October 22, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald
GEORGETOWN, Ky.
Mark Reese, far left, and tour participants listen  to a presentation at Amerson Farm Orchard.

Mark Reese, far left, and tour participants listen to a presentation at Amerson Farm Orchard.

Agritourism, or “agri-tainment” as Scott County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Mark Reese calls it, is thriving this fall with farm festivals and community events.

The University of Kentucky Central Region Cooperative Extension Service recently sponsored a day in Scott County where participants traveled from one farm to another and even to downtown Georgetown to get a taste of agritourism opportunities along The Harvest Trail.

“Harvest Trail is a comprehensive concept that’s been put together here in Scott County to highlight all the on-farm activities and to highlight the entire community as well,” Reese said. “It’s an opportunity to promote the fact that folks who want to experience on-farm activities can come to Scott County to do so.”

Reese has worked with local farms, the Georgetown/Scott County Tourism office and the Georgetown Renaissance Program to put together a unique “trail” of activities for tourists. The downtown area is now more well-known for its fall decorations than for its Christmas decorations, Reese said.

“Georgetown is very fortunate that we have a very beautiful downtown,” said Darlene Albin, director of the Georgetown Renaissance Program. “Our buildings are well-maintained. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges; anyone who owns an old home knows that it’s not an easy task.”

A brochure for the Harvest Trail reads “from pumpkins to ponies, apples to antiques, and ‘buffaloes’ to bargains, there’s something for everyone.” That’s just what has been assembled. Folks can start the day out at several of Scott County’s farms, eat lunch in historic Georgetown and then wander back out to more farms, festivals and shops. The brochure has an easy-to-follow map with all the locations marked, as well as phone numbers to local hotels and attractions. 

“We try to get everyone working toward one common goal for this community,” Reese said. “I think we’ve been successful at that.”

Bi-Water Farm hosts hundreds of school children every year from local schools and as far away as Morgan County. They have dozens of value-added products such as jams, jellies and candies in their gift shop, and guests can walk through a 5-acre corn maze, a petting zoo and a spooky farmhouse.

Other popular farms like Double Stink Hog Farm, Amerson Farm Market, Finch Farm and Evans Orchard offer pony and camel rides, crafts, apples, mums, fresh cider and more. 

“We really hope to go further and help those already in the business with how to market, how to build a Website and how to target audiences that will bring the most and best business to their farms,” Reese said.

Andre` Brousseau, a Danville bed and breakfast owner and chair of the Kentucky Agritourism Council participated in the tour. He came to share ideas with others in the business and see what was going on in other areas of the state. Seven years ago, Brousseau and his family unknowingly got into the agritourism business. 

They purchased a 1780s home on the National Registry of Historic Places. They operate a bed and breakfast from the home. They also operate a winery, pottery business and an organic farm. He said people who stayed at their bed and breakfast would ask questions about the farm and winery and now it’s led naturally into a great agritourism opportunity for the entire family.

“People want to get back to the farm,” he said. “They want to know and to show their families where milk, tobacco, corn, etc. come from. It’s fantastic if they can go to the farm and learn this – that is agritourism.”

People have visited Brousseau’s enterprise from 30 different states and from all over the world in the seven years they’ve been at it. He believes there is a lot of room for others to get into the agritourism business.

“I think there is a good opportunity for others to get involved in agritourism,” he said. “If people come to my farm I can then send them down the road to a u-pick strawberry patch…a u-pick blueberry path…someplace nearby to ride horses. All of these things can work together as long as we cooperate.”

Brousseau echoed a statement he heard Reese say to the group early in the tour.
“It’s a little hard to cooperate because we are all so independent,” he admitted. “We all want to do our thing our way, but with agritourism we can do our thing our way and still help our neighbor next door.”

UK is sponsoring an Opportunities in Agritourism conference in Harrodsburg on Nov. 6 at Anderson Circle Farm. Registration is $10 and includes all materials and lunch. Contact Mark Reese for more information at 502-863-0984.

Contact: 

Writer: Aimee D. Heald 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Source: Mark Reese 502-863-0984