Agritourism During COVID-19
The fall is usually primetime for agritourism. From wine tasting to pumpkin patches, several hundred farming operations in California make at least part of their income from visitors. But how have these operations fared during the pandemic?
Shermain Hardesty has worked with the University of California Small Farm Program for 20 years, and has studied these agritourism operations.
Hardesty… “We've got a lot of new regulations that everybody has to follow. And for example, many smaller scale wineries have their own vineyards as well. And they are having a lot of difficulty because their tasting rooms are usually not allowed to be open. We have a few counties now that are having tasting going on outside of the winery buildings. The one thing we do have kind of working in our favor is most of the agritourism is actually outdoors. So that does help.”
But, she says, some operations have decided not to open their doors this year due to the added complexities of the regulations.
Hardesty… “There are some pumpkin patches have decided this year not to have their operations going. Just because they're just not comfortable with all of the prep work that they have to do to make sure that people are as safe as possible. But others are doing pumpkin patches.”
For more information on how to find and support a local farm visit the UCANR agritourism website.