By Dana Freeman


Before it became a popular catchphrase, Vermont farmers practiced "agritourism." At the intersection of agricultural and tourism activities, our farmers have opened their doors to the public, welcoming them to see what their land can produce. For years, curious visitors have been meeting Vermont's makers and gaining insight into their farming practices.

Many endeavors that once felt commonplace in Vermont can now be classified as tourism activities. Without even realizing it, you've likely already participated in agritourism.

You've probably been to an orchard to pick-your-own apples in the fall or cut down your Christmas tree at a local farm before the holidays. Perhaps you've also bought your vegetables at a farmers' market. And in all likelihood, if you have visited Vermont in the spring, you've been to a sugarhouse to learn about the process of maple sugaring and then bought maple syrup directly from that sugarmaker. All of these are examples of agritourism.

It is not just about buying local but being local. Agritourism promotes the relationship between the community, our farmers, and Vermont's majestic landscape. These occurrences have become increasingly popular in the last decade and morphed into more formalized undertakings.

Not only can you eat and drink your way through the Green Mountain State, but you can see and experience how that food got from the ground and onto the table. This ability to get up close and personal with your food creates a very authentic taste of place.


These genuine farm experiences go behind the scenes to give locals and visitors a better understanding of Vermont's food and agriculture system. It is more than simply visiting a working farm to milk a cow or trying your hand shearing a sheep.

Image courtesy of Shelburne Farms


Unique farm and food experiences include having dinner in a farmer's field using food sourced from its gardens, listening to a concert in a vineyard, gathering eggs and berries for breakfast during a farm stay, or even watching an outdoor ballet performance on a farm. Apart from participating in farming activities, there are agricultural fairs, field days, and cheese, wine, and brewer's festivals.

The economic impact of agritourism is real. Producers can grow their businesses using innovative ideas to develop these successful recreational and educational on-farm, orchard, or vineyard events.

The public's support of these activities not only creates awareness but also generates additional sources of revenue for the producers, enabling their businesses to flourish. In fact, many of Vermont's producers are now nationally recognized brands with goods available for purchase outside of Vermont. 


Image courtesy of Adventure Dinner / Bolster McKinley


Image courtesy of Shelburne Farms

Our strong farming history in Vermont makes it an internationally recognized agritourism destination. So much so that the International Workshop on Agritourism will be held in Burlington from August 30-September 1st.