September 8, 2023
I’m done with this hot, steamy summer. Bring on cool, colorful fall!
If you’re like me and craving an experience that's equal parts relaxing and educational, then put on your comfy shoes, grab the family and get ready to immerse yourself in Missouri’s agritourism destinations.
What is agritourism anyway?
Agritourism is like a fascinating combo platter where you get to experience the joys of a farm vacation while indulging your curiosity about all things agricultural.
The Missouri Farm Bureau website houses a list of agritourism operations in the state. Currently, there are 613 entries. A quick search by county or category produces a rural attraction that allows you to wander through lush fields, pick your own fresh produce, and maybe help your kids or grandkids learn a thing or two about Missouri farm life.
Here are five locations to get a jump-start on your fall excursions:
Courtesy of Shatto Dairy
1. The magic of milk. Osborn is home to family-owned Shatto Milk Co. A working dairy farm, this place produces fresh, natural products. Stop by and learn how milk gets from the farm to your table. Tour the processing and bottling plant, meet some adorable calves, milk a cow, and sample the fresh, delicious cheeses, ice cream and milk. Make sure to grab a jug of chocolate milk to go. It holds a five-star rating from my daughters. To learn more visit facebook.com/shattomilk.
Courtesy of Visit Hermann
2. Wine and dine. If you want to add a touch of sophistication with a little small-town charm to your agritourism adventure, you’ll end up in my neck of the woods at Hermann. Stop by one of its many wineries, or simply add to the rural economy during its epic Oktoberfest. Either way, I suggest taking a stroll downtown to the Concert Hall and Barrel Tavern. Enjoy the ambiance and order a pork tenderloin sandwich. You’ll thank me later. For more on all the happenings, visit facebook.com/visithermann.
Courtesy of Uptown Farms
3. Lost in a maze — corn that is. It seems everyone likes a good corn maze. But go with the pros —someone who knows his way around a cornfield — Missouri Corn Merchandising Council vice chair Matt Lambert. He and his wife, Kate, and son, Mace, operate Uptown Farms near Brookfield. Matt designs and carves out each corn maze. Make sure to snap Instagram-worthy pictures and let the world see agriculture at its best. Nothing beats those golden cornstalks. For hours of operation, visit facebook.com/uptownfarms.
Courtesy of Hickory Ridge Orchard
4. Apple of your eye. Brandt and Kelsey Schisler opened Hickory Ridge Orchard near Mexico, Mo., just five years ago. However, the trees in this orchard date back to 1993 when it was locally known as Binder’s Apple and Alpacas. The young couple purchased the orchard and expanded it to about 850 apple trees with more than 24 varieties. They added pumpkins and mums, but more importantly dine on their farmhouse treats. From mini apple pies to raw apple cider, they offer something that offers the smell and taste of fall. For more on hours of operation, check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/hickoryridgeorchard.
Courtesy of Peno Creek Pumpkin Patch
5. Pumpkin pickin’. Peno Creek Pumpkin Patch near Frankford is the place for pumpkins and a great view. Owners Holly and Curtis Delgman operate a family farm in northeast Missouri and decided to diversify the operation by adding agritourism. The farm at Peno Creek Pumpkin Patch was passed down to Holly by her grandfather. The couple hopes to pass it on to their own children one day. For more, visit facebook.com/penocreekpumpkinpatch.
In a nutshell ... or a pecan shell
Missouri's agritourism destinations offer a great escape from the daily grind. Whether you're picking apples straight from the tree, sipping wine by the vineyards, getting lost in a corn maze or bonding with farm animals, you're in for a treat.
Our state offers the perfect country locations to unwind, reconnect with nature and family, and learn a little something along the way.
So, get out this fall and enjoy the charm of agritourism — and trust me, it's even better with family and friends.
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