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Friday, May 6, 2016

Enjoying things close to home

Thursday, October 1, 2009

When driving down the road, we are often thinking of things that need to be done, things we rushed through and trying to remember what we might have forgotten.

Being lost in our thoughts, often cause us to miss out on some of the little things we might enjoy in life. Some of the things you might enjoy can be found through the unique and growing segment in agriculture called "Agritourism."

There are numerous definitions for agritourism, but the Small Farm Center at the University of California-Davis defines it as "the act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural, or agribusiness operation for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement in the activities of the farm operation."

Therefore, there are a lot of exciting things that can classify as agritourism.

Agritourism sites can range from a harvest festival, on farm tours, pick-your-own crop harvests, bed and breakfasts, hayrides and even the growing popular corn maze.

The 2009 Indiana Farmer's Market, U-Pick and Agritourism Directory gives a few locations where you might find some enjoyment in the coming days.

These places include Buttonwoods at Sycamore Farm in Terre Haute, Bugle Valley Elk Farm in Roachdale, English's Buffalo Farm in Bainbridge, Freeman Family Farms in Bloomington, Hobson's Farm and Greenhouse in Rockville, Musgrave Orchard and Co. in Bloomington, and Swanee Orchard in Terre Haute.

For these locations, it might be best to call ahead to find out if they are open prior to visiting. Since it is not a must to advertise in the 2009 Indiana Farmer's Market, U-Pick and Agritourism Directory, not all sources of agritourism will be found there. Instead, you might find a source for agritourism in your own neighborhood. If you do, feel free to share your treasured site with others so that they may experience agriculture in a new light.

Slightly outside the realm of agritourism are the ever popular farmers' markets and roadside stands. We are getting close to the end of the season for these types of events, but there are still some farmers' markets going on.

In particular, there is the Downtown Terre Haute Farmers' Market, Community Farmers' Market in Owen County, and the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market, which go on through October on Saturday mornings.

Unlike farmers' markets, there are no defined times or locations where roadside stands exist. Instead, they are places that you stumble upon when you are driving. Often, you don't realize what you have found until you have passed it up.

Therefore, if you are like me, you have to turn around to come back to it. At the roadside stands, you might find apples, gourds, pumpkins, chrysanthemums and maybe some lingering vegetables that producers were able to grow this year.

Both pumpkins and chrysanthemums are signs that fall is here and we need to start preparing for the upcoming winter months.

So when you are buying your items at the various orchards, farmers' markets and roadside stands, don't forget to buy a little extra if you think you might want to use the pumpkins as fall decorations by painting or carving them with your children and grandchildren.

Fall is a great time of year that provides numerous unique opportunities to the citizens in rural communities. For starters, they are provided with the beautiful landscapes they can drive around in thanks to the changing leaves.

But even more special than the landscapes associated with rural Indiana is the wonderful produce that comes from the land. Therefore, while you're out and about this fall, don't forget about the various agritourism opportunities available, the farmers' markets still going on and the roadside stands.

Those places give you a chance to enjoy the labors of agriculture without the hassle of going to the grocery store.

For more information on agritourism in Indiana or for help with marketing your farm products in the coming year, contact your local Purdue Extension Office by calling 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County.

If you would like to contact me directly, I can be reached at either of the two numbers listed or via e-mail at smith535@purdue.edu.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Oct. 7 -- Garden Club Autumn Meeting, McCormick's Creek State Park, 5:30 p.m.,

* Oct. 8 -- Owen County Ag Day with Owen Valley FFA,

* Oct. 8 -- Owen Monroe Cattlemen's Association, Owen County Extension Office, 6:30 p.m.,

* Oct. 12 -- Owen County Ag Advisory Board meeting, Owen County Extension Office, 6 p.m.,

* Oct. 15 -- Clay County Ag Advisory Board meeting, Clay County Extension Office, 6 p.m.,

* Oct. 17 -- Owen County Extension Board annual dinner, Owen County Fairgrounds. Call for tickets, and

* Oct. 19 -- 4-H Award Program, Owen County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.