Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I heart Agritourism

At our house, we school 6 weeks on, 1 week off. A whole week off usually affords us some rest and a renewed perspective when we return to our busy school routine. I try to "save" big projects around the house for these breaks; moving furniture around or switching out summer clothes for winter, or maybe even cleaning out the car*. And I defnitely like to plan some kind of adventure for the kids and I that we normally wouldn't make time for. 

Well, it's fall and I love fall and all that comes with it- rain, turning leaves, pumpkin everything. So this week I took the kids to a pumpkin farm. 

We've been to lots of pumpkin patches in our area but this one was new to us and it's now my new favorite. 

 Josiah says it's too bright. Washington native for sure.

Annie Oakley

Oh, this is one of my favorite things in the world: seeing my big kids learning to love serving their younger siblings.
There's Josiah's smile!

James makes a super cute horsey sound.
See the wooden cow Josiah is roping?
I guess cows need milk to make milk.

Okay. Let's stop for a moment and look at what my kids have enjoyed so far at this pumpkin farm:
1. "Horses" albeit pretty cute horses made out of yarn, plastic barrels and wood.
2. A tractor
3. A large wooden cow and a calf feeding bottle.
Why is this fun? 
It's agritourism! We pay to play that we are doing what some people do for a living! RIght? 

I have always felt just a tiny but conflicted about this. Part of me wants to run a get-up like this when my husband and I are grandparents... and the other part of me thinks wait! I want my kids to have a blast on a real horse or a real tractor or feeding a real calf. Admittedly, my view of farm life is a bit romantic. You know, all those cute animals and healthy appetites from workin' out in the fresh air. That's just what I think about sometimes when I'm paying to visit a "working dairy farm" that has a pumpkin patch and a coffee stand. Or a U-pick blueberry farm that that serves up blueberry breakfasts at it's onsite restaurant. Or a roadside attraction that charges for rides behind a tractor in a garbage can painted like a cow. Or a pumpkin patch that boasts helicopter rides over the cornmaze and goats that walk on narrow bridges above our  heads to food dispensers filled by your well-placed quarter.

But do you want to know what I really want? My own agritourism business?

No. I want one of these:

I want my own big barn full of corn to play in. We had so much fun smooshing through this enormous sandbox of corn. 

I wonder if they have to cover this up at night... Or if they have rodent problems... 

So here's why this is my new favorite pumpkin farm in our area: It comes down to the money, really. It was a flat fee for entering the play area with a very few extra activities that had to be paid for separately. We opted out of those extra things but didn't come away with the feeling that we were missing out. With 6 kids, we try to choose our group activities carefully and plan ahead. 

All right. 
I'm out of pictures. 

I'm probably not out of ranty/rave-y thoughts about agritourism but it's okay that don't share them all in one post.


Anonymous said...

Were you by yourself? That's amazing! Maybe next year I will come down and go with you (and bring my kids).
I was planning on going to our pumpkin patch but when I remembered there was a cover charge it made me mad and I decided not to go.
Especially when you will prob spend money there it seems wrong to have a cover charge.
This summer plant pumpkins and charge my friends to see them.

Rebecca M said...

Yes, Amy, let's do that! Go together, I mean. And I was there by myself- Bob was out of town all week and we needed something fun to do.

Carolynn said...

We have lots of pumpkins and won't charge you to come tromp through them. The corn looks fun! we went to a playground that had a cherry pit box, It was great!! I want stuff like that too but still want to be able to leave and go places as well.