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Whatcom County Farm Tour draws regional visitors

September 18, 2012

Whatcom County Farm Tour draws regional visitors

Farm Tour goers at Nooksack Delta Ranch enjoyed the sun while viewing the grass fed cattle.

Media contact: Sara Southerland, Food & Farming Outreach Coordinator
sara@sconnect.org, (360) 647.7093 x114
          
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         
September 18, 2012 – Bellingham, WA

Whatcom County Farm Tour draws regional visitors

Bellingham, WA – The 5th annual Whatcom County Farm Tour is becoming a well-known regional event. This year’s tour on Saturday September 8 was a hit, with about 3,500 individual site visits, and the average number of folks visiting three to four farms.

“The Farm Tour this year was an awesome success -- we received almost 400 visitors on our farm,” says Sam Grubbs owner of Bellingham Country Gardens, a u-pick veggie and fruit farm.

Under sunny skies and warm temperatures, bicyclists and carloads of families, seniors and friends made their way across county roads to see the faces of local farm animals, buy local farm products, and get to know the stories behind the food produced on those farms.

“Everybody enjoyed the beautiful day on the farm and learned how the vegetables grow, as well as how to harvest everything from Yukon gold potatoes to strawberries. There were a lot of gardening questions and it was a fun day and great exchange with our visitors,” says Grubbs.
   
The Farm Tour drew more visitors than ever. 

“Each year we promote the Farm Tour and Whatcom County as a fun agri-tourism destination,” says Sara Southerland, Food & Farming Outreach Coordinator. “We’ve placed ads, and people can hear about it on many regional radio stations. We also distribute the Whatcom Food & Farm Finder to 11 regional visitors’ centers, and tourism partners are helpful in raising awareness about this event and the unique food and farming experiences our county offers.”

The one-day on-farm visitor experience is a boost to businesses, with an average of 200 visitors per farm on one day.

Throughout the Farm Tour, volunteer greeters guide visitors and ask for zip codes and an estimate of how many stops they will visit. In 2012, tourists taking part in the Farm Tour increased by 334 percent. The last four years of the Whatcom County Farm Tour combined brought over 13,600 farm visits, a significant impact for participating farms businesses, who report customers and visitors to Whatcom County return time and again.

As a consistent annual event the second Saturday of each September, the Whatcom County Farm Tour draws tourists and visitors interested in experiencing local culture, tasting farm products, and learning about the unique farms and environment of the county.

For BelleWood Acres, an apple farm with a new distillery and location on the Guide Meridian, the day was more than busy. Owners Dorie & John Belisle said they saw many new faces on the farm throughout the day, and the lines were long at the farm store.

“The Farm tour is a wonderful day for our farm. It invites many people that don’t know us and it’s a great opportunity to reach out to the community more and for more people in the community to meet all the farms out here. We had lots of people and everyone had good time,” Dorie Belisle said.

Eight farms, one winery and one farmers market were stops on the 2012 Farm Tour. The Whatcom County Farm Tour is held the second Saturday in September each year.

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