, we gathered eggs from the chicken coop, and enjoyed breakfast made with ingredients from the farm.
Agritourism is generally defined as recreational activities offered on a working farm. It’s an opportunity for farms to not only develop a relationship and connection with the public but also increase revenue generated by the farm. For some farmers, agritourism fills a void during the times of year there is no income coming in from crops grown on the land.
In the last few years, My Farmer and I have taken our kids on hay rides, walked through soybean mazes, and picked strawberries on local farms. My son went to a summer camp at a local farm last year. I have visited pick-your-own apple orchards, choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms, and corn mazes. I have eaten ice cream made on-site using milk from the farm’s cows. There seems to be no limit to what activities farms can offer.
Recently, I had an opportunity to try a new agritourism activity, at least it was new to me.
My Farmer and I went on vacation last month. At our first stop, in the Dominican Republic, we signed up to go on a zip-line excursion.
I knew this would be a tourist stop, but it wasn’t until the van pulled into the yard that I realized this was an agritourism stop.
It turns out, the zip line was a part of a 70-acre working farm, Country World Adventure Park. Every chance I had while we were on the zip-line course, I asked questions about the farm.
They raise cattle for meat. According to our guides, the animals graze on a type of sugar plant. It’s not sugarcane (because I asked), but I haven’t been able to figure out what kind of sugar it is through my internet research. You can see it in this photo of My Farmer zip lining over a pasture.
They also have horses. There was another tour group going on a horseback ride through the countryside while we were zipping overhead. The guides rode horses from each stand as we moved through the zip-line course.
The farm was full of banana, mango, passion fruit, and pineapple trees. These trees were huge. I didn’t get a chance to ask how they harvest the fruit. I can’t imagine they had a ladder tall enough to reach the majority of the fruit.
I’ve been to a number of farms in North Carolina that have agritourism activities, but I’ve never been to one that also had zip lines. Hands down, that farm in the Dominican Republic was the most unusual farm tourist activity I’ve experienced.
What’s the most unusual agritourism activity you’ve offered on your farm or seen on a farm?