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 more...>Community Rural Development>Agritourism>Newsletters>

The Louisiana Agritourism Connection July 2012

 


Landry Vineyards
Jeff Landry, owner of Landry Vineyards in West Monroe, talks with Steve Hotard, LSU AgCenter agent.
Agritourism, a business venture on a working farm, ranch or agricultural enterprise, is growing in popularity throughout the United States. Agritourism blends entertainment, education and tourism together to provide a fun, exciting and memorable getaway for school trips and family outings. This website provides educational resources to assist new and existing entrepreneurs in developing, expanding and improving their agritourism ventures.


This edition offers information on Curry Farms’ Second Pumpkin Growing Contest; Landry Vineyards harvest and celebration; tips to sell produce; stories of successful agritourism operations in Vermont and Texas; and funding for nature-based tourism development in northeast Louisiana.


Curry Farms
Curry Farms, Inc. in Start, LA.
Curry Farms, Inc., located in Start, just minutes off I-20, will host another pumpkin-growing contest this year. Curry Farms supplies the pumpkin seed and you plant, harvest and bring your big pumpkin to the contest for weigh-in. Check the Facebook page for more information.

What does it take to grow a winner? Timing is everything; seeds take 85-120 days before they reach maturity. Next, select a well-drained area that receives at least eight hours of sunlight each day. For more detailed information, click here.




Landry Vineyards in West Monroe
Come experience a grape harvest at Landry Vineyards. The picking begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 11th and the crushing begins shortly thereafter. You will want to arrive on time. If you pick, the Landry’s will treat you to lunch. Return again that evening beginning at 6 p.m. for the “Celebration of Bringing in the Crops”; ladies get to stomp the grapes. For more on experiencing this agritourism venture, click here.


Yellow Rails and Rice Festival
The Yellow Rails and Rice Festival will host its fourth festival this fall. The festival is scheduled for October 24-28. This year, lots of workshops have been added. Register early; there is a limited amount of space for some of the offerings. The Yellow Rails and Rice Festival is an excellent example of a celebration bringing farmer and birder together. Click here for a copy of the agenda, workshops and registration details.


Whether you sell produce through farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) or roadside stands, earning the customers’ trust and loyalty is important. Winning customers over can take time but can be financially rewarding.

Below are some suggestions:

  • Look neat, clean and happy to see your customers.
  • Engage customers quickly. Always assume a standing position instead of a sitting position. Standing allows you to move toward the customer with a greeting.
  • Keep consistent hours. Arrive when the market opens; stay until the market closes.
  • Be informative about your products. Customers like to ask questions about how produce is grown, when it’s in season and how to serve or prepare certain produce.
  • Exceed customers’ expectations. Carry heavy items to cars, provide recipes, give an extra handful of the product they are purchasing.
  • Apologize when things go wrong. It’s difficult to make everyone happy all the time. Realize there will be days or moments when things go wrong, and a quick apology, even though you have done nothing wrong, will show customers you value their business.
  • Thank customers for their business. A simple thank-you lets customers know you appreciate them and want to have the opportunity to serve them again.



Liberty Hill Farm Inn

Visit VisitVermont.com to learn how working farms are taking their farming assets and creating added income. Liberty Hill Farm Inn is just one of many operations available to choose from. During your stay at Liberty Hill you can milk cows, feed calves, collect eggs, swim, tube, fly fish, hike, pick wild berries, take wildflower walks, mountain bike, cross-country ski, star gaze, rainbow watch, cuddle kittens, and much, much more.

With the exception of cross-country skiing, all these activities are possible in Louisiana. So, maybe it’s time to reconsider your farming operation to include tourism.




farm to fork
Garden Photo:AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Joyce Marshall
Elizabeth Samudio in Fort Worth, Texas, is providing a real farming and tasting experience for children ages 6-12. She started a day camp that teaches children how food is grown, how to harvest and how to prepare for tasting. Parents of participants like the camp and say their children now are more open to trying new vegetables after helping harvest on the farm.

According to the American Camping Association, over the last five years, 84 percent of camps have added gardening activities and another 12 percent have added farm- or ranch-related activities to their schedules.




The LSU AgCenter is partnering with the U.S. Department of Interior to help revitalize the Tensas River. The AgCenter plans to work with the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge to create paddling trails within the refuge. Trail development will begin in July and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, Ken Salazar, plans to dedicate the trail head on September 15 during the refuge’s annual hunting and fishing day.


paddling trio
The LSU AgCenter recently received a $235,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to facilitate efforts to make the northeast Louisiana parishes bordering the Mississippi River a premiere nature tourism destination based on unexploited natural resources.

The funds will be used to continue work with local stakeholders, friends of wildlife refuges, local businesses and community organizations for developing nature-based tourism, said Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter agritourism coordinator who will serve as project leader.

Hatch believes the grant will create opportunities for employment based on nature tourism, eco-tourism, agritourism, cultural heritage tourism and wildlife-related activities such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, outdoor photography, canoeing, kayaking and hiking. She envisions both public and private landowners working together to create northeast Louisiana as a destination for all forms of nature based tourism.




To learn more about agritourism in Louisiana, contact Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter agritourism coordinator, at (318) 927-9654 Ext. 229 or email her.
Last Updated: 7/2/2013 12:30:20 PM

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