Farmers money in on ‘agritourism’ amid summer season tenting season

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A nearly $1 billion industry in the US, agritourism combines agricultural production and travel, and it’s growing in popularity this summer.

At a Christmas tree farm in the heart of Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley, the start of summer is busier than expected.

Between the trees there are dozens of tents and eager campers ready to spend the night. It’s an unusual camping experience that Heritage Farms owners, George and Carol Haramis, have been offering for nearly a decade.

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“It never crossed their minds to camp on a Christmas tree farm,” George Haramis told Fox Business. “This has been a family business for 175 years and each generation has done something different. … This [camping] is a small part of what we do to keep things going.”

At Heritage Farms, owners George and Carol Haramis turn their Christmas tree farm into campsites every summer. (Stephen Goin / Fox News)

The Haramis campground is part of the country’s growing “agritourism” economy, which combines agricultural production with travel by attracting visitors to the farms for entertainment.

According to the latest U.S. Census of Agriculture, it is a nearly $1 billion industry.

This has been a family business for 175 years and each generation has done something different. … This [camping] is a small part of what we do to keep things going.
– George Haramis

“The farm gives you easy access to modern amenities, restaurants and, you know, shopping. But out here you might as well be in the wild wilderness… it’s all like a national park,” said George Haramis.

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Haramis said he maintains about 15 campgrounds, including a handful of rainproof shelters, from April through October. In June, camper Stephanie Hoover said she was glad to find Heritage Farms in the middle of a cross-country road trip.

Hipcamp, a camping platform similar to AirBNB, reports that demand for camping on private property has increased by 470% since 2019. (Hip Camp / Fox News)

“The problem with a lot of state parks is that they tend to get overcrowded,” Hoowver said. “We’re always looking for other areas where it allows us to easily disconnect from our city life that we experience every day.”

Industry insiders say agritourism has surged in popularity amid the pandemic. Hipcamp, a camping platform similar to AirBNB, reports that demand for camping on private property has increased by 470% since 2019.

Sameer Dohadwala, Hipcamp’s Global Head of Operations, said the concept benefits both campers and hosts in a way that traditional camping cannot.

agritourism

Farmers benefit from “agritourism” in the middle of the summer camping season. (Stephen Goin / Fox News)

“The main advantage for the hosts is the economic opportunities. Last year we put more than $31 million in the pockets of the hosts in the US alone,” said Dohadwala. “Besides the money, this is an opportunity for many of our hosts to share their country and connect with people.”

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Dohadwala expects more people to choose to explore the great outdoors through agritourism in 2021 as traditional campsites in national and state parks continue to see large crowds and reservations.