Farmstay U.S. Blog

Created for and by travelers and the farmers, these posts will cover a variety of topics related to farm stays in the U.S.

Archive for tag: tourism

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

We have another new member to spotlight today - Taos Goji Eco Lodge and Farm in San Cristobal, New Mexico. Please join us in welcoming them!

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Nestled in the Sangre De Criston Mountains, just 11 miles from Taos, the Taos Goji Eco Lodge and Farm raises organic goji berries, chickens, and goats. Guests will enjoy taking in the surrounding creeks and ponds, aspens, flower gardens, and orchards, and bird watchers will be happy to discover that this is also a bird sanctuary!

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Taos Goji Eco Lodge welcomes guests of all ages. They have three cabins, as well as a 3 bedroom adobe Artists Residence with adjoining log cabin, and an Artist Retreat Casita. Meals are self-prepared, and there are lots of activities. The farm welcomes weddings and other special events.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the Taos Goji Eco Lodge and Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy Taos Goji Eco Lodge and Farm)

ALSEA, Ore. -  Farm Stay U.S. today named the top states for farm travel and tourism, finding that Pennsylvania, California and Vermont lead the nation in "haycation" destinations with the largest number of farm vacation listings in its FarmStayUS.com database.

Young girl with carrots- Keolamauloa Farm

The FarmStayUS.com searchable website has grown within a year to become the largest online source for farm vacations in the U.S., having expanded rapidly to 721 listings in all 50 states. The number of farms, ranches and vineyards has more than doubled from the original 320 listings in 46 states when FarmStayUS.com launched in June 2010, and it will continue to grow as farm tourism and consumer interest in sustainable and local agriculture expands in the U.S.

Farm Stay U.S. found that Pennsylvania, California and Vermont lead the way in farm and ranch stay listings: Pennsylvania has 73 farm and ranch listings; California has 52 and Vermont 45.

Rounding out the top ten states are ranch-heavy Wyoming at 42, Virginia at 38, North Carolina at 34, Montana at 33, Colorado at 31, Oregon at 26 and New York at 25. All 50 states' farm and ranch stay listings can be viewed at /map. Other state-specific numbers are below.

Farm vacations benefit both guests and hosts, providing needed income to small family farms and memorable, fun experiences for guests. Increasingly people are longing to eat and support the growing of truly fresh food and to teach their kids that eggs come from chickens not cartons, " said (Ms.) Scottie Jones, an Alsea, Ore. farmer and founder of Farm Stay U.S.

Eggs for breakfast"Our vision is to help restore America's family farm heritage," Jones said. "Call it a farm stay or haycation, agritourism is increasingly important to small farmers trying to stay afloat when competing with industrial farming and increasingly important to city dwellers seeking an escape and connection to a grounded way of life."

Farm Stay U.S. identifies vacation options ranging from rustic cabins to four-star lodging, where activities range from feeding animals and picking fruit to spinning wool, horseback riding, skiing and even yoga. Farm Stay U.S. also is building the tools, resources and community for farmers to start or grow their farm stay offerings alongside their working operations.

The FarmStayUS.com website is free to travelers, and free to farmers for basic listings. The vision is for premium listings, sponsorship and advertising to support the website.

Hatching an Idea

FarmStayUS.com was launched in June 2010 by Jones who operates her own farm stay, Leaping Lamb Farm, with her husband, Greg, in Alsea, Ore. They have hosted American and international guests since 2006. Visitors report being refreshed by the farm vacation experience, often returning to their lives with a greater appreciation for farming and a greater likelihood of supporting local food and farms through farmers' markets and their other everyday purchases.

"We were regularly booked at our farm stay and wanted to help our guests and other farmers by creating an easy referral network. That idea grew into Farm Stay U.S.," Jones said. "We hope it grows further into a robust network of farmers helping farmers and guests who continue to connect and support a healthier food and farm system."

Grandview Farm Vermont

Visitors can search each state via the "Farms Map" tab. The number changes every day as new farms add their information, but as of March 14, 2011, the number of farm or ranch stays per state are: Alabama 6, Alaska 5, Arizona 13, Arkansas 7, California 52, Colorado 31, Connecticut 6, Delaware 1, Florida 12, Georgia 13, Hawaii 5, Idaho 12, Illinois 7, Indiana 4, Iowa 8, Kansas 7, Kentucky 12, Louisiana 4, Maine 15, Maryland 6, Massachusetts 17, Michigan 7, Minnesota 6, Mississippi 2, Missouri 10, Montana 33, Nebraska 19, Nevada 7, New Hampshire 6, New Jersey 3, New Mexico 5, New York 24, North Carolina 34, North Dakota 1, Ohio 10, Oklahoma 15, Oregon 26, Pennsylvania 73, Rhode Island 5, South Carolina 4, South Dakota 13, Tennessee 3, Texas 15, Utah 2, Vermont 45, Virginia 38, Washington 9, West Virginia 4, Wisconsin 17, Wyoming 42.

Photo credits: top - SallyLundburg / Keolamauloa Farm, middle - K. Fritz / Leaping Lamb Farm, bottom - KimGoodling / Vermont Grandview Farm

Ecotourism and Agritourism Working Together

Irene Lane, who we met last September at the  International Ecotourism Conference, recently launched an ecotourism website called Greenloons. She got in touch to ask if she might write a guest post for us. Here, Irene offers some compelling suggestions for ways that agritourism and ecotourism might be better integrated.

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Pleasant Springs Farm Butterfly

By Irene Lane

 

As a manner of introduction, earlier this year I founded an ecotourism travel services company that specializes in offering independently certified, family-oriented ecotours.  I became interested in ecotourism when I noticed my own young son's wide-eyed fascination with nature whether we traveled across an ocean or across the state.  These were 'teachable moments' for my son that marked his personal growth, and it occurred to me that other families might benefit from an opportunity to experience nature in a way that would be educational, inspirational, safe and fun.  In this way, agritourism and ecotourism are very similar. There are some fundamental ways the industries can work together to promote our common sustainability goals, including:

 

Incorporating farm stays into ecotourism itineraries


In December 2010, the  University of Costa Rica published a study that discussed the agritourism and ecotourism marketing efforts in that country.  Costa Rica has both strong agricultural traditions and a thriving ecotourism industry.

 

The study delineated some interested examples of how cross-industry promotional efforts have helped farmers as well as ecotour operators. These examples included incorporating ½ to full-day coffee plantation, traditional fishing, dairy, and pineapple tours. Ecotour itineraries featured local guides and accommodations as well as meals made with, of course, local ingredients.

 

Developing relationships with ecotour operators

 

With the exception of Alaska, the United States is relatively new to the concept to ecotourism and where there is chaos, in my opinion, there is opportunity.  Ecotour operators are looking to provide their customers with unique experiences in the United States that will set them apart from the traditional mass-market tourism that has existed in this country.  Therefore, it would be worthwhile for farm stay operators to contact ecotour operators (which I could help with) to see if the farm can be included as part of an itinerary (i.e. providing accommodation, providing local farm lunch, helping with some light conservation work, conducting a tasting of local farm products, attending a farm food festival).

 

Promoting the educational value of farm activities


Many school curriculums are beginning to incorporate the use of a school garden into their science, health, nutrition, and math lessons.  What better way to bring these concepts to life than to have farm stay school programs that teaches about farm traditions and food production? (editor's note: read here about The Inn at East Hill Farm's Farm School program).

 

Basically, for both ecotourism and agritourism, it comes down to increased awareness and better perception of the industry's economic, social, and environmental benefits.  Since my family ecotour destinations company, Greenloons, has launched, the site has been phenomenally received.  It's been very exciting and proves that there is tremendous market potential for these unique, educational, and fun tour experiences.