Agri-tourism is alive and well in the Bayou State

Agri-tourism has come a long way since the pumpkin patch and Christmas tree farms. The latest census numbers show there are nearly 35,000 agri-tourism destinations in the U.S.

The industry is alive and well in Louisiana.

Agri-tainment is one of the fastest-growing aspects of tourism in the “Bayou State.”

According to Bill Nungesser, the Lt. Governor for Louisiana, “People are looking for those unique experiences. They want to get outdoors and try something new and when you can do ag tourism, you learn something about the food, how they grow it, and how they produce it, and the families and the stories are worth a million dollars.”

What makes Sugar Farms so unique is its combination of agriculture and art.

“We really see ourselves as an ‘art farm’. So, we’re cultivating art more than we are products, but we are trying to use fresh farm products, locally, whenever possible,” Tadd Swart states. “We see that art coming out in our food, drinks, and everything that we’re doing.”

The owner of Sugar Farms, John Haynes is an artist and documentary filmmaker, and now, he can add brewer to his list of accomplishments. Hence Istrouma Brewing. This place is just one example of outdoor entertainment with an emphasis on ag.

“So, whether you are going to where we’re growing citrus products or blackberries or strawberries or whatever, and they can actually see the farm and they can breathe the fresh air and they can see the livestock and become immersed in that and learn where their food comes from,” Dr. Mike Strain, Louisiana Commissioner of Ag and Forestry, notes.

The pandemic inspired people to find all sorts of activities to do outside in small rural towns instead of big cities.

At Fontainebleau State Park on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain, just north of New Orleans, you can do everything from fishing to swimming, or “glamping” the latest trend in camping.

“You can stay in a queen-sized bed on a platform, you can go canoe out to an island... or hike three miles through the woods,” Nungesser states.

It is often said that you feel closer to God when you are out in nature. For some, it is a spiritual experience.

So for many, your summer vacation may be less about amusement parks and more about state parks and family-friendly farms.

“When you leave Louisiana, you leave with a friend for life,” Nungesser adds. “That warm and fuzzy feeling that keeps you coming back for more. It’s not just the good food, the music, but it’s the people.”






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