We asked our farmer, Kim Goodling of Grand View Farm Vermont,
whether we could 'borrow' her blog post. We feel she clearly sums
up what many of us have observed for the reasons our guests seek
the farm stay experience.
The events of the past two days has caused me to ponder why
people choose to stay on a farm for their family vacation and why
our family opens our home, lives, and farm up to complete
strangers. As I think back over all the guests we have had since
this spring, there seems to be two motives behind their spending
time with us:
first set of families want to support small family farms, and they
are here to lend a helping hand where needed. They recognize the
hard work involved in farming and they want to experience it, first
hand.These parents have thoughtfully chosen to bring their children
to our farm, so that they can experience life "outside of their
Their children have worked in our garden and greenhouse, and
have tended to our many animals. These families have taken in with
gusto, the fresh air, dark starlit nights, beautiful sunsets, fire
flies, naps on the porch, weaving and felting lessons, the babbling
brook, amazing mountain views, our wooded trails, and the adventure
of traveling on dirt roads.
2. The second set of families seem to be on a food adventure!
These families live, for the most part in large, bustling cities
where the bulk of their groceries are purchased from the market
around the corner. They express a "disconnect" with the source of
the foods they eat, and they want very much to make that
Some of their children have never seen vegetables growing, or
have given thought to how food is raised and produced. They do not
know that an asparagus grows up out of the ground, and that peas
grow from a vine in a pod. They do not know that hens lay one egg a
day, and that it takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of
maple syrup. They have never seen piglets racing around, chasing
one another, or heard the tiny peeps of small chicks.
These parents have chosen to stay on a farm where food is
raised, and to visit neighboring farms who do the same. They see
Vermont as setting the standard for high quality foods. Two sets of our guests, have enjoyed visiting some
our friends' larger market gardens. They call ahead to place an
order with the farm, and then drive over to pick up their food. An
added bonus for driving out to the farm, is to get a personal tour
of the farm and to meet some of Vermont's finest,
most knowledgeable farmers.
They revel in the idea of being able to eat vegetables that have
just been picked, and they are amazed at how fresh everything
tastes. We share with them the secrets of where to find the best
goat's milk cheese, the best organically grown meats, and the
locally brewed beers. Then, we provide a grill for them to cook
their dinner while taking in the mountain views.
Whether here to help with chores, or to enjoy a feasting
vacation, both types of families have one thing in common; the
parents want to spend time with their children. These parents could
have chosen to stay in resorts with all the amenities, pools,
televisions, internet access, and numerous kid engaging activities
just outside their hotel door.
Instead, they chose to come to our farm, to work together
alongside a farming family, to visit with and make friends with
farmers who care about how food is grown, and to help their urban
raised children make connections that would otherwise be
impossible. They have spent 24 hours a day with their children,
embracing rural Vermont farm life, and thoughtfully planning each
day's adventure, whether exploring the far reaches of Vermont
tourist spots, or the dirt road outside our front door.
Whether it's Vermont or a farm or ranch stay in some other
state, we truly believe that the connection made with our guests,
both personal and agricultural, benefits us all in the long run.
Our goal here at Farm Stay U.S.: to bridge the urban-rural divide
one night, one meal, one family at a time.