- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Thirty percent of the farmers offering agritourism events supplemented their regular farm income by $50,000 or more in 2008, according to a study by the UC small farm program that was covered on the front page of today's Fresno Bee. Nearly two-thirds of California agritourism operators planned to expand or diversify over the next five years.
"There is no question that there is a lot of potential for growth, and we are seeing it happen," the story quoted Shermain Hardesty, small farm program director and a co-author of the report.
In the article, reporter Robert Rodriguez described several Valley agritourism destinations:
- Visitors can stay the night on the 95-acre tree Dinuba farm of Nori and Mike Taylor.
- Farmer John Olivas lets people pick their own fruit and operates a fruit stand on his three-acre berry farm in Hanford.
- Fresno farmer Mike Smith will allow people to pick their own flowers, lavender and produce on his 40-acre organic farm. In the fall, he will operate a pumpkin patch for the public and school tours.
"We know from all the consumer trends that people are willing to pay for an authentic experience and for specialty foods," said Ellie Rilla, community development adviser for UC Cooperative Extension in Marin County and co-author of the study. "And agritourism provides that."
The research article, California agritourism operations and their economic potential are growing, was published in the current issue of California Agriculture journal.