California Agritourism News July 2018
News and notes for the agritourism community from UC SAREP

As I write this, fire burns the hillsides next to some of my favorite farms in the Capay Valley, as other fires burn in Lake County and around California, and this is only early July. I know some of you are severely affected by these fires, or by past fires, and others will be hurt by fires still to come this year. Please let us know what you need and how we might help.

Meanwhile, in this newsletter:
  • New guide published online: "Planning a U-Pick Operation on Your California Farm"
  • - UC agritourism directory offers free listings and calendar of events
  • Nevada County Farm Trail Weekend
  • Open Farm Day in Vacaville
  • Gravenstein Apple Fair
  • Placer Wine Trail: Grape Days of Summer
  • Coming Soon: SLO Farm Trail
  • Contra Costa County Reviews Agricultural Land Use Policies
  • Upcoming Educational Opportunities
  • Useful resources

Please stay in touch; let us know your news and updates for the next newsletter!

Penny Leff
Agritourism Coordinator
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
UC SAREP Agritourism Programs
New: Guide to Planning a California U-Pick Operation just published online

Are you considering adding a U-Pick enterprise to your farm? Inviting the public to your land to pick their own berries, tree fruit, vegetables, pumpkins, flowers or Christmas trees can be a great way to build lasting connections with customers and diversify your marketing channels.

It can also open you up to many risks and involve different staffing, pricing and marketing plans, and sometimes a whole new farm layout.

As part of UC SAREP's "Growing California Agritourism Communities" project, we have just completed a guide that examines the U-Pick model, helps you determine whether it's suitable for your farm and gives examples and suggestions for planning and building your U-Pick operation.


We invite California farmers and ranchers operating agritourism businesses or events to complete the  directory application  or event listing form  online (remember to upload a picture too).

Already listed? Please check your listing and send us any changes (and a picture) using the  update form .

Or - just add  to your email blast list to share your event news - we'll grab what we can for the calendar.

Agritourism Associations in Action!
Nevada Co. Farm Trail Weekend
Twelve farm and ranch members of Nevada County Grown are hosting visitors for the first annual Nevada County Grown Farm Trail Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 7 -8, 2018. Tours, tastes, demonstrations, live music and more. Tickets: $20 in advance; $25 on the day. Learn more and buy tickets

Learn more about the challenges of organizing the first Nevada County Farm Trail weekend.
Open Farm Day in Vacaville - Pleasants Valley Agriculture Association
The recently formed Pleasants Valley Agricultural Association in Vacaville (Solano County) is putting on a free event, inviting the public to visit and tour four member farms on Saturday August 4, 2018. Visitors will be treated to demonstrations, hear live music, enjoy tastes and be encouraged to shop for wine, cheese, and other goodies.

To learn more, contact Alexis Koefoed at
Sonoma County Farm Trails hosts Gravenstein Apple Fair
The Gravenstein Apple Fair is produced as Sonoma County Farm Trails' primary annual fundraiser. All proceeds fund Farm Trail's efforts to support local agriculture in Sonoma County.

The Gravenstein Apple Fair takes place Saturday and Sunday August 11-12, 2018 at Eagle Ranch Park in Sebastopol. There will be live music on two stages, arts & crafts vendors, local food, cider, microbrews & wine, contests, activities, and, of course, Gravenstein apples.
Placer Wine Trail offers Grape Days of Summer
Join Placer County vintners for Grape Days of Summer on the Placer Wine Trail on Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22, 2018. Tickets start at $30, with designated drivers at $10. Guests will enjoy wine tasting and food at each winery, with music at most locations and educational experiences along the way. Visitors can learn about wine-making techniques, equipment, grapes, farming and more. Learn more, buy tickets
Coming soon: SLO Farm Trail
Lynette Sonne has been organizing tours, classes and events with the San Luis Obispo County agricultural community since 2014 through FARMstead Ed.

Now she is working with local farmers and ranchers to coordinate a Farm Trail organization, with plans to put on collaborative events. Interested San Luis Obispo farmers and ranchers can contact Lynette at 805.226.2081
Contra Costa County reviews
Agricultural Land Use Policy
Goal: Sustaining Agricultural lands by Improving Economic Vitality
Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgess invites Contra Costa County farmers and other stakeholders to a series of meetings with county planners and supervisors. Together, attendees will envision potential changes to land use ordinances that would encourage agritourism development and other agricultural-support uses that maintain economic sustatainability for farms and ranches..

Farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations at the first public meeting, held on June 21, began proposing county agricultural policies that allow farm stays, rural restaurants, incubator farms for new farmers, clean safe farm-worker housing, and cattle grazing on public parkland, as a start.

The second in the series of six meetings will be held Thursday, July 19, 2018 from 6 pm - 8 pm
at the Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development, Zoning Administrator Room 30 Muir Rd, Martinez CA. The ambitious goal of this review process is to present initial recommendations to the county Board of Supervisors in December 2018, to prepare a new draft ordinance in Winter 2019, hold public review of the draft ordinance in Spring 2019, and bring the draft ordinance up for consideration by the Board of Supervisors by Summer 2019.

To learn more,visit for updated information and meeting dates, or contact Jennifer Cruz, Senior Planner, Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development at 925-674-7790 or
UPCOMING Educational Opportunities
FREE webinar: Using Instagram to Grow Your Farm Business
On July 25 , Lauren Manning, Partner at Ozark Pasture Beef in Fayetteville, AR, and NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Luke Freeman will team up for the third and final webinar in their series on using social media to market farm products. 
The FREE, hour-long webinar begins at 12:00 p.m. CDT. It will be recorded and posted on the ATTRA website.
This webinar will teach you how to set up and manage an Instagram account to help you grow your farm business. Lauren and Luke will cover the basics of setting up a farm Instagram account from scratch, creating stunning photos and videos for your feed, engaging with followers and other businesses, and advertising on Instagram. They'll also discuss tools to manage multiple accounts and scheduling posts ahead of time.  
Register today by clicking here .

NAFDMA Advanced Learning Retreat
Early Bird Pricing ends July 7 for the North America Farm Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) Advanced Learning Retreat at the Quinn Farm in Montreal, Quebec, July 28-31, 2018.

This is a unique, exclusive networking and educational intensive. This program includes six general and sixteen concurrent educational sessions, with a wide-range of topics including: personnel management, social media & online marketing, production best practices, financial philosophy, community involvement, and mission driven retail. Learn more and register here
  • Agritourism Conversations (recorded) - A series of practical webinars and an online forum about topics of interest to the California agritourism community, in partnership with FarmsReach

  • Farm-Based Education Network - A free international member network established to strengthen and support the work of educators, farmers and community leaders providing access and experiences of all kinds on productive working farms.

  • Farm Stay U.S. -The website of the U.S. Farm Stay Association, promoting farm and ranch stays in the United States and providing resources for farm stay operators and visitors.

  • Hipcamp Landshare - rural accommodations marketing site - If you are legally permitted to offer camping, cabins, or any kind of farm stay or guest ranch on your land, these San Francisco based folks may be good marketing partners.

  • Harvest Hosts - a program that connects farms and wineries with RV owners. Invite Harvest Hosts' RV owners to park overnight on your property and benefit from the goodwill that motivates them to make purchases.

  • AgritourismReady website - Created by Ohio State University Extension: A One Stop Shop for preparing your emergency management plan

  • North American Farm Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) - a membership based trade association dedicated to providing endless peer-to-peer learning opportunities, connections and resources, for farmers who are passionate about the business of agritourism and farm direct marketing.