Carroll County Tourism

Carroll Co. takes a new look at
an old idea to increase tourism

Agri-tourism ideas
are catching on with local farmer

By Sarah Oak
Guest Columnist

(June 2006) – Did you know that the average American is at least two generations removed from the farm? As we see increasing numbers of large, corporately owned farms and a rise in imported agricultural goods, we need to ask ourselves how the small farmer can survive?
Unfortunately, many are sold by the younger generations who inherit the land but don’t have the ability or the desire to continue with a family tradition. Those who are trying to continue the legacy that their ancestors began have realized that diversification is the way to survival. This diversification can be adding an additional crop, or even switching from a less profitable enterprise to something that has more earning potential. In the last few years, the largest diversification effort has been in agri-tourism.
Agri-tourism is based on attracting visitors to farm operations. It may be comprised of businesses, such as crop and animal farm tours, U-pick operations, wineries, Christmas tree farms, on-site museums and farm-based retreat centers. In the last few of years, Kentucky’s Departments of Agriculture and Tourism have begun a joint effort to promote and develop agri-tourism throughout the state. As part of this partnership, an Agri-tourism Summit was held Feb. 24 at Gen. Butler State Resort Park. This summit provided information for individuals who are currently involved in agri-tourism and also for those who are just getting started. Several local entrepreneurs attended to learn more about how to develop their business and how to attract visitors.
It is the hope of the Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism Commission that the information presented at this meeting will help local farmers develop their businesses so that, in turn, we can help promote it to the fullest extent.
Invaluable resources in Carroll County are still being developed. Local farmers Carmen and Gordon Venema have opened The Family Fun Farm Corn Maize & More. Along with several other local agriculturalists, the Venemas are also members of the Riverview Farmers Market, where farm fresh produce is sold to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the spring, summer and fall.
Robert Sand and Junior Welch have an on-going cattle operation with Mulberry Meadows Farm, a production facility with the potential of a 1,000 head Angus breeding operation. Tours are available of the farm through the Visitors Center for individuals and groups.
The River Valley Winery, owned by Vicky and Krosi Georgiev, began growing grapes on a family farm several years ago. Krosi, whose family has been in the wine-making business for generations, lent his expertise, and the result is a perfect blend. Winner of three Bronze Medals from a 2004 international competition, the Georgievs have certainly added to the flavor of Carroll County.
Another venture is the Adcock Farms Vintage Tractors & Farm Implements Museum, family owned and operated by Marcella and Lawson Adcock. Featured in Byron Crawford’s Louisville Courier-Journal column, the Adcocks have made a name for themselves by preserving history. At their farm, you can tour antique tractors and learn about the history of the Adcock family and farm. Also on site is a cabin that dates back to the 1800s, and the family plans to restore this building so it may be toured in the future.
Also in its early stages is the Mystyk River Farm Executive Meditation Retreat Center, owned and operated by Marjorie Bowers and Garnet Worthington. Set atop King’s Ridge, this farm features Arabian horses and meditation trails. A spa retreat is being added and should be completed this year. With a spectacular view of the Ohio River Valley, Mystyk River is a relaxing retreat for locals and visitors alike.
On behalf of the Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism Commission, I encourage you to tour the local countryside and see what you may have forgotten. Get back to the basics and learn something new about your community, and perhaps even yourself.

• Sarah Oak is the executive director of the Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism Commission. For more information about these agri-tourism ventures and others, call her at (502) 732-7036 or email: info@carrolltontourism.com.

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