Agritourism

Agritourism

I recently heard the term Agricultural Tourism or Agritourism for short, and was immediately intrigued by the idea, that individuals go out of their way to visit areas because of the agriculture. After a little bit of research, I realized that the idea of visiting an area specifically for agricultural, isn’t all that foreign to me after all. We all know someone, maybe even ourselves, who has foraged for elusive mushrooms, gone to a cider mill, picked pumpkins at at pumpkin patch, picked out a perfect Christmas tree at a Christmas tree farm, or purchased fresh fruit or veggies at a farmer’s market or roadside stand. This is exactly what agritourism and Newaygo has a fair share of it.

 

This year my goal is to get up, get out, go adventuring, go exploring in Newaygo County. With over 125,000 acres of farm land in Newaygo County, local Farmers Markets and Roadside Stands, and Cider mills, I believe there is no better way to get acquainted with my community than to participate in the local agritourism.

 

Gallery of farm scenes

 

Driving down the roads of Newaygo County I often see farmers tilling fields, apple trees bloom in orchard, cattle grazing in a pasture, chickens pecking in the front yard. The fields of crops broken up by large barns, traffic slowed by tractors, crops being harvested, and trucks overflowing with harvests. Local restaurants boast about locally sourced and seasonal offerings, guaranteed not to disappoint.

 

Chicken on hay bales

 

Farms of all sizes are entwined in our communities. From a small personal garden, to commercial farming operations, you can see it all here. One thing that I enjoy about Newaygo County, is how the community continuously celebrates farming and agriculture through its events each year. Parades featuring the large harvesters, antique tractor shows, hay bale sculptures, and the County Fair with 4-H animals, are some of these popular attractions. Our connection to agriculture strong. Our community members buy and sell locally grown or raised food at farmers markets, cider mills, and roadside stands. This connection to agriculture is so entwined in the community that even the community art reflects our appreciation, and the high school pays homage allowing students to participate in “Take Your Tractor to School Day “.

 

As the weather begins to break, throughout Newaygo County, we will begin to see the fields being plowed, harvests being planted, crops growing, ripening and being harvested. As the growing season continues, a variety of products will arrive at the local Farmers Markets, Roadside Stands will pop up along back roads and the search will begin for delicious summer fruits and vegetables. I look forward to the tastes of the food from local farmers markets and roadside stands. There is something about locally sourced food that makes it taste so much better.

 

If you are looking for an adventure this year look for some good ol’ Agricultural Tourism. Newaygo County offers several opportunities, you just have to get out there and adventure! I cannot wait to get out to the local farmers markets and roadside stands to taste what Newaygo County has to offer.

by Whitney Barnes

 

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