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Farm Stays and Agritourism

June 6, 2011

As part of the Mother Earth News Fair we attended this weekend I was able to sit in on a workshop on Farm Stays led by Scottie Jones, the woman who started www.farmstayus.com.  This new site follows a successful model used in Europe and Australia to connect travels and farmers together to mutual benefit. The Farm Stay site is full of information, easy to use and looks great. Scottie is hoping to add online booking capability soon making reservations quicker for everyone involved.

Using the “Find a Farm” feature from the site we were able to look at farms we might want to visit on future vacations. The accommodations available are everything from a top of the line Bed & Breakfast to tent platforms. The farms represented are just as diverse from huge ranches, to vineyards; there was even small family farm on a city lot with rooms available.

One stand out place from our first search was Willow-Witt Ranch, an off-the-grid goat and pig farm near Ashland, Oregon. The have pack goats that hike with you carrying your picnic supplies, adorable piglets in the spring and “rustic” tent accommodations that still include a bed! (All pictures from the Willow-Witt Ranch)

 

Farm Stays have yet to catch on in the U.S. mainstream, there are only 20 farms listed on the site for all of Washington.  But with 46,000 visitors to the Farm Stay website in the first year hopefully this trend will continue to grow. It is an idea that we are excited about both as tourists and farmers. Jones hopes to start a North American Farm Stay Association in the next three to five years and we wish her the best of luck!

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