July 8, 2009

Though Independence Day is now past, there's still plenty of summer left for families to hit the road and reap the bounty of the many agritourism sites in the state.

Kentucky has a proud agricultural heritage. Families can cultivate that pride and heritage in their children by visiting the many farms and agricultural businesses that open their gates to the public.

On-farm markets, such as those in the Kentucky Farm Bureau Certified Roadside Market Program, offer tours that provide unique farm scenery, educational experiences and often include interesting historical perspectives of the farm or region. 

"Most go out of their way to provide a comfortable family environment and a wide range of experiences," said Tim Woods, agricultural economist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. "People can interact with the farmer and learn about where milk comes from, how fruit is grown, how a greenhouse works, pet goats or sheep, ride around the farm and learn how farmers work to help the environment."

Local wine is an industry that is growing rapidly throughout the Mid-South. Kentucky has more than 30 wineries open to the public, each with its own slate of special tasting and cultural events as well as many unique locally-grown products. 

Another highlight of a Kentucky vacation is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in the central part of the state. Kentucky distilleries are a rich part of the state's agricultural history, and many of the distilleries have created tours that educate participants about their agricultural roots.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau Certified Roadside Market Program provides the Kentucky Farms Are Fun Web site, http://www.kentuckyfarmsarefun.com, which includes a directory of agritourism sites and events around the state