7 Wonders of Agritourism: Great farms to learn at and be entertained

markie hageman


The Seven Wonders of the World are crucial artifacts that demonstrate the magnificent history deeply rooted in cultures across the planet. In the same essence, being able to tour a well-thought out farm operation has many of the same benefits as the Wonders of the World. We are able to teach the rich history of agriculture through our operations and leave a lasting impression upon curious visitors wanting to experience the magnificent world of farming and ranching.

There is a plethora of opportunities for hungry minds to be satiated, but there are definitely some that stand out above the rest. Here is a small list of some of the amazing Agritourism Wonders of the Nation, in no particular order because each one is as educational, wonderful, and fun as the previous.

1) Hilmar Cheese Company — Hilmar, California

Nestled in the Central Valley of California, this cheese factory , started by 12 dairy families in 1984, converts milk into cheeses, whey protein, and lactose. Even though there is a factory also in Texas, and they serve over 50 states, the greatest part of this tourism stop is the visitor center. Visitors are greeted with a beautiful building that houses a café and souvenir shop featuring Hilmar Cheese products. Also found in the visitor center are an agriculture-themed escape room and interactive stations for people of all ages to learn about the industry, from what factory workers do and how dairy cattle are fed!

2) Tate Farms — Meridianville, Alabama

In 1867, the Tate family found their way to Tennessee and began sharecropping on their current land in the 1900s. It began as a trading operation equipped with a general store, a saw mill, blacksmith shop, and many other things. Today, it is 6,000 acres of corn, wheat, soybeans, pumpkins, and cotton. The “agri-tainment” business, as they refer to it, is called the “Tate Farms Cotton Pickin’ Pumpkins.” During pumpkin season, the farm opens to school tours, allows visitors to pick their own pumpkin, go on hayrides and many other activities normal for a fall pumpkin patch. During the off season, the facilities can be rented for events.

3) Rosa Brothers Dairy — Hanford, California

It’s no surprise that with the vast array of commodities California offers, there would be multiple tourist attractions on this list from the state. Nestled in the Central Valley, Rosa Brothers Dairy has some thirst-quenching milk flavors. From orange cream, eggnog, and root beer to reduced fat, whole, and chocolate milk, there is a flavor for everyone from adventurous foodies to those who prefer tried-and-true tastes. Visitors can tour the dairy farm in a “Moo-Mobile,” see a live calf and compete in a milking contest using “Rosie,” their simulated cow. The fun doesn’t stop there though — self-guided tours at the creamery allow for visitors to see milk being bottled and ice cream being made!

4) Saddle Back Ranch — Steamboat Springs, Colorado

The history of Saddle Back Ranch goes back to 1928 when it was first settled by members of the Thompson family, whose great-granddaughter currently owns the land. The ranch is open year-round with activities to fit any season and allows visitors a glimpse into what a working cattle ranch life is really like. During the summer, there are cattle drives, horseback rides, and wagon rides. For winter months, there are sleigh rides, snow tubing, snowmobiling, and winter horseback rides. If you’re a hunting enthusiast, they also provide guided elk hunts.

5) Peterson Farm — Assaria, Kansas

We all know the Peterson Farm Brothers for their hilarious parody videos that both entertain and educate about farming, but did you also know that they offer farm tours at their farmstead, which has been in their family since the 1800s? They are mostly a backgrounding feeder operation with a small cow/calf herd and grow row crops. They welcome an entire tour of their farm throughout the year and encourage visitors to assist them with daily farm duties in order to get a hands-on look at farming in American flatlands.

6) Lewis Farms — New Era, Michigan

Lewis Farms is a 700 acre family-owned and operated farm that hosts over 46 attractions and activities for visitors between May and their Harvest Festival in October. You can feed your baby animal addiction by visiting during their Baby Animal Days, or you can participate in their many festivals, such as the Sunflower Festival. From activities such as apple cannons and pig races, there are many different opportunities to entertain the entire family all while learning about the farm life. Don’t forget to visit their farm market and try to find your way through the 6-acre corn maze — and if you’re looking for a wedding venue, you can “get hitched” in their apple orchards!

7) Purple Haze Lavender — Sequim, Washington

Lavender is an herb that is a sight to see, especially in the fields at Purple Haze Lavender Farms. From May to September, this farm is open to lavender enthusiasts who are looking to learn more about this amazing herb! Not only can you learn how to make herbal vinegar and plan a wedding at this venue, but you can also participate in virtual farm tours if you can’t make it to the Pacific Northwest. If you’re in town during the middle of July, be sure to check out Purple Haze Lavender at the Lavender Festival.

Honorable mentions (and farms you should definitely check out ASAP):

Markie Hageman majored in agribusiness at Fort Hays State University. She is actively involved in her state Cattlemen’s Association, Young Farmers chapter, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Her articles can be found here.

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