What is Agritourism?
Agritourism is a subset of a larger industry called rural tourism that includes resorts, off-site farmers’ markets, non-profit agricultural tours, and other leisure and hospitality businesses that attract visitors to the countryside.
Agritourism is by far one of the most creative avenues to build farm revenue. This category of tourism is a subset of a larger industry known as agritourism. The official definition from the University of California is that Agritourism is “a commercial enterprise at a working farm, ranch, or agricultural plant conducted for the enjoyment of visitors that generates supplemental income for the owner.”
Agritourism ideas basically fall under the following categories:
- Outdoor recreation
- Educational experiences (cannery tours, cooking classes, or wine tasting).
- Entertainment (harvest festivals or barn dances).
- Hospitality services (farm stays, guided tours or outfitter services).
- On-farm direct sales (u-pick operations or roadside stands).
Agritourism in Oklahoma
There are tons of Agritourism ideas in Oklahoma, here are a few of my favorites from the categories listed above! I hope you find inspirations or successful models for your own ideas.
Outdoor recreation is a great way to utilize the natural features already existing on your property without investing in too much infrastructure. Agritourism ideas in this area include horseback riding, hunting and fishing, camping and picnicking, wildlife viewing and photography, and possibly cross-country skiing or hiking.
Agricultural Education Experiences
I’ve recently come across the Munchkin Homestead Cooperative in Skiatook, OK and have been following along their projects. They offer quite a bit of diverse homestead classes such as meat processing, beginning gardener classes, microfarming, raised bed building, growing in greenhouses and even marketing classes to learn basics about farmers markets and more! They are a great resource for Agritourism inspiration as they are continually drawing in customers to their farm to give them a taste or dive into farm life.
Farm Tours and Farms to Visit
Braum’s Family Farms in Tuttle, OK holds farm tours where you can see how the “magic” happens in the Braum’s Processing Plant and Bakery.
Watch how they make ice cream, ice cream cones, cookies, milk and so much more during a Braum’s factory tour. Plus, you are in for an extra sweet treat to conclude your the tour. Braum’s ice cream factory, bakery, and farm tours are scheduled Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. Reservations are required.
CommonWealth Urban Farm in the Oklahoma City area has a beautiful farm tour at their facility on the first Saturday of the month at 9 a.m. They also take tours with other urban farms around the OKC area.
Another beautiful farm to visit is Lakeview Lavender Farm. Guests can simply walk through the fields of lavender to enjoy natural aromatherapy at this Pauls Valley farm. You’ll also encounter stunning wildflowers and daylilies along with fragrant rosemary. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the onsite picnic area before browsing the lavender-centric gift shop.
With an agritainment business, marketing and advertising are separate issues. The key to Agritrainment is to concentrate on how to attract customers to your operation and hold their interest for as long as possible. An operation that features agritainment should offer something for everyone in the family. For example, educational programs for the parents and childcare for the very young, hands-on or video-related activities for teens, and a play area for younger children that is made of appropriate materials.
A couple of years ago, I was a vendor at the Pleasant Valley Winter Squash and Pumpkin Festival, which included hand crafted products, a cow train, 20 ft slides, pumpkin drawing, a hand cranked corn sheller and grist mill, 18 hole mini-golf course, a Punkin’ Chunkin’ cannon, hay rides, and a 15-acre corn maze! Bluegrass music filled the air along with the along with the smells from various food trucks. They found ways to incorporate all ages in their family friendly event and was sure to create farm memories that would last a lifetime.
I’m always partial to fall festivals because I love pumpkins, but the Porter Peach Festival at Livesay Orchards is one of my all-time favorite festivals and it’s definitely one of the top festivals in Oklahoma. Other than peaches, they have a 5k, Art Sale, Rodeo, Culinary Contest, Car and Bike Show, Live Music, Antique Tractor Pulls, Street Games, a Kid Zone, Parade, Prize Peach Auction AND FREE PEACHES and ice cream! What’s not to love! They also have a cool fall festival with a pumpkin patch, maze and fall festivities!
A farm-based petting zoo is another great agritourism idea that can bring in customers with your existing infrastructure. While researching for this post, I came across the Orr Family Farm in Oklahoma City. Established in 2004, the Orr family wanted to build a space for families to come and visit to not only experience an educational glimpse of the past and enjoy simple, fulfilling activities but to create memories that last.
Mobile Petting Zoo
You can take your petting zoo on the road, as a mobile petting zoo. The added benefit is that you don’t have to worry as much about property insurance and you can go to the customers instead of waiting for them to come to you. It can be offered pretty much year round with an average of 12-18 animals.
Farm accommodations include agritourism ideas that allow individuals the opportunities the experience farm life on a deeper level. These agritourism ideas include farm vacations, youth exchange, guest ranch, and bed and breakfasts.
Farm Stay / Farm Vacations
Farm vacations are popular throughout the world, but less common in the U.S. Instead of bringing the farm to the city through farmer’s markets, it’s bringing people back to the farm. This experience can also help the farmers with additional labor, while giving city people a chance to reconnect with their food and experience the farm lifestyle for as long as they wish. Common farm duties include feeding livestock and gathering eggs, while the farms provide fresh meals, camping amenities or boarding.
While researching these agritourism ideas, I found Rebel Hill Guest Ranch, which provides a wide variety of activities such as a wild life park, horse back riding, fishing, canoeing, bird watching and hiking.
Orr Family Farm has a glamping option and you can help farm chores such as feeding livestock and gathering eggs.
You can also research farm stays on AirBnb for ideas and inspiration.
Farm Bed and Breakfast
In the travel world, bed and breakfast hosts view their visitors more as guests, where hotels view their customers as well, customers. At Bed and Breakfast the amenities are often better, the owners are directly involved in customer service and offer better information on activities and customized options. Also, as the name suggests homemade breakfasts are included in the stay. In the case of a farm based bed and breakfast, it takes that to the next level with farm fresh eggs and produce. What could be better than that?
Cedar and Stone Bed and Breakfast is a great example of an Oklahoma Farm Bed and Breakfast. It’s a rustic cabin tucked away in Tishomingo, OK on a working cattle ranch. The best part? Breakfast includes organic, beef from their ranch, specialty desserts, farm fresh eggs, homemade buttermilk biscuits, cream gravy and locally-sourced food. Doesn’t get more mouth watering than that!
On-Site Direct Sales
The on-site direct sales category includes options such as U Pick Orchards, Berry Picking, Farm Stands are other agritourism ideas to encourage customers to participate in the local food movement and build farm revenue.
U Pick Orchards
Wind Drift Orchards located in Harrah has an established peach and nectarine orchard. They start with some varieties in Mid-June and go until Mid- August. They have a detailed schedule of peach and nectarine varieties listed on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook for seasonal updates.
Buffalo Creek Berry Farm located in Mustang has thornless Blackberries, Strawberries, Sand Plums, and Black Raspberries. In addition, they have full garden to pick Potatoes, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Squash, Zuchinni, Okra, Green Beans, Carrots, Peppers, Onions and Garlic. Buffalo Creek Berry Farm provides provide the buckets, bags and scales and accept all forms of payment. You can follow their Facebook for seasonal updates.
U pick Strawberries and Berry Picking
Thunderbird Berry Farm in Broken Arrow is well-known for their blueberry patch. They are typically open from June until Mid-July with $10/3 quart bucket, $16/5 quart bucket, or $20/6 quart bucket. It’s a great family friendly activity and there’s nothing better than freshly picked blueberries. You can also follow them on Facebook for seasonal updates.
Probably one of my favorite farm stands to visit is Peace of Prairie in Muskogee. I was able to visit their farm during a Master Gardener conference and it was not only peaceful, but inspirational. They have their farm stand right at their driveway and you can help yourself submitting your payment to an old newspaper box.
U-Pick Christmas Trees
For many families, there is a generational tradition to pick their own Christmas tree. Pleasant Valley Farms also has an Oklahoma Christmas tree farm. They add to the memories with a complementary cup of homemade cider, hot cocoa, or coffee and candy cane, and give hayrides around the Christmas trees.
The ways to get involved in the local food system are plentiful in Oklahoma! What are your favorite agritourism ideas that you have on your own farm or like to support seasonally? Please leave us your favorites in the comments, so we can check them out!
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