For those of you operators that host fall activities - the time has arrived and/or is near to reflect on the season. As we gear up for the holiday season, be sure to jot down things you wish you had done this fall. What did you learn? Do you have new ideas for 2018? Were you staffed properly? Did you have enough signage? How many hits did your website get? Etc. It is easy to be tired and not want to reflect - but I believe reflection is the key to improving,and moving forward. We have several members that raise and/or sell Christmas trees, gift boxes and fruit baskets - for those of you who don't, be sure to visit (and) support those who do this holiday season for fresh gift ideas! Finally - speaking of reflection - is there something you 'wish you had known' this year before your season(s) started? We are currently planning our educational sessions for the 2018 GAA conference to be held March 5-6 in Helen, Ga. Please click here to submit your educational ideas for the conference!
At White Oak Pastures, the Harris family takes pride in the land, the animals, and the people in their community. They grow Certified Organic Vegetables and raise 10 different species of animals: grassfed beef, lamb and goat and pastured chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas, hogs and rabbits. You can find a full section of products in the online store.
White Oak Pastures also offers educational classes to the public, which are geared towards the different enterpriseses present on the farm. Just this year, classes have ranged from bee keeping to small ruminat management. Tours are also offered, which are great for high school, college, and adult groups.
To create a true destination, White Oak Pastures now offers on-farm lodging. They have a variety of cabins, all offering different sleeping arrangements. Enjoy being secluded in the woods, or on the bank of a 15 acre pond and take advantage of beautiful nature with exploring or guided horseback riding. They also offer an on-farm restaurant, featuring the meats and produce of the farm.
Registration is now open for the 2018 Georgia Agritourism Annual Conference! This year's conference will be held March 5-6 at Unicoi State Park & Lodge in beautiful Helen, GA! Early bird rates are $199 for GAA members and $229 for non-members. Register today!
Our last conference featured tips on enhancing your website and diversifying your farm through eCommerce, as well as Updates on Sales Tax and Liability. Attendees said it was the best conference yet! Let us know what YOU would like to learn about at the 2018 conference!
It's that time of year again - time to renew your GAA Membership! All memberships expire on December 31 - log into your account today to renew for 2018! If you have questions or need assistance accessing your online account, send us a quick email.
Sharon Cobb Flanagan is the owner/operator of Five Otters LLC, an olive orchard located in the small town of Eastman in middle Georgia. After 35 years in a Fortune 500 high tech company, she traded in her business suits for leather boots and started her orchard of 14,000 olive trees. She has done this predominately by herself, with the help of her rescue dog Roscoe. Growing olive trees in Georgia is a relatively new and experimental venture, and not everyone has been confident it will succeed. However, Sharon is hopeful. It takes four to five years for a true harvest, but her olive trees are growing and several olives were picked this last year. Her days are now "daylight long and weather-dependent", and give her a sense of growing something beneficial. She has recently hired an Orchard Manager, who will join her in the orchard in December.
Sharon has a strong desire to educate people on olive oil and to help grow the olive industry in the U.S., and she sees agritourism as a pathway for doing this. She says "Agritourism introduces people of all ages and cultures to the origin of food products, provides an educational arm into what farming involves, and it provides tourists with a lasting memory of their experience, one they can will share with others." Five Otters is currently available for private tours. To learn more about this GAA member, check the Five Otters Facebook page.
GAA Board of Directors and Staff are very excited to roll out the new GAA logo! Different from any other agritourism association logo, we worked to create a brand to represent the meaning behind the agritourism industry. GAA represents you. You represent creating a wholesome, fun retreat from the hustle and bustle of most people’s everyday life. It’s a high point for many to feel like they are slowing down and venturing to a simpler time.
We are also adopting the tagline “Uniting, Promoting, and Strengthening Georgia Agritourism”. A tagline helps capture the overall benefit of the organization and it’s something that’s easily remembered. GAA was founded to be a trade association to represent the owners and operators of Georgia’s agritourism industry. As an organization we exist to unite the industry, promote the industry as a viable economic engine within the state’s economy as well as promote the industry to consumers, and overall strengthen the industry for a solid future.
Lastly, GAA is implementing a new color scheme with green and blue. The green represents agriculture, of course, but it also represents the green money that comes with creating a diversified farming operation that incorporates education, entertainment, and relaxation into a working farm. Blue symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, and faith. These words embody the “family” atmosphere that’s created anytime two or more GAA members meet. Agritourism operations are trusted by their customers and the operators are often seen as loyal members in the community and providing for the community. Creating a livelihood based on the land, weather, and rain demands faith. When adding the balancing act of a curious public with a working farm, wisdom becomes a cornerstone of every decision.
We hope you enjoy the new brand of the Georgia Agritourism Association!
National Pumpkin Destruction Day at The Rock Ranch is always the Saturday after Halloween, and is a local favorite. Guests are invited to "Smash it! Don't Trash it!" with their left over pumpkins. There are many ways to destroy a pumpkin, including with monster trucks, a firetruck pumpkin cannon, with wooden mallets, and by dropping them from 40 feet in the air. What a fun and original way to wrap up the fall season!