Agriturismo, American style: 8 farm and food experiences in the USA
Agritourism is on the rise in the USA
Excperted from article By Linday Cohn, Special to USA TODAY, June 15, 2018
Italy may have defined the concept of agriturismo (a working farm that takes in guests), but you don’t need a passport to have an authentic experience that brings you closer to the source. Domestic agritourism is on the rise.
Potential reasons for the boom? The appeal of open space, starry skies, fragrant meadows and adorable animals is nothing new. But we live in a hyperconnected society and, while technology certainly has its benefits, the compulsion to be constantly plugged in has spurred a longing for simpler times.
“People are looking for ‘real’ vacations,” says Beth Kennett of Vermont’s Liberty Hill Farm. “On a deeper level, most folks are generations away from having family involved in agriculture. Parents want their children to understand more about what they eat and the environment, and how those things are connected.”
These days, travelers interested in learning where their food is grown and produced have an increasing number of options. Vacationers can hunker down at working farms and ranches throughout the United States. The result is a culinary immersion. More than just picking herbs and veggies from the garden, rural getaways allow people to reconnect with the land.
Geography plays a major role in agritourism, which means your experience on a ranch in Oregon will differ from a dairy farm in Vermont. That said, you’ll find some commonalities. Topping the list are fresh fare, affordable accommodations and scenic surroundings. Think: Organic gardens, chicken coops, beehives, fruit orchards and verdant pastures for cattle to graze.
Inviting guests to stay is a chance for growers, croppers and cultivators to share their world with others. Farm life isn’t easy — in fact, most will tell you it’s hard and humbling — but it’s rewarding and, best of all, delicious.
If your fantasies are five-star fancy, agritourism probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re craving a truly meaningful trip (and you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty), one of these picturesque farms and ranches might be the perfect place to spend your next vacation.
Seeking an off-the-grid escape? Consider Willow-Witt Ranch in southern Oregon. Guided by a commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture, this 445-acre property beckons visitors to discover the bounty of nature. There are some 200 plant varietals on the grounds, plus tons of animals. Whether you prefer gathering eggs, feeding pigs or sowing seeds, you’ll find plenty of Arcadian pursuits to fill your time.