Consumer demand for locally grown foods and agritourism activities continue to rise. According to the USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture, farmers’ markets in the United States have expanded by 180 percent since 2006, and on-farm agritourism events have increased by 24 percent since 2007.
What is agritourism? The definition according to our Florida Statutes “means any agricultural related activity consistent with a bona fide farm or ranch or in a working forest which allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy activities, including farming, ranching, historical, cultural, or harvest-your-own activities and attractions.”
Agritourism is win-win for consumers and Florida farmers. These activities provide a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for adults and children while consumers gain first-hand knowledge of the day-to-day responsibilities of contemporary farmers, ranchers, aquaculturists, environmentalists and others in similar professions. Agritourism venues can include horseback riding, retail operations such as farmers’ markets, country stores and wineries, farm stands, u-pick operations, tours, on-farm classes, festivals, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, and much more.
Now that fall is here, opportunities to experience a day on Florida’s farms and ranches are plentiful. You can create an itinerary from the Florida Agritourism Association’s website, visitfloridafarms.com. Or you can follow some of our Fresh from Florida recommendations. Either way, enjoy the experience!
Long and Scott Farm
Location: Mount Dora, Florida
Activities: Corn mazes, kids’ activities, farm tours, fishing
Dates: October 3 through December 13
Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest
Location: Eustis, Florida
Activities: Petting zoo, pumpkin carving, hay rides, pumpkin patch
Dates: October 3 through November 1
Activity: Choose and cut Christmas trees
Dates: November 21 through December 22
New Leaf Farm Tour
Locations: Gadsden Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and other surrounding counties.
Activities: Tour of 28 area farms featuring livestock, dairy production, beekeeping, vegetable and fruit production, wineries and more
Dates: October 24 and 25
Bedners Farm Fresh Market
Location: Boynton Beach, Florida
Activities: Pumpkin patch, hayrides, farm tours, corn maze, petting zoo
Dates: September 26 through November 1
Henscratch Farms Vineyard & Winery
Location: Lake Placid, Florida
Activities: Year-round wine tasting and tours, free-range chickens, country store
Dates: Muscadine and scuppernong u-pick, September
Dates: Strawberry u-pick, December through March