We’re nearing that point of summer when the dreaded words start to slip out of kids’ mouths all over the country: “I’m bored!” For many places, school has been out for over a month. With another six to eight weeks of summer remaining, many parents are trying to come up with fun ideas for their kids that are affordable, outdoors and don’t involve electronic devices.
Thankfully, Missouri is blessed with hundreds of opportunities statewide to get both kids and adults outside to use their imaginations and learn about almost anything through our robust agritourism industry. And that comes not a moment too soon, because with gas hovering at $5 per gallon, there are undoubtedly multiple options within a short drive of wherever you live.
As farmers and ranchers continue to adapt and bring family members back to the farm business, agritourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in agriculture. Combining agriculture and tourism – the two biggest industries in Missouri – provides endless possibilities year-round. While your mind might immediately go to the farmer’s market that pops up every Saturday in your downtown square or the pumpkin patch where you pick up the October porch decorations, agritourism expands well beyond that.
For instance, find the berries that look best to you at a U-pick-it orchard or berry farm. My family picks strawberries and blueberries each year and packs our freezer so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor year-round. Grab some friends and spend time savoring local Missouri wines at a winery. Pack a bag with your special someone and spend a night next weekend at a farm bed and breakfast. From gardens to museums, restaurants to distilleries, Missouri has great options for all ages!
Missouri Farm Bureau’s website has a detailed directory featuring nearly 600 Missouri-owned-and-operated agritourism businesses. We understand the importance of agritourism for the state. In addition to serving as a clearinghouse between patrons and operators, every summer our team loads up buses and heads to different regions of the state for our Agritourism Conference. This year’s event will be held July 17-19 in southwest Missouri. We have roundtable discussions about relevant agritourism topics as well as one full day of tours of local agritourism destinations. Attendees will have the tour day capped with a farm-to-table style dinner and wine pairing with the Missouri Wine & Grape Board at Christine’s Vineyard just outside of Joplin.
So the next time you’re searching for a fun friend or family adventure, check out one or more of the amazing destinations listed on our website. You won’t regret it!