Travel Themes Part 7: Agritourism

Last Updated on December 23, 2020 by Janet Frost

Agritourism is any activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. It encompasses everything from a stop at a farm stand to staying on a working farm and participating in the chores. This type of travel has been popular in Italy and Australia for years.  If you have a passion around a certain crop or animal this could be your style of travel. It is certainly a great way to learn about any region.
We visit the pumpkin farm, corn maze or apple orchard during our autumn festivities, but do you think to add these to your travel itineraries year round?

Let’s Go Learn Things on a farm…

agritourism
Pumpkin Farm in Wisconsin

Agritourism supports Local

Agritourism blends well with the current demand for fresh, sustainable and local produce. Discovering the source and producers of these products adds great value to any travel experience.  Let’s start with food and drink:

Cheese and Dairy

Agritourism learn about the endangered Wisconsin dairy farms
Dairy farms and cheese production are favorites for agritourism travelers.

Cheese-making is an ancient and mysterious art.  It makes sense that regions boasting a large dairy production is where you find cheese trails. Conveniently these regions are usually full of wine offerings also.

  • Auvergne, France Fromages Route.  What a perfect way to experience the French countryside. A few wine stops intermingled and this sounds like heaven.
  • California Cheese Trail. California is the primary dairy state of the U.S. Here too you can pair your cheese with plenty of wine.
  • Wisconsin Driftless Cheese Trail. Wisconsin is a close runner-up to California in dairy production. I don’t love the wine in Wisconsin as much as in California, but I do LOVE their cheese.

Wine

Paso Robles Charm at Barton Family Wines
Joe Barton and Tom Frost.
I wish I lived next door to this Renaissance Man!!

Vineyards and wine regions across the world capture our imaginations.  While we recognize the big wine names, it is the small intimate vineyards that make the experiences special.  Wine destinations offer a range of opportunities ie; lodging, tastings, private tours and serene settings. I love touring wineries in California. See Travel Themes Part 5: Boozy Trips for more wine destination ideas.

  • France wine regions
  • Australian wine
  • Oregon wine regions put Pinot Noir on the map. This is also a spectacular area for hiking, beer and food.
  • Paso Robles is a growing wine region along the Central Coast of California. This region is giving Napa and Sonoma some stiff competition. 

Go! Learn Things in California’s Central Coast wine country…
Enjoy San Luis Obispo County
Paso Robles Charm

Produce

When we think of farms we usually think of fresh produce.  The farm-to-table trend continues to spread across the U.S., tempting us with the joys of fresh produce.  Years ago I traveled to the Tuscany region of Italy, where farm-to-table has been a way of life for centuries. In addition to cooking lessons we visited local farmers sharing their wines, cheeses, olives etc. This was the way to fall in love with a place.  The locals opened their kitchens and homes to us and shared their bounty.

Here are just a few produce ideas to watch for in your travels. Also see Part 1: Culinary Travels of this series for more ideas.  Any time I meet real life people on a trip it is an extraordinary experience. These small entrepreneurs are bursting with pride and can benefit greatly from your support.

  • Farmers Markets
  • Coffee growers and roasters.
  • Pineapple Plantation, this is truly a “big” business and not the same independent feel but it does give you some insight into the industry.
  • Olives and olive oil

Animal Experiences

This alpaca wanted a selfie.

I have several friends and fellow bloggers who love animals more than anything in life.  I feel compelled to warn them that some animal agritourism may involve shearing, milking, or even slaughtering.  This is just the facts of life on a farm. If this category makes you uncomfortable I recommend petting farms rather than working farms.

  • Dude Ranches, I have never been a horse person, but I know many, and they do love their horses.  I can see where a trip to a ranch in  Wyoming, Montana or South America would be fantastic.
  • Kentucky horse country is a totally different feel than ranches.  Here the elegant thoroughbreds lounge in their retirement.
  • Sheep, goats and alpacas, are some of the most adorable animals.  I list them together because I am all about their wool.  Sheep and goats are produced for their milk and meat also.  I have yarn from trips to Wisconsin, Maine, California, and Norway. Scotland and New Zealand are topping my wool bucket list now.
  • Petting/hobby farms are great destinations for city families or for those uncomfortable with animals being used in anyway other than playing.
agritourism
I wish I could have goats for pets!!

Go! Learn Things about Wisconsin Dairy Farms

Be sure to check out all the posts in The 12 Days of Travel Themes;
Part 1: Culinary Tourism
Part 2: Fairs and Festivals
Part 3: Historic Destinations
Part 4: Museums
Part 5: Boozy Trips
Part 6: Get Outdoors
Part 7: Agritourism
Part 8: Urban Adventures
Part 9: Scenic Road Trips
Part 10: Literary Travels
Part 11: The Arts
Part 12 : National Parks

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