Top 8 agritourism experiences
Our favorite ways to experience the romance of the small farm (and pick up new skills), from now into harvest season
by Jess Thomson
The allure of the farm has always been powerful: It’s a throwback to a simpler way of life, in a setting that’s a whole lot more scenic than our daily office park habitat. And for many farmers, new tourist interest has allowed their farms to thrive. “Farmers are recognizing that people are willing to pay for this experience,” says Penny Leff, agritourism coordinator for the University of California Small Farm Program, whose researchers have seen a boost in the number of farms catering to visitors in recent years.
Another piece behind the agri-boom is that many of us are seeking experiences that go beyond a comfy bed and good meal. Barb Varian of the V6 Ranch in Parkfield, California, says booking inquiries for her family’s cattle drives have risen about 50 percent in the past two years. “As our world becomes busier, it seems people are longing for an adventure,” she says. In that spirit, here are our picks for farms to visit, whether you’re the type who likes waking up to a bottle of fresh milk on your doorstep—or wants to milk the cow.
ESCAPE FROM IT ALL
Forget five-star hotels. If you really want to feel completely away, book into a farm.
Monteillet Fromagerie, near Dayton, WA. Save for the fact it’s in Eastern Washington, everything about the Fromagerie is unabashedly French. Rent the farmside gîte (French for “holiday home”) and live your own agrarian fantasy, with eggs, milk, and cheese straight from the farm, and a vegetable garden just outside your door. $200; monteilletcheese.com