By Sarah Bowers
Have you ever heard of a portmanteau? I hadn’t, but I bet you use portmanteaus often. It is a combination of two words to combine their meaning. Common examples are brunch, spork, and hangry just to name a few. Well, I’ve got a possibly new one for you: agritourism. Agritourism is the combination of agriculture and tourism, two of South Carolina’s leading economic industries. This includes any activity carried out on a working farm that allows the public to view and enjoy. This is a concept that has been embraced and thriving across counties in Europe for many many years but is still fairly new across much of the United States. For some, the image you may have in your head of agritourism is something like a full immersion experience like working on a dude ranch. While that is an example, it may more commonly look like u-pick strawberries, farm tours, summer camps, overnight stays, events and weddings, farm to table dinners, animal experiences, canning workshops and more, all taking place on a working farm.
People are seeking these opportunities for a sense of connectedness to their food, to creation, to a simpler and slower way of life. But, agritourism isn’t just for the visitor. It’s also for the farm. Agritourism is a vital aspect of rural economic development and vitality of a farm business. The ability for a farm to diversify its income to include aspects of agritourism can mean farms staying in a family’s ownership and remain a viable and reliable income stream. The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) values Agritourism so much they created the South Carolina Agritourism Association (SCAA), which maintains and produces things like the SCFarmFun.com website and the Agritourism Passport. In Newberry County alone, we have 14 Agritourism farms, four of which are members of SCAA with a lot going on this month for some farm fun!
Check out Lever Farms for their Fall Festival, every Friday (4:00pm-7:00pm) and Saturday (10:00am-5:00pm) in October. They will have educational wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, farm games, food vendors, and more!
Enoree River Winery is having their annual Harvest Festival Saturday, October 8th with special guest wineries, vendors, music, and food trucks. Also, on Sundays through November 20th the vineyard is open for their popular Unpack the Porch music series. Carolina Pride Pastures will be hosting an Alpaca 101 class for those interested in learning more about raising alpacas and don’t miss their Paint and Pour event on Sunday, October 16th! Newberry is so lucky to have so many farms eager to welcome you to see what they do and how they do it, to allow others to come and experience the beauty of the land they've been called to steward. Make agritourism part of the way you support local business and agriculture across our county, our state, and our country!