There’s a worldwide yearning (because of COVID, perhaps) to get back to what really matters — not only family, friends and the great outdoors but also organic, sustainable and locally grown food. In the not-too-distant past, even though we lived in cities, we knew someone — maybe grandma and grandpa — who lived on a farm or ranch. As the world became more urbanized, many of us lost that connection but still want to reconnect with farm and field. The name for this vacation trend: agritourism.
Farmers and ranchers support agritourism not only to augment their income but also to engage their guests in the process of growing and harvesting food. There’s something timeless about tending heritage chickens, pressing olive oil, making goat cheese or riding out at dawn to check on the cattle. Later, enjoy an early dinner — maybe heirloom tomato-topped pizza in a brick oven, or country-style ribs in cast iron — and stargazing in a night sky unaffected by city lights.
Accommodations vary widely: a hayloft, sheep wagon, bunkhouse, farmhouse bed-and-breakfast, rustic-chic vintage trailer, historic log cabin, wooden tree house … or pitch your own tent in a meadow next to a fast-flowing brook. Wake up to country sounds: roosters crowing, birds chirping and horses nickering. Breathe in the cool morning air. Then savor a field- to-fork breakfast featuring homegrown and locally sourced products.
The best resource for authentic farm and working ranch vacations in the United States is farmstayus.com, where you’ll find a comprehensive listing of accredited properties that offer stays for a day, week or longer. The properties can be a lavender farm in New Mexico, a sheep ranch in Montana, a tropical orchard in Hawai’i or a maple sugar farm in Vermont. For more than 300 listings in Europe, ranging from luxury farmhouse hotels in Spain to stays in Tuscan vineyards and Sicilian citrus orchards, visit farmstayplanet.com. Rates range $75–500 per day and usually include all meals and activities.
If you have a self-contained RV or travel trailer, Harvest Hosts (harvesthosts.com) proves a good resource. Membership ($99–139/year) includes access to more than 2,500 camping possibilities at ranches, farms, orchards, breweries and vineyards across the United States.
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