Dora Ann Hatch | 1/22/2015 3:06:44 AM
Most people love to travel and see new and different things. They also like to have an “experience” to share with friends. Traveling to agricultural destinations is not new and each year the United States welcomes visitors and interns from all over the world to experience agriculture. So why not, travel our state and experience agriculture too.
Let’s begin exploring our state with a trip on the Great River Road. The 3,000 mile stretch begins in Minnesota and travels through nine states before arriving in Louisiana. Visitors who travel the Great River Road are curious about present day and historical agriculture. Recently, I interviewed a traveler in Helena, Arkansas and asked him why he was following the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota to Louisiana. He answered by saying, “I wanted to see the Mississippi River that Mark Twain’s fictional character, Tom Sawyer, enjoyed as a child.”
Using the website: http://experiencemississippiriver.com/, he planned his road trip to see all the towns along the Mississippi River. While visiting these towns he learned about agriculture, music, culture and food.
As the agritourism coordinator with the LSU AgCenter, I frequently get e-mails and calls from people whose destination is New Orleans and I work with them to see other parts of the state before reaching their destination. Depending on the time of year they travel there is almost always an agricultural operation they can visit.
In January of 2014 a French Public Broadcast Station traveled to Louisiana to film at Frogmore Plantation in Ferriday. Frogmore Plantation is an agritourism site that contrasts a working cotton plantation in the early 1800’s to a modern cotton plantation and gin of today. While there, the Frenchmen toured the entire plantation complete with slave dwellings.
After leaving Frogmore, the Frenchmen joined a group from Louisiana Delta Adventures on a paddle down a section of the Mississippi River. Footage from the paddle and Frogmore can be found on You Tube at Echappées belles Louisiane France 5 du 11 01 2014 part 4/6.
In December of 2014, National Geographic stopped in Moreauville to film at WesMar Farms, a successful agritourism enterprise that provides goat milk and cheese to area markets, and is owned and operated by Wes and Marguerite Constantine. The farm was featured on “Eric Greenspan Is Hungry” television series on December 29, 2014. Throughout the year WesMar Farms hosts interns from around the country and around the world. These interns pay their own way to come to experience farm life and learn how things are done on the farm.
“Farm experiences” are popular in the European culture and now Europeans are traveling to America to broaden their experiences. The Constantine’s recalled that one of their most memorable interns was a pastry chef from Paris, who taught them how to make some tasty French desserts using goat cheese and milk.
So, what are you waiting for? Travel or state and see why international travelers are coming to visit. To learn more about agritourism in our state view our agritourism blog: http://louisianaagritourism.blogspot.com/, www.lsuagcenter.com/agritourism or look for venues on MarketMaker athttp://la.foodmarketmaker.com/