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Agritourism on the Rise

Reported by: Bryan Callahan
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Updated: 4/29/2013 5:54 pm
Do you know where your food comes from?
That’s one of the ideas driving agritourism throughout the country, and more and more farmers are considering adding the tool to their operations.

A 2011 report showed 2.4 million people visited California farms generating $35 million in revenue.

A dozen farmers and ranchers from all over Northern California gathered at Chaffin Family Orchards in Oroville learn how they can earn a piece of the agritourism revenue.

"It is a very strong economic development tool that farmers and ranchers and counties can take advantage of," Larry Akin, President of the Central Sacramento Valley RC&D Council said.

Chaffin Family Orchards has embraced ag tourism for several years on the two thousand acre farm.
They are already an annual stop on the Sierra Oro Farm Trail and regularly host school field trips.

"I think it is definitely the wave of the future. We want people to be able to experience the farm in an educational way," managing partner Chris Kerston said.

The farms latest venture is as the third U.S. site for Feather Down Farm Days.
It allows tourists to stay in fully equipped tent cabins on the farm and take part in everyday farm activities.

"To see those kids put those connections together in terms of collecting the eggs with us or milking the cows. Those small moments where the kids actually make the connection between food and the farm," Livestock and agritourism supervisor Kelsey Maben said.

Farm managers are also working to set up a community kitchen where different families can gather together to cook meals made from items they picked on the farm.
It’s all in hopes that they will remember the value of farm fresh produce the next time they go to stock the fridge.

"The underlying goal is that people understand how hard farmers work and appreciate their food on a different level, and are willing to pay for that appreciation," Kerston said.

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