RALEIGH, N.C. – With fall’s arrival, many families will be looking to visit local farms for apple picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and other agritourism activities. While things will look a little different this year due to COVID-19, the state’s farms offering agritourism are ready to greet visitors.
“Farms that create educational, recreation and entertainment activities are ideal for families looking for fun,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Farms already offer plenty of room for social distancing in an outdoor setting. This year, farms that have diversified to include agritourism activities are taking additional measures to ensure that everyone has a safe experience on the farm in response to COVID-19.”
For some farms, such as Elodie Farm in Rougemont, this has meant limiting the number of visitors on the farm at one time. The historic tobacco farm turned goat dairy has plans to offer private sunset tours of the farm, along with limited-seating farm dinners. In Banner Elk, Apple Hill Farm is taking a similar approach by offering small group tours of the working alpaca farm by reservation only.
While most apple orchards, pumpkin patches and corn mazes will not require reservations, visitors will notice changes at these farms as well. Farms will include additional hand washing and hand sanitizer stations, increased signage promoting social distancing and face masks requirements for certain activities.
The department encourages those wishing to visit local farms this fall to continue to practice recommendations from public health officials. Wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth. Wait six feet apart and avoid close contact. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Visitors are encouraged to contact farms directly to learn about specific requirements or restrictions for each farm.
Families can plan their next agritourism adventure through the Got to Be NC website at https://gottobenc.com/find-
–Annie Baggett, NCDA&CS