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The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, announced the release of a new video in the “Farms in Focus” series featuring Agritourism.
SMADC’s latest video showcases a relatively new and rapidly diversifying agricultural sector for many farms in Maryland that attracts over a million visitors annually. Agritourism is a unique blend of tourism and agriculture that comes together in an entertaining and educational package of fun, on-farm activities for adults and children.
Agritourism offers farms important marketing and revenue generating options which can be offered on a seasonal basis or year-round. It also enhances potential for the local tourism industry, potentially increasing visitors to Southern Maryland, and provides a creative business environment and new employment opportunities. Typical agritourism activities range from you-pick fruit farms, hayrides, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, petting zoos, tours and festivals.
The Farms in Focus Agritourism Edition explores four regional farms that specialize in different products and activities from springtime pick-your-own strawberries, fall-fun, holiday farm tours and cut-your-own Christmas trees. Each farmer shares their passion and enjoyment for what they do, and why their loyal customers are so important to their farms and the future of agriculture in Southern Maryland.
Nurturing an appreciation for farming and agriculture is a vital component of the agritourism experience. “It’s more than just coming out and picking strawberries,” explains Russ Shlagel of Shlagel Farms. “It’s providing an opportunity for families and friends to do an outside activity while getting to know their farmers and supporting local farms.” Ray Greenstreet of Greenstreet Gardens also observes, “Yes, the idea is to sell products, but it’s also an opportunity for families to ‘touch’ agriculture. A lot of kids come back to work for us when they get older to learn more.”
Fall fun farms are opening around the region to welcome back their visitors and are implementing COVID social distancing strategies to ensure their customers have a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience. “Farms are deemed essential businesses and can be open for Agritourism activities,” commented Susan McQuilkin, SMADC marketing specialist. “We hope our new video will inspire families to visit a local farm this fall and get to know their farmers; there are so many wonderful memory-making experiences waiting for you!”
Free to view on the SMADC YouTube channel, the “Farms in Focus” video series showcases Southern Maryland’s key agricultural industries using a combination of educational information and promotional marketing to bridge the knowledge gap between consumers and their local? farmers. Visit SMADC.com to find consumer resources and guides to Southern Maryland farms. And look for more videos coming in 2020 featuring Livestock, Nursery, and Cut Flowers, Produce, and Forestry.
The “Farms in Focus” videos are made possible by a grant awarded to SMADC through the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund? (RMPIF).