Agritourism blossoms in Sullivan County; Local farms schedule summertime tours
Erlwein said, “Our mission is to be advocates for farmers to help them in any way we can and to educate people as to why small farms are important.”
In fact, farm tours are growing increasingly popular. In a time when small, local farms may be struggling to survive, agritourism brings in extra profit. A 2000 study from Cornell University reported that farmers who turned to agritourism could be as much as 40% more profitable than those who did not. A USDA census of agriculture, conducted every five years, estimated that 23,000 farms offered agritourism activities in 2007, bringing in an average of $24,300 for each in additional income. Not only is giving tours educational, but it’s also a good business plan.
And it doesn’t end with just tours; farmers are getting creative.
Root n’ Roost, for example, held a “work and learn party,” where they invited anyone who wanted to learn to come to their property and help set up a green house. They also hold classes, like how to keep bees. On the day of my visit, a participant in World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farming (WWOOF, www.wwoofinternational.org) had just left, and a new intern was to arrive that day. Interning and organizations like WWOOF provide an excellent way for those who want to learn about farming to get educated; it’s like going to college. “Being a farm intern, you learn about more than just the plants and animals that you raise; you also learn to listen to your body’s physical limits, to truly appreciate community and to respect nature in all of its strength and glory,” said Cheyenne.
If you want to see for yourself why Sean and Cheyenne love their job, come and visit them. Root n’ Roost’s Farmstock tour is on Saturday, August 10, and they will offer a workshop called “Fowl Play: Permaculture with Chickens and Ducks” and DIY hoop house construction. So go on, get your hands dirty.
Farmstock 2013 Schedule
Saturday, June 1
540 County Road 164, Callicoon
914/953-2506, 845/887-6801, www.rosehavenalpacas.com
• Farm tours
• Spinning demo
• Craft corner for kids
Saturday, June 29
Apple Pond Farm
80 Hahn Road, Callicoon Center
• All about chickens
• 2 p.m. goat milking/cheese making
• Gardening tips