- Author: Penny A. Leff
Celebrate World Environment Day by joining ACDI/VOCA and Agritourism Experts David Visher & Penny Leff on Friday, June 5, at 11:00 am EST (8:00 am PST/19:00 GMT+4) for the live webinar “What Is Rural Tourism? Opportunities for Development.”*
As the COVID-19 crisis impacts traditional tourism and constrains travelers' ability to gather in large groups, we see small group rural tourism as the best way safely forward. Our discussants will examine rural tourism, how it can equip communities to prosper economically, and how host communities can prepare to leverage this promising change.
David Visher is a seasoned Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer, completing 17 assignments in 12 countries, among other accomplishments in academia and with NGOs.
Penny Leff is the statewide Agritourism Coordinator with the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Thelonious Trimmell, ACDI/VOCA Senior Agribusiness Advisor and former Chief of Party, will moderate the event.
*Access this live event on Microsoft Teams through the following link: https://tinyurl.com/ybpwwxsx
Communities support their local farms and ranches
During this COVID-19 emergency, as most agritourism operations have canceled events and on-farm activities, many are refocusing on direct sales - selling to their local community members directly through on-line sales, CSAs, and pick-up and delivery services. UC SAREP is helping consumers purchase directly from local farms and ranches by sharing connections to local farmers all over California on our UC Agritourism Directory, www.calagtour.org.
The new webpage, COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Direct-from-Farm Resources, includes information and links to local agricultural and community organizations connecting consumers with farms and ranches offering box deliveries, farm stands, online ordering, delivery and pickup services, organized by region.
We need you! Please help grow these connections
Resources for connecting with local farmers and ranchers in many California regions are not yet included on this website. We need your help!
If you are an organization promoting local direct sales by farmers and ranchers, or if you are an individual farmer or rancher who would like to be included on this page, please contact Penny Leff, UC SAREP agritourism coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmers' markets open as "Essential Services"
In many areas, farmers' markets remain open, with major adjustments for social distancing and sanitary protection for everyone involved. These farmers' markets are essential for farmers as well as consumers, and are a wonderful way for community members to support local farms, but some have changed hours or limited their seasons. Please check the website or Facebook page of your local farmers' market before you visit to learn of any changes.
The Ecology Center has a great tracking tool which allows users to search for farmers' markets and filter for Market Match and EBT acceptance: https://ecologycenter.org/fmfinder/
Hello California farmers and ranchers. Are you considering inviting visitors to your land for extra income, public education and community connections? Or are you already an agritourism operator interested in networking with others involved in California agritourism? If so, we invite you to join us at one of the upcoming events where UC SAREP Agritourism Coordinator Penny Leff will be speaking about agritourism development that benefits growers and communities.
Sustainable Food and Farming Conference, February 7 to 9 at Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, organized by Sierra Harvest. Penny will be joining Debbie Bierwagen, long-time agritourism operator of the Donner Trail Fruit Farm Market & Pumpkin Patch, in leading a workshop, "Adding to your income stream with agritourism," from 1:00 to 2:15 p.m. on Sunday February 9th.
Tuolumne County Agritourism Summit, Thursday, February 20 in Jamestown, organized by Visit Tuolumne County, This event, organized to leverage Tuolumne County's agricultural resources, will be held at the Hurst Ranch, giving attendees a chance to tour and hear firsthand from experienced and successful agritourism operator Leslie Hurst. Penny will lead a discussion about assessing the agritourism potential of your farm or ranch. Local farmers and ranchers are invited to sign up online or call (209) 533-4420. Cost is $20 per person, which includes lunch.
California Small Farm Conference, February 27 - 29 in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, organized by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). Join Penny and founding members of the newly organized San Luis Obispo Farm Trail for a workshop on "Building a Farm Trail," from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, February 28.
We hope to meet you at one or more of these exciting California educational and networking events.
The University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP), a statewide program of UC ANR, hosts an agritourism program dedicated to sharing resources and connections for the California agritourism community. We manage a directory and event calendar (www.calagtour.org) providing information to the public about opportunities to visit and enjoy California farms and ranches. Listings on calagtour.org are free to California farmers and ranchers offering any kind of on-farm or on-ranch direct sales or experiences, including tours, farm stands, tasting rooms, pumpkin patches, U-Pick, farm dinners, guest ranches, farm stays, classes, weddings, or other adventures. UC SAREP also produces a regular newsletter for the California agritourism community and hosts a website full of resources for those involved in the California agritourism industry, https://ucanr.edu/sites/agritourism/.
From winery tasting rooms to pumpkin patches, apple picking and goat yoga, California farmers and ranchers are leaders and innovators in agritourism, utilizing tradition and creativity as they invite the public to visit and experience rural life. They mange farm stands, host on-farm dinners, offer school field trips, public tours, festivals, classes, on-farm lodging and guest ranches, outdoor recreation and multiple other experiences to diversify income and connect with their own communities and visitors from far away.
All Calilfornia agritourism operators are are invited and encouraged to take part in a national survey about agritourism and direct sales.
The survey is at: tinyurl.com/agritourismsurvey
The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP), a statewide program of UC ANR, is collaborating with the University of Vermont and others to gauge the scope and impact of the industry nationwide. Farmers and ranchers throughout the country are being asked to participate in the short survey for a study led by the University of Vermont. The data will be used by cooperative extension and research personnel to develop resources to help increase the success of small and medium-sized farms and ranches that offer on-farm direct sales, education, hospitality, recreation, entertainment and other types of agritourism.
The survey, which will take about 10-15 minutes to complete, is available online at tinyurl.com/agritourismsurvey. All responses will be kept confidential, and participants may opt out of answering survey questions at any time.
Leaders of California's many farm trails and agritourism associations are encouraged to share the link to this survey with their members to ensure that California is well represented in this important national study.
In addition to demographic and farm information, the survey will collect data on direct sales and agritourism experiences offered, visitor numbers and goals, successes, challenges and future plans for agritourism. Farmers also will be able to provide input on the types of support needed to achieve success with agritourism including on-farm direct sales.
This multi-state survey and research project is being coordinated by Extension Professor Lisa Chase and Associate Professor David Conner, both with the University of Vermont, and funded through a Critical Agriculture Research and Extension grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Collaborators include research and cooperative extension faculty in California, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and West Virginia.
Noble Orchards in Paradise, California is the last remaining apple orchard in Butte County. This family business, with close to a hundred years of history, lost almost everything in the Camp fire last year, including all the infrastructure, buildings, fences, ladders, tools, boxes, scales and other things needed to maintain the orchard. But, miraculously, the apple orchards survived the fire.
The bloom was strong this spring. The native bees happily pollinated all the apples. Now the apple trees are heavily laden with fruit ready to pick. Farm owners Jim and Laurie Noble are inviting the public to come to the farm to pick the apples. There are about 80,000 pounds of crisp, delicious apples remaining on the trees.
Here is their message:
JOIN US THIS Wednesday, October 9 (or next Wed - Fri, Oct. 16-18) - 8:30 AM TO 4:00 PM
No Charge - donations welcome
Noble Orchards: 7050 Pentz Road, Paradise, CA 95969
"We welcome one and all to come pick our large bounty of fruit this season. As most everyone knows the apple orchards survived the Camp Fire, the infrastructure needed to manage harvesting fruit is 100% missing.
Thank you to our trees for carrying on production without our assistance. No cultural practices were used to help produce tasty, sweet and crunchy apples. With all that said, please come and get them.
OUR RULES: BE SAFE!!!
1.Closed toed shoes and long pants for everyone.
2 No running anywhere and no one climbing in our fruit trees.
3. Bring containers to haul fruit home, picking sticks to reach high fruit, wagons etc to move fruit from orchards.
4. Take all you can possibly use, share with others who are unable to pick themselves, take apples to local food programs, use them as you please, make a gift basket for all the fall fundraisers, most importantly enjoy the bounty you pick!
5. Offer to volunteer here at the farm. We need a lot of assistance both picking now as well as pruning and cleaning up the orchards this fall and winter. Sign up at the farm when you visit
JOIN US THIS Wednesday, October 9 - 8:30 AM TO 4:00 PM
No open picking next weekend. The Sierra Oro Farm Trail is a ticketed event we will host both Sat 10/12 and 10/13. Tickets are available at Sierra Oro Farm Trail 2019. Get yours TODAY.
U-Pick will be open again Wednesday - Friday October, 16, 17 and 18.
For more information, updates and future U-Pick dates, see the Noble Orchard Facebook page