Long time readers know this blog was started in May 2005 but before then Thistle Cove Farm was being used as an AgriTourism venue. There are two types of tourism: capture and destination. Capture is when there are other tourism activities in the area and you tag along with them. Destination is something like Dollywood, Kings Dominion, etc. I branded Thistle Cove Farm as a destination and brought thousands of people to the farm and area to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Jammy, aka Sudhakar R. Jamkhandi, a professor at Bluefield State College heard about the farm and contacted me to ask if his college visitors could visit. Jammy brought visitors from Russia, Armenia, the “Stan” countries and many other countries to see how I used AgriTourism. Those visitors would take some of those events, suggestions, etc. to utilize in their countries. In 2003, Jammy asked if I would be interested in going to Russia to teach what I knew. I couldn’t say YES fast enough!
Jammy also suggested to Concord University, Athens, WV, I would be a good candidate to teach AgriTourism. So I developed a syllabus and taught evening classes for several semesters. I’ll take that same syllabus, with additions, and begin to post on my blog; I’ll begin with my list of ways to increase farm income. There are many ways to increase farm income with new ways being developed every day. Feel free to add to this list, print it off, share it and enjoy the success of your hard labor. If you have questions, I’ll try to answer. This photo is of Bud T., my former farrier who did blacksmithy work, it’s one of my favorite photos.
Adoption – pumpkins, sheep, foals
Ag ed programs/workshops – grafting/pruning fruit trees, animal care, processing food animals
Apple butter cooking
Arrowhead hunting/rock collecting
Artist retreat, classes
Barn dance/square dance
B&B, farm stay, cottage, Air BnB
Bird watching, wildlife viewing
Building – barn raising, tee pee building
Cafe, coffee shop, restaurant
Camping, picnicking, traveling nurse RV camp
Children’s camp – day and/or overnight
Craft classes/workshops – sewing, spinning, weaving, dried flower arrangeing
Cross country skiing
Cultural and historic visits
Cut your own Christmas tree
Demo heritage crafts, cheese/wine/apple butter making, etc.
Easter egg hunts
Education tours/field trips for school children, groups, seniors, church, etc.
Enchanted forest with fairy lights, etc.
Farm products – fleece, yarn, soap, candles, value added products
Farm/ranch work experience – round-up’s, haying, fencing, lambing, calving, etc.
Festivals – seasonal – harvest, ice cream, 4th of July, sheep shearing
Fish and release or keep
Floral arrangement classes, use dried natural flowers found on farm
Fly fishing and tying clinics
Food classes – cooking, baking, dehydration, canning, sweets, jams, preserves, desserts
Gardens: flowers, greenery, herbs, dried flowers, trees, shrubs
Gourmet vegetables, fruits
Guided crop tours
Guiding and outfitting
Habitat improvement projects
Harvest festivals and tours
Hay rides/sleigh rides
Heritage tourism and travel
Historical museums, displays (ag history, machinery, etc.)
Horseback riding, trails, endurance
Horse power farming
Hot air balloon rides
Hunting, skeet shooting, target practice
Hunting dog training, competition
Nature education – wildlife/tree/plant identification
Off road motorcycling, ATV, biking
Orchard tours – grafting, planting, pruning
Pick your own – fruit, sell recipe books, spice mixes
Pie baking contest
Pumpkin carving contests
Races – pig, goat, sheep
Ranch skills – farrier, leatherwork, camp cooking, etc.
Retreats – corporate, group, special events
Roadside stands, markets
Rock climbing, rappelling
School children tours, provide SOL’s for teachers
Self guided driving tours
Sponsor a tree, animal, plant
Studio for classes, workshops, programs
Tours of farm, ranch
Tree planting in memory of or to honor, for special occasions/celebrations
Vendors at state, county fairs
Watermelon seed spitting contest
Weddings, receptions, honeymoons, anniversaries, other religious services
Working farm holiday/vacation