Keeping It Simple in 2014

Dora Ann Hatch  |  12/3/2013 9:56:58 PM

Dora Ann Hatch is the Agritourism Coordinator for the LSU AgCenter.

In 2014, think simple. Reconnect with nature and the land. Louisiana has lots to offer the outdoorsman or woman. We have beautiful landscapes all across our state and our food, what can I say. We have some of the best food in the United States.

Here are some suggestions for the New Year. Think about staying close to home and discovering the special places near you. If getting more exercise is one of your New Year’s resolutions, travel to one of our state parks or national wildlife refuges. These places all have identified trails that you can enjoy.

Agritourism operators across our state have some very unique venues for you to visit with your family and friends too. Some of those destinations can be found using MarketMaker, an online location service, that is free to the user. MarketMaker can be found on the web at their website.  At least 27 states have a MarketMaker site and Louisiana has the two most popular agritourism and commodity listings. They are WesMar Farms in Moreauville and Gonsoulin Land and Cattle in New Iberia.

WesMar Farms is a Louisiana licensed Goat Dairy that raises animals with a natural approach to animal husbandry. Customers who visit their farm can purchase Grade A Pasteurized Goat milk, soft goat cheeses (chevre), mildly aged feta, chocolate goat cheese truffles and handcrafted goat milk soaps. For those who desire a tour and an opportunity to get up close and personal to the goats, that can be arranged by calling the dairy at (318) 985-2095 or visiting them on their website.  WesMar Farms also sells to locally eateries in their area and supports the farm to table movement.

Gonsoulin Land and Cattle has tours upon request by calling. They sell to well-known grocery stores and restaurants in the New Orleans area. Their grass fed beef is processed at an inspected facility and delivered as boxed cuts that are vacuumed packed either fresh or flash frozen. They are now offering grass-fed lamb and pork. Learn more about their family business by logging onto their website or by calling (337) 519-7848.

Another popular listing on MarketMaker is PaPa Simpson’s Farm located in Arcadia. In the agritourism business since 2003 they offer educational tours for school-age children that include farm animals and horticulture. They also host birthday parties, family gatherings, corporate events, and church gatherings. Run by the Jerry Simpson Family it’s a great place to visit to share farm memories with your family. They can be found on MarketMaker, online or by calling: (318) 263-2383.

There are five winery’s listed on the MarketMaker site too. These are located around the state. They are Landry Vineyards and Winery in West Monroe; Amato’s Winery in Independence; Becnel Plantation LLC in Vacherie; Casa De Sue Winery in Clinton; and Pontchatrain Vineyards in Covington.

Simply log onto the MarketMaker website and under “select a business,” select the “winery” option. Click “search” and you will see these five pop up. Then you can individually click on each listing. A very brief statement about what they offer is listed as well as a website and phone number.

So, keep it simple in 2014, reconnect with farm, land and family and enjoy some of the special places Louisiana has to offer. If you need assistance in starting an agritourism operation log onto our website.
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