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California Agritourism

Agricultural tourism, or agri-tourism, is one alternative for improving the incomes and potential economic viability of small farms and rural communities. Some forms of agri-tourism enterprises are well developed in California - including fairs, festivals, etc. Other possibilities still offer potential for development.

Agritourism Overview

The California Agricultural Homestay Bill, (AB 1258), passed in July 1999, paved the way for more farmers and ranchers to offer tourists overnight visits. The bill exempts farms and ranching operations that offer overnight stays from the more stringent requirements of operating a commercial restaurant. To qualify for overnight stays, the farms and ranches must produce agricultural products as their primary source of income. Additionally, farmers are limited to six guest rooms and 15 visitors a night - less than the amount allowed for a bed and breakfast operation.

In California, agricultural and on-farm nature tourism has increased in popularity, in both supply—farmers and ranchers—and demand—tourists and consumers of agricultural products and services.and Yolo Counties. Methods Utilizing a purchased mailing list, we surveyed Agriculture evolves through time and leaves a trail of intriguing artifacts, tools and fossils, structures and memories that create a living cultural heritage, usually particular to specific locations.

Opportunities range from farmers markets to educational farm and ranch tours. Tourists look for opportunities to purchase fresh/homemade products, purchase directly from farmers, experience nature, and vacation/relax.

Agriculture and rural space hold value, particularly for urban residents who may not have frequent access to open space. Urban and suburban residents were more likely to place value on open space than were rural or small town respondents. Urban/suburban residents valued land in orchards or vineyards most frequently (52 percent), followed by woodlands (37 percent). Cropland was rated as important twice as frequently (23 percent) as farmsteads (11 percent) in enhancing the quality of farm tourism experience by these visitors.

So... it looks like urban residents would love to visit rural farms that offer pick your own orchards or vineyards, a picnic area or woodlands, or a nice bed and breakfast for relaxing. Sounds enticing, doesn't it?

Some agritourism locations offer fascinating tourism potential that especially thrill children (and the young at heart): Sheep, Alpacas, Goats, Weaving and Spinning, Knitting and Garment Weaving
And there are festivals and farmers markets that offer fresh off the farm treats and yummy organic produce such as:
Olives and Olive Oil, Herbs, Herbal Based Products, Smaller Scale Orchards and Berries such as strawberries and raspberries. The variety is endless when you explore a locally organized agritourism trail.

Napa Yolono harvest trails network including: Napa, Yolo, and Solano counties.

The Yolo County Fair is expanding its original Olive Oil Competition to include Extra Virgin Olive Oil and flavored Olive Oil produced anywhere in California. This competition will be professionally judged and extensively publicized. A post-judging gala will be held on May 7, 2006 to invite the public to taste award winning olive oils and allow producers to meet the public directly.

Where do you find these fascinating retreats from urban jungles? How about the California Agri-tourism Database?

For more articles about California Nature

California Beach Communities
Common Native Plants of Southern California Uplands
Natural Los Angeles Resources
Common Native Wildlife of Southern California
Common Native Birds of Southern California
Attracting California birds with native plants
Los Angeles Urban Forest
There's a Park Near You in Los Angeles
News about the SoCal Environment
Least Terns Preserve on the LA Beach
Visiting California Beach Communities - An Overview
Los Angeles Area Nature Link List