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American Ecotourism is Agritourism in Southern California
Daytrips in Southern California open spaces are fun and bountifulEcotourism is often thought of as visiting distant lands and learning about rainforests and volcanos and glaciers. But there's a new twist. Agritourism. The number of Americans who even KNOW someone who lives on a farm is drastically shrinking. People like to know where their food comes from. Where their roots in nature are still attainable. And that's small agriculture.
Small is relative. Today's small farm could be several hundred acres where it was just 60 acres during horse and buggy days. With today's powerful implements, a farm family can work larger acreages, and they have to in order to keep up with mass production of corporate farms.
That's where diversification of income plays a role. In order to maximize revenue during the cyclical challenges of drought, freezes and other natural cycles, farmers are learning to turn their daily work into adventure for their city neighbors.
California is America's produce center -- growing more fresh vegetables and fruits than any other state. Partly because of size. Partly because of our 4-season growing calendar. Partly because of the large, fertile valleys that are still largely agricultural economies.
But what might not be as well known is the new ecotourism that is flourishing through agri-tourism that ranges from hayrides to holiday stays on working farms and ranches.
The University of California's Small Farm Center has developed an online database of agri-tourism information to provide a connection between visitors and these small businesses.
You'll find the database at: CalAgTour.org
You'll be astounded at the variety and delight to be experienced at agri-tourism locations as:
VENTURAChristmas Ranch Tree Farms in Simi Valley
Organic Sorbets at Natural Choice foods in Oxnard
Fruits and vegetables at Underwood Farmily Farms in Moorpark
LOS ANGELESRiver rafting at American Whitewater Expeditions in Sunland
Pick your own apples, apricots, pears, cherries, peaches and pears at Brian Ranch in Llano
And of course, pumpkins and Christmas trees at Nancy's Ranch in Valencia
SAN BERNARDINOVisit a working calf ranch at Amy's Farm Tours in Chino
Pumpkin pies and turnovers, along with BBQ at Riley's at Los Rio Ranch in Yucaipa
Make apple cider at Willowbrook Apple Farm in Oak Glen
ORANGEEnjoy cat and pet shows at Centennial Farm in Costa Mesa
Thrill to pig races, a corn maze and pony rides at Peltzer Farms in Orange
And take a guided wagon ride around the strawberry and pumpkins at Tanaka Farms in Irvine
RIVERSIDEEver heard of the exotic Jojoba oil? Learn about it at Jerry Segall Farm in Palm Desert
Get acquainted with mules, donkeys and horses at Lavender Hill Farms in Nuevo
Taste dates and tour the Oasis Date Gardens in Thermal
Meet and greet at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert
SAN DIEGOWander through nursery plants and a variety of gifts and crafts at Anderson's La Costa Nursery in Encinitias
Pick up tasty delights at the Farmers Market at Atkins Nursery in Fallbrook
Learn the citrus delights of avocados and oranges, and how gourds grow at Baiamonte Floral & Gourd Farm in Escondido
Then try Fuyu persimmons at Bar2 Ranch in Pauma Valley