This may very well be one of the most glorious starts of a fall season. The weather has been beautiful with crystal-clear skies.
Among the great attractions of the fall are the various forms of agritourism, a term used to describe a getaway to a place that dabbles in some kind of agriculture.
These wonderful places have everything from pumpkins to apples. A number of corn mazes are available for those who enjoy getting lost in a cornfield.
This agritourism business is a big deal. The Georgia Department of Agriculture has used its Georgia Grown branding to include many of the agritourism venues.
You can pick your own fruits and vegetables in season at some places. At several others, you can get pumpkins from the field. Among those is Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawson County.
The agritourism list includes wineries for the grown-ups and farms where children can see the animals that produce everything from milk to wool.
I was born in the city, but both of my parents had rural roots. They often took us to the country to enjoy it. I remember swimming in the creek near Papa Stone’s house. I also remember going on a buggy ride with Uncle Ike and his horse, Sunday.
Down the road from Papa’s house, Mrs. Velma Breedlove was known as one of the best cooks in that part of the county. A part of me can still remember the smell of good food, much of it from her garden, cooking in her kitchen.
This Georgia Grown thing is a modern-marketing concept and a throwback to a simpler time when fresh vegetables and fruits were an everyday part of life.
Recently, I stopped by Jaemor Farms in Alto on a weekday. A busload of folks from a church in South Carolina was loading up on apples and other seasonal foods. They also were enjoying fresh ice cream and homemade fried fruit pies.
The farm store has become one of Hall County’s top tourist attractions.
The agritourism idea is year-round. In a few weeks, a number of Georgia growers will offer cut-your-own Christmas trees. Some of them offer extras such as hayrides and hot cider. The Kinsey Family Farm and Bottoms Tree Farm in Forsyth County are among my favorites.
I think the whole notion of enjoying the outdoors during this wonderful season is a great one.
Agritourism gives you a ton of choices, from places a few minutes away to places that might be in a part of the state you’ve never visited but should.
The agriculture folks have a website, georgiagrown.com, that lists all of the program’s participants. They offer everything from dairy products to meats and produce. A locator map will find Georgia Grown participants near your house or near a place you might be going.
I’m rather excited our young people are getting to learn firsthand that food does not come from the back room of the grocery store and that a lot of hard work goes into products uniquely grown in our state.
The people who grow products in Georgia are glad to see you whether you are 8 or 80 years old.
For some, it will be a totally new experience. For others, it will be a reunion with a pursuit that is our state’s largest industry and vital to our future.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.