University of Maryland Extension

Fall Agritourism in Maryland–Open for Business

Author: 
Ginger S. Myers
 Movie screen on a hay wagon

Mastering Marketing - Special Edition August 2020

Fall is the peak season for most Agritourism farms nationwide. Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, school tours, pick-your-own fruit, and weekend festivals can generate as much as 80 percent of this type of farm’s annual income. According to the US Census of Agriculture, 295 farms, offer agritourism or recreational services. Fall 2020 activities certainly are going to be different in these operations. But, there will definitely, be some long time activities, with some new protocols in place, and even some new activities on Maryland Farms.

Since March, agritourism farms have pivoted to address the early berry season with curbside service and socially-distance pick-your-own opportunities. Local operations have implemented on-line order and pickup of market items and CSA shares. Educational offerings have become limited in size, and ticketed tours and visitation times have become the norm.

An example of pivoting to keep dollars coming in is Saunders Farms in Munster, Canada. They began offering campfires on the farm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They provided a campfire site, spaced throughout the farm, and a picnic basket of food. Guests bring their chairs and remove all personal items with them. Sites run from $90-$120, depending on the number of guests. Visit their website for more details-https://saundersfarm.com/. They also provide a COVID-19 cleaning protocol that is posted on their on-farm events webpage- https://saundersfarm.com/summer/farm-camp/ (scroll down page to see COVID-19 policies for campers and other farm visitors)

SOME FARMS ARE TRYING NEW ACTIVITIES AS WELL:

  • Drive-in movies

  • I Spy and Scavenger Hunt: Farms will post a form that contains a list of items for the participant to find on their website. The participant will bring the completed form at the farm to receive a prize.

  • Date night or family time: If you have a scenic site where couples or families could bring their food and enjoy some time outdoors.

  • Drive-thru market with additional vendors to increase product diversity. Ticket time slots for visitation times helps keep customers socially distanced.

MARYLAND'S AGRITOURISM FARMS ARE SET-UP DIFFERENTLY, BUT STILL, IT WILL BE A BUSY FALL SEASON. HERE ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES.

Butler’s Orchard (butlersorchard.com)
22222 Davis Mill Rd, Germantown, MD 20876
List of events and ticket sales: butlersorchard.com/events
Activities include: birthday parties, hayrides, pumpkin patch, weekday pick-your-own
Visitation and COVID-19 Policies: butlersorchard.com/about/contact-us/

Gaver Farm (gaverfarm.com)
5501 Detrick Road, Mt. Airy, MD 21771
List of events and ticket sales: gaverfarm.com/fall/
Activities include: Fall season featuring Farm Market, pick your own pumpkins and apples, farm fresh food, and Fall Fun Days!
Visitation and COVID-19 policies: gaverfarm.com/plan-your-visit/covid-19-policy/

Miller’s Farm (millerfarmsclinton.com/)
10140 Piscataway Rd, Clinton, MD 20735
List of events and ticket sales: millerfarmsclinton.square.site/
Activities include: pick-your-own, farm market, and online sales
Visitation and COVID-19 policies: millerfarmsclinton.com/

Weber’s Cider Mill Farm (webercidermillfarm.com)
2526 Proctor Lane, Parkville, MD 21234
List of Events and ticket sales: weberscidermillfarm.com/webers-farm-news-upcoming-events.php
Activities include:  special events, drive-thru festivals, ticket sales, and market sales
Visitation and COVID-19 policies: weberscidermillfarm.com/index.php

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE FOR COVID-19 FARM VISITS PROTOCOL AND LIABILITY CONCERNS IN MARYLAND: http://umaglaw.org/legal-resources/covid-19-resources/

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