As culinary tourism has exploded in popularity, there are now many ways to explore and find new dishes and farms that focus heavily on local foods or even agriculture. More and more people are trying to connect with their food sources by eating at restaurants that source fresh ingredients locally or from sustainable farming practices.
Some go as far as supporting farmers’ markets where they can access quality produce and unique seasonings. Others will try to eat as naturally as possible by seeking out raw or vegan diets or vegetarian options. Many enjoy searching for recipes using ingredients that come directly from nature or that emphasize natural products such as dried fruits and vegetables.
With all of these trends, it is easy to get overwhelmed! There are so many different types of travelers looking for authentic experiences when it comes to food, making it hard to know what tips and tricks exist and who may be able to help you with that.
This article will talk about some simple agritourism ideas and how you can use them to add depth to your farm visits, restaurant outings, and overall food adventures.
Visit a farm
Many farms offer tours where you can learn about farming practices, how to cook with fresh produce, or even how to bake with fruits and vegetables! There are many ways to enjoy agricultural tourism. Some of the more popular types include visiting a dairy farm to see cheese making, eating at an agriculture restaurant that uses ingredients mostly sourced from local farmers, and baking in your own kitchen using seasonal recipes made with fresh food.
Many restaurants use sources such as olive oil that were grown and processed in their location. By supporting these businesses through agrotourism, you help promote economic growth for the area while giving back to the community. It is also very satisfying to know that your meal was cooked with care and taste because they used only natural resources.
Some hotels have cooking classes during your stay which gives you new ideas to try out yourself or just for fun.
Stay in a bed and breakfast
If you are looking to stay at more expensive hotels, then try out a bed and breakfast or agritourism property instead. These types of properties focus on providing farmhouse style accommodations along with local food and agriculture experiences as part of their services.
Many have working farms that offer tours during off hours so you can see what crops grow well and how farmers manage them. Some even let guests cook using locally sourced ingredients!
There are many sites with reviews and information about these types of stays, make sure to do your research before deciding which one is right for you.
Go to a farm stand
This is one of the best ways to find new foods and culinary experiences in America. Most major cities have at least one farm stand where you can pick up fresh produce, meat, baked goods, or even snacks like apple slices or carrot sticks.
Many sellers will cater to local foodies by offering samples of their products which are delicious and authentic! The area around your farm stand may offer some additional agritourist attractions as well so do not hesitate to check them out.
For example, just outside my farm stand there is an animal shelter that offers educational tours for kids. They get to meet all sorts of animals and learn about wildlife conservation.
There’s also a large pond nearby that houses many types of birds and other wildlife. Since I work with organic vegetables, I let people take what they want for free but most people buy lots of stuff!
The farmers I deal with know me so they always tell me how much money I make off their sales so it’s kind of embarrassing 🙂 But I would be surprised if they didn’t enjoy the exposure too.
Eat at a restaurant
While staying in a hotel or taking food and beverages from vending machines and/or supplies of snacks, they are not considered eating out. At an eating establishment, the dishes served usually come directly from the kitchen, where the cook made them and paid their salaries.
There is a growing trend across America to eat locally and seasonally. This is called farm-to-table cuisine or agri-foods. The term “local” refers to where the ingredients for the foods you are eating comes from, and “seasonal” means the seasons determine what vegetables grow well and which ones do not.
This can mean trying new things like eating acorns or grass because these plants have enough nutrition to keep you healthy. Some people even go as far as practicing vegetarian or vegan diets if there are no local sources of meat, fish, eggs, and cheese.
Many cities offer tours that take place mostly in restaurants and teach how to prepare local foods. These are often organized by either a specific ingredient (like carrots) or type of cuisine (Latin American cooking).
Visit a farm brewery
There are many ways to enjoy craft beer, with some drinkers preferring their brews strong and bold. But what if we took that concept and applied it to farming? What if there were farms where you could sample local foods or beverages made from fruits, vegetables, milk, or meat sourced right here on the farm?
That’s exactly what is happening across America! It’s an exciting new trend in agtourism called “farm brewery.” These unique experiences feature locally brewed products such as fermented milk (like kefir) or yogurt, fresh vegetables, and sometimes even fruit juice added into the alcohol of your choice!
Not only do these recipes add flavor, but they can also provide health benefits for you. Many believe fermentation is a source of nutrition for your body. Probiotics, which are live microorganisms that aid in digestion and overall wellness, are one of the main components of most fermented drinks.
This article will discuss some fun farm brewery tour options and why they matter to our environment and health.
Do a food tour
A food tour is great way to experience all there is to learn about eating and cooking. Most food tours have you visiting different restaurants or eateries for lunch or dinner with your group, exploring the types of cuisine and drinks they offer, and discussing what you eat and drink while touring around town.
Some groups also do activities like making snacks or meals at their destination, or even bake some cookies or make pasta together!
Food Tours are always including educational information about where your foods comes from and how to best use and enjoy them, which is an excellent way to know more people. They’re also a fun way to spend time traveling and learning new things.
Go to a farm festival
This is one of the best ways to enjoy agritourism in America, particularly during spring or summer when festivals are frequent. There you can taste local food and beverages, meet locally grown produce farmers, experience agricultural fields or pastures as settings for culinary creativity, and learn about farming practices.
Many farms hold events every year where attendees can try new foods, take part in educational activities, and/or even get some tips from professionals. Some may have live music or entertainment too!
Festivals usually feature several different types of cuisine that use ingredients either directly sourced from the event’s supporting organization or supplied by participating vendors. These include snacks and drinks such as fruits, vegetables, sodas, wines, and more.
It is very common at these events to see lots of people enjoying what they eat while talking with each other about their experiences. People often comment how good the food was or on how much they loved an ingredient or dish.
What is interesting is watching them discuss the origins of certain products and how this winery or that grape variety influenced the way it is made. It is like having a small lecture followed by eating delicious things!
There is also a chance to connect with others who love agriculture and/or food. Many people feel passionate about both so it is easy to find like minded individuals to chat with. For example, someone might talk about cheese making or how to cook greens properly.
Eat at a local farm restaurant
Many restaurants offer to pick up or carry out food, which can be expensive if you are not careful with your money. By going into a rural area or even outside of town, you will get better quality meat and produce.
Some farms have their own restaurants that feature locally sourced foods and fresh ingredients. This is an excellent way to experience agritourism while eating well!
Many people enjoy eating at these types of restaurants because they feel more connected to what they eat. The farmers and growers know who you are and how much you love their products, so it feels more authentic than ordering takeout from a restaurant chain.
There may also be special discounts for dining at the restaurant during off season or non-farm hours, such as nightfall.