Agritourism: Getting Back to the Roots on Small Farms

Agritourism, a new crop of tourism, is sprouting in the country.

| March/April 2011

  • Going for a Hayride
    Hayrides are fun for children of all ages, whether from the country or the city. Winters
  • Gathering Eggs
    For some young farm visitors, gathering eggs is quite a treat. Price
  • Children Feeding the Goats
    Be sure that any animals interacting with the public are friendly and healthy. Basset
  • Picking Apples
    U-Pick orchards and gardens can offer urban children perhaps their only direct tie to the food they eat.

  • Going for a Hayride
  • Gathering Eggs
  • Children Feeding the Goats
  • Picking Apples

Ten years ago, Scottie Jones had enough of big-city life, and had never heard of agritourism. She and her husband packed their bags and left Phoenix. Their escape plan: buy land in rural Oregon. Sounds simple, right?

“The city became too crowded; there was traffic and asphalt everywhere we looked,” she says. “But boy, were we naive!”

The couple bought a homestead built in 1896, surrounded by 54 acres of lush green hills. “It was an adventure, to say the least,” she says. “We were completely wowed by the entire process. While it was hard work, it was also down-to-earth work.”

And she means that literally. Flash forward: In addition to growing hay and raising sheep for market, Jones now runs a successful farm-stay program at her Leaping Lamb Farm in Alsea, northwest of Eugene.

Guests travel from as far away as New York and Texas to stay on the farm for anywhere from a few days to an entire week. “I just had a mother and daughter out for the weekend,” she says. “They picked food from the garden and helped collect eggs from the coop.”

But is it all work and no play? According to Jones, the trip can be as hands-on or as laid-back as a guest desires. “Sometimes people come out just to slow down and retreat,” she says, “to get away from the hustle and bustle … and maybe pick some blackberries.” 

Valeria Pitoni
2/23/2011 9:49:03 AM

OH MY GOSH!! I thought I was the ONLY one! I am SO happy to find out there are other farm stays out there. Please continue to feature us--we provide a critical service that connects our urbanites to the place where their sustinence comes from. BRAVO!!

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