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Agritourism Monthly

Kentucky Department of Agriculture James R. Comer, Commissioner

KDA Office of Marketing • Division of Agritourism • Dr. Amelia Brown Wilson, Director • (502) 564-4983 x 234 • (502) 564-0383 fax

Winter is downtime for much of Kentucky’s agritourism, but the wise don’t simply kick back. This pause between tourism onslaughts is prime for assessing how last year went and making plans to improve your bottom line next year, as you start checking off items in

Planning for the coming season Maximize memberships.

The benefits of professional groups begin with membership. Join Kentucky Proud and Kentucky Farms are Fun, and access all the services they provide.

Visit the KFAF website.

Check out, the updated KFAF website. Review the education and communciations resources offered. Complete the profile form in this newsletter so KFAF can better serve you.

Apply for a grant.

Kentucky Proud Promotional Grants help compensate your expenses of promoting your Kentucky Proud products. Fill out and return the grant application form in this newsletter.

Try some new ideas. Top marketing ideas for agritourism operations By Mike Wetter Consultant, Mike Wetter and Associates

• Happy customers are key to success. They return, and tell their friends. Learn their names. Remember what they like and have it ready for them. Keep a database if you can’t keep it in your head. Little touches make the difference. • Develop a mailing list. Get names from outdoor and trade magazines, associations, and other sources for prospects. Your mailing list is a crucial asset. Mail to past customers at least twice a year to preserve your relationship and bring them back. • Cater to as “high-end” a customer as you can. Don’t be afraid to charge for your service. This is not a volume business; it is hard to go low-end

SUCCESS TAKES MORE THAN GROWING PUMPKINS. Profit from your agritourism attraction will be increased by thoughtful off-season planning. This crop is from French Valley Farms, Jamestown. More about Russell County tourism, page 4.

and make a worthwhile profit. Target people with money, and charge more for your service. Be aware these customers will then, in turn, expect more from you - not necessarily the expensive “upscale” touches, but rather the high-quality experience you can provide through personal attention. • People don’t visit primarily to hunt, fish, or ride a horse or tractor – they primarily visit to (see IDEAS, page 2) Agritourism Monthly • January 2014 •


IDEAS ... continued from page 1

have fun and to relax. You are in the hospitality business; take care of your customers and you will succeed. Always ask customers what they liked about their stay, and what could be improved. • Take care of details. Make sure your telephone is answered professionally (“Anderson Ranch,” not “Hello?”). Your answering machine should have a professional message. Return calls promptly. • Let your neighbors know about you. Join the Chamber of Commerce. Talk to gas station owners, cafés, service organizations, motels, and neighboring farms. Give people your brochure and make sure people in your area know about you. Start close to home at first and move out gradually. • Obtain information from other operations similar to yours. See what they are offering and what it costs. Look at their brochures to see what you like and don’t like, and improve your materials accordingly. Get addresses and phone numbers of other operations from outdoor

Kentucky Department of Agriculture James R. Comer, Commissioner

If you would like your agritourism success story featured in Agritourism Monthly, or you have an event you would like to include, email details (photos are helpful) and a phone number to Amelia Wilson,



recreation magazines. Call and say you are just starting out and ask for a few minutes for some questions. Owners are generally willing to give you up to a half-hour of free advice. • Create a media presence. Paid media advertising isn’t the only way, and some avenues are less expensive, and can yield comparable effectiveness. Have someone knowledgeable in social media help you create a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a presence on other social media. Once that’s in place, take steps to get people talking. Use roadside signage to the extent local ordinances and state laws allow. Put signage visible from the road on your own property. Make sure people can find you and contact you. • Produce quality brochures and PR materials. Don’t clutter your brochures with lots of words; favor strong photos. Hire a photographer and graphic artist, or get lots of feedback from other business people before you go to print. Have your brochures commercially printed, not digitally copied, and don’t consider working in amateurish black-and-white. Color printing is slightly more expensive than digital copying, but color printing shows a high commitment to quality, attracts lots more attention, and commands greater respect. • Send information about your company to magazines and newspapers. Send them news releases and story ideas. Invite them out for a free stay. Follow mailings with personal calls. Think of things that will interest them. __________ Includes material adapted by Desmond Jolly, Cooperative Extension agricultural economist, from Agritourism Workgroup and Resources, Oregon Department of Agriculture. • = KDA.

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www.kentuckyfarmsarefun .com 2 •

Agritourism Monthly • January 2014

Paducah’s world-class quilting honored By Laura Schaumberg

Paducah has earned international recognition as a world center of quilting folk art culture. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Paducah the world’s seventh City of Crafts and Folk Art, celebrating Paducah’s longstanding tradition in quiltmaking. Recognition as a Creative City from this worldwide organization establishes this Kentucky city’s importance as a creative hub on a global scale.


Known as “Quilt City USA ,” Paducah is a worldwide center for quilters and fiber artists, home to the National Quilt Museum, American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek , and some of the quilt industry’s most significant personalities.


Paducah hosts global visitors who come to western Kentucky to celebrate quilting’s colors and rhythmic patterns as a world-class art form.

Paducah quilt show image, from the blog of Mary Lou Danielson (maryldanielson., who has quilt patterns and e-books for sale on her blog site.

Paducah’s rich, deep history in the folk art aspects of quilts and quiltmaking is passed on primarily through community traditions. The Kentucky Quilt Project was the first quilt documentation project in the world. Over the last quarter-century, the quilt has been reborn as a vibrant, provocative collectible. Paducah’s quilting culture preserves time-honored traditional designs and methods while simultaneously developing the art quilt movement. Paducah joins Santa Fe, Aswan, Kanazawa, Icheon, Hangzhou and Fabriano on the list of 41 worldwide UNESCO cities recognized as cultural centers for crafts and folk arts, literature, film, music, design, media arts, and gastronomy. _________ Laura Schaumberg is marketing director of the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau.

A fiber art workshop is given at Bryerpatch Studio, home and gallery of professional textile artist Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry. Her comprehensive online gallery is at Agritourism Monthly • January 2014 •


Russell County Agritourism:

Catching Fire! Christian Marson lines up his shot at Lake Cumberland Turkey Ridge, 450 acres of privately-owned land (420 acres of woods and 30 acres of open field), featuring in-season hunting for deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, and opossum.

Russell County Tourism has begun a program of farm tours and agri-education to the public, county tourism director Janette Marson announced. Farm owners in Russell County are recognizing, with the help of local and Kentucky state tourism, that opening up their farms and operations to the public will provide additional income to their businesses. Agritourism is one very effective way to supplement farm income (that in many cases once came from tobacco) and help sustain today’s family farm. Farm stays growing popular Russell County tourism begins with and revolves around Lake Cumberland and houseboating, Marson said, but many travelers also want to experience farm life, get away from city lifestyles, and experience a more peaceful atmosphere. Many times they want to participate and see first-hand how their food is grown, experience what it takes to care for farm animals, see stars in a night sky, and view wildlife that roam free. Folks who live in cities have little to no direct connection to farm life, and agritourism gives them a way to connect with the land, animals, and hard 4 •

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work that go into producing food, Marson said. For some, an entire vacation revolves around agritourism activity, whether staying in a cabin on a farm, or pitching in with farm chores. Cheese and bees One of the popular farm tours is Heavenly Homestead Cheese in Russell Springs, where visitors experience every aspect of cheese from the milking process to tasting and purchasing the finished product. A close look at beekeeping and honey production is featured at The Wheat Farm. This multi-generation farm makes a family tradition of beekeeping, honey production, and orchard fruit. Tour groups see the beekeeping operations impressively close. Varied fun opportunities Other opportunities include cabin stays, canoeing on the Cumberland River, horseback riding lessons, horse barn tours, hunting, agri-entertainment such as the Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival, farmers’ markets and produce, local greenhouses, an art studio, and classes held in gorgeous rural surroundings. Marson said agritourism is good both for farm

Terry Huff of Heavenly Homestead Cheese ( far left), and Wheat Farm owner Janet Wheat (right) and her daughter Laura Wheat Nicely, have worked hard to offer interesting, hands-on agritourism experiences to Russell County visitors.

families and the county because “we not only help local farmers generate additional funds, we also give tourists more activities and more reasons to stay in our area. That benefits our local recreational facilities, hospitality providers, restaurants, and other businesses.” Liability protections legislated Getting farm owners involved with agritourism was not difficult, Marson said, especially since the passage of House Bill 440 in 2012. The law protects agritourism operators if a participant is injured or killed as a result of the inherent risks of an agritourism activity (in the absence of operator liability).

Many farmers say that the protections of HB 440 make all the difference when it comes to allowing guests on their property. The protections make everything safer for both the farm owner and the participant, because farm owners are required to make sure there is no negligence involved. Marson said the current 16 Russell County agritourism opportunities will expand by 2015.

Russell County agritourism Tourism Office, Janette Marson, Director - (270) 866-4333 Andrew’s Outdoor Adventure 285 Scott Andrew Rd, Jamestown................... (270) 343-4453 Cumberland River Adventure Canoeing 455 Murray Rd, Jamestown............................. (270) 566-8383 Dunbar’s Western Store 1973 Hwy 379, Russell Springs....................... (270) 866-5375 www . dunbarstack . com French Valley Farms 1842 North Main St, Jamestown...................... (270) 566-1757 Heavenly Homestead Cheese 537 Huff Rd, Windsor....................................... (270) 585-4833 Jake Glover Riding Stables for Youth and Adults 455 Murray Rd, Jamestown............................. (270) 566-8383 Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival 1911 S Hwy 76, Russell Springs..................... (270) 566-1488 www. lcbluegrass . com Email: hart @ hotmail . com Lake Cumberland Turkey Ridge 1900 Ramsey Creek Rd, Jamestown.............. (270) 585-1531 (270) 343-3501 Email: marsonwoods @ aol . com M & M Lodge 2423 S Hwy 92, Jamestown............................ (270) 343-3273 www . mmlodgecumberland . com

Peaceful Valley Lake & Cabins 126 Hudson Cemetery Rd, Russell Springs..... (270) 866-4528 www . peacefulvalleylake&cabins . com Reva’s Greenhouses 148 Carnes Loop, Jamestown.......................... (270) 566-8044 www . revasgreenhouses . com Russell County Farmers’ Market Hwy 127 & Lakeway Dr, Russell Springs........... (270) 343-4453 Shell’s Wolf Creek Outfitters/ Foggy Bottom Campground 310 Kaufman Rd, Jamestown.......................... (270) 343-2510 www.fishwolfcreek .com Email: wolfcrk @ duo-county . com Solitude Studio Art 1900 N Hwy 379, Jamestown.......................... (502) 523-1325 Wheat Farms 1081 Acree Rd, Russell Springs...................... (270) 866-5492 Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery 50 Kendall Rd, Jamestown............................... (270) 343-3797 www . fws . gov/wolfcreek Agritourism Monthly • January 2014 •


Burdoc Farms Weddings & Events

1655 Pleasant Grove Rd., Crofton, KY 42217 (270) 348-1483

Burdoc Farms in Crofton is a 700-acre family farm located 10 minutes north of Hopkinsville and 20 minutes south of Madisonville. The property features a 1,000-square-foot, hand-hewn log cabin; a gazebo nestled in a tree grove; a 4,000-square-foot converted hay barn with hardwood floors; and a 4,000-square-foot tobacco barn with crystal chandeliers - any of which provide a perfect location for outdoor weddings, whether formal, rustic, vintage or western.

Transforming Burdoc Burdoc Farms, Crofton, went through several steps over many years to transform from a livestock farm into a B&B/wedding venue. By AMBER AVERITT SurfKY News

© 2013

Norma was a family medicine physician in Hopkinsville, serving the Christian County area and delivering over 6,000 babies in her career. She made frequent house calls. One night in the early 1950s, one of those calls was made to Burwell Keith Shepherd Sr., a Hopkinsville attorney who had fallen ill. Apparently, they got lovesick, too; six months later, they were married. For a wedding present, they were given money for a home in Hopkinsville, but Burwell Sr. and Dr. rofton for $2 an acre in 1952. The couple combined their names, sort of, and named their purchase Burdoc Farms. The beef cattle years They purchased American Shorthorn beef cattle and operated their livestock farm for more than 40 years. Then the farm passed to the control of one of their sons, Burwell Keith Shepherd Jr., assisted by his wife, Sara, and their three children, Jessica, James and Jackie. ( Jessica helps run the operation today.) “We took over the farm in the 1980s - 700 acres of secluded woods a mile off Highway 41,” said Sara. After inheriting the farm, the junior Burwell decided to make use of his University of Kentucky forestry degree. Burwell converted the cattle farm to 6 •

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production of hardwood trees. Trees become cabins Burwell and Sara educated themselves on building log homes, and purchased a sawmill to cut their own logs. Every piece of flooring, molding, and stud walls of their home, and any work done to the barns, Burwell did himself with trees cut from their farm. Later they built another log cabin guest house behind the main residence so family and friends could visit. When the children grew up and moved out, they decided to turn the small cabin into a B&B. Burwell then began to clear trails for visitors to hike eight miles of scenic outdoor trails. Visitors now enjoy the trails by any means they prefer - hiking, or riding ATVs, horses, or mountain bikes. Daughter first wedding client When Burwell and Sara’s oldest daughter, Jessica, wanted to have her wedding on the farm, the parents set to work on more modifications. “The barns were just sitting there not being used,” Sara said. “We cleared everything out and converted the farm to accommodate a wedding.” They turned their hay barn into a wedding venue, and later turned their tobacco barn into another. “We were also able to get a gazebo. We do the whole recycling, reducing, and reusing,” Sara said. “We are really big on being green.” After their daughter’s wedding, Sara took the advice of family and friends and made the farm her career. “We were scared,” Sara recalls. “We didn’t know

anything about the business, so we wondered if we would we be able to understand the wedding industry and what would appeal to brides and grooms. How should we tap the market?” Never looked back Once the couple realized they had an overriding passion for their farm and its beauty that they wanted to share, “that helped us bridge the gap in appealing to brides and grooms. The rest just fell into place,” Sara said, and the couple has never looked back. “Last year, we had 12 confirmed weddings, and we already have 16 weddings for 2014,” she said. “We get a really strong reaction from our grooms more than the brides. They say they feel at home, very comfy, and love the wide open spaces.”

Love to share the land The couple’s stated goals are “to grow, share and expose our vision of farming to people, to be selfsustaining, to bring people to this area of Kentucky that have never been here, and to help stimulate and contribute to the local economy.” Sara said turning their farm into a wedding venue has been a fun experience and loves being able to share with people their beautiful home and land. “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get where we are, but it has been worth it. I love it,” Sara said. ________ Article includes material © Copyright 2013 by SurfKY News Group, Inc. Used by permission of SurfKY and Amber Averitt. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Photos, from the Burdoc Farms website, are by Elizabeth Thompson Photography.

The fully furnished log cabin rents in wedding packages as a changing area for wedding parties. The building features sleeping accommodations for six; 1,000 square feet of living space with kitchen, living room, dining area, bath, washer-dryer, and cathedral ceilings. Porches wrap around the cabin for enjoying the outdoors. Additional guests can be accommodated in the 3,000-square-foot log-cabin home, with two additional bedrooms.

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Beautiful Mammoth Cave. Below: Robert Wharton rappelling into Hidden Cave. Are YOU next?

Kentucky’s cave system, a graceful, ethereal world below the surface, is challenging to the imagination and unique to experience in January. The relative warmth is just one reason. By ELAINE H. WILSON Executive Director, Kentucky Office for Adventure Tourism

As I write this, it’s 4 degrees outside with a wind chill of -10, so I recommend an inside activity: something warm that keeps the kids moving and excited, challenges your friends, and allows quality time with your significant other. You might not guess from this that I mean visiting Kentucky’s famous caves. Much of Kentucky sits atop a maze of limestone caves in which the temperature stays near 55 degrees. Not only do you escape the surface’s winter chill, you discover a new world inside the earth. We were recently in the perfect place to mix outdoor and inside activities. Seven of us made the quick trip down I-65 to Hidden River Cave, right in downtown Horse Cave. In tow were my nephews and one of their wives, age range 12 to 25. 8 •

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Conquering fears at Hidden River Cave To begin our winter adventure, we zipped across the opening of the cave. Three of the group had never ziplined before and, unfortunately, one still hasn’t. The zipline was followed by the rappel into the cave, and after wimping out on the zipline, the nephew most afraid of heights surprised us all and rappelled down into the cave opening. We were all somewhat apprehensive about the rappeling, although we all met the challenge despite three of us being sincerely afraid of heights. I remembered Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” so rather than talk ourselves out of it, we just went and

did it. We pushed all fears and negative thoughts aside - and wow! The exhilaration was indescribable. Conquering your own fear is a huge triumph. Sir Edmund Hillary, the explorer who first scaled Mount Everest, said, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” And so we did. Tours for all levels The guides at Hidden River Cave are awesome! Their set-up is just right for amateurs or firsttimers for both rappelling and ziplining. These guides made us feel that we could do anything, and without question, we felt safe while doing it. If you’d like, they also can advise you how to take it up a notch adrenaline-wise. Hidden River offers one-hour, three-hour, and five-hour “adventure” cave tours, each increasingly challenging and exciting. The adventure tours are a belly-crawling, lit-only-by-your-headlamp, cavernous expedition you won’t forget. Our guide told of Mike Rowe (of The Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” show) briefly getting wedged in a side passage. You will hear that amusing story when you tour. Go to for more information. Mammoth Cave serves all skills Down the road is the world’s longest cave system, Mammoth Cave. The new visitor center and museum educates visitors entertainingly on the 400-plus miles of mapped caves. You can opt for one of five skill-matched tours, from the quarter-mile, easier Frozen Niagara Tour to the five-mile, extremely challenging Wild Cave Tour. We loved the History and Frozen Niagara tours we’ll tackle the Wild Cave Tour next trip. Remember, you must reserve a tour at least one day prior to arriving. Go to for the tour menu and other information.

Catch all the adventurous happenings at

Above: The brave party outfits for action. From left are Ben Wilson, Louisville; Robert and Ryan Wharton, both of Lexington; Conner Wilson, Louisville; and Daniel Wilson, Paducah. Daniel’s wife, Melissa, is turned away suiting up, at left rear. At left: Robert rappels into Hidden Cave.

Carter Caves winter fun soon up East Carter Caves State Resort Park at Olive Hill sits a good distance away from the caves of south-central Kentucky. It is the only public-accessible cave in eastern Kentucky. In addition to great cave tours, the Winter Adventure Weekend is held here each last weekend in January. (There’s still time to reserve!) The weekend includes cave tours, hiking, kayaking, recreational tree climbing, winter survival, rappelling, archaeological field trips, and a zipline. Many of the activities are conducted only on this special weekend. Guests select from a list of trips geared for beginners and advanced winter adventurers alike. All trips and events are led by guides. The trips list, registration information, and other details are at All participants must register in advance at this site. Lodge rooms and camping are available. For more information, call Carter Caves State Resort Park at (606) 286-4411, or visit Agritourism Monthly • January 2014 •


“Farmers’ Feast” pays tribute to food producers RVAA sponsors salute at Ewing’s Par-a-Dox B&B River Valley Agritourism Alliance (RVAA) recently held their second annual “Farmers’ Feast,” an opportunity for diners to experience the connection between the land, the local food, and the hard work and talent of the farmers who grow it. This outdoor fine-dining experience took place at Par-a-Dox Farms Bed & Breakfast in Ewing. Diners toured the B&B and farm, and met with other RVAA members to learn about their agritourism locations and the products they provide. Sara Swope Pettit, RVAA marketing director, said we are privileged to live in a region that holds agriculture in such high regard. “Our history and culture steeped in agriculture is prevalent in the pride of the farmers. Their dedication to the land and the quality in their products is not just a business, but a way of life,” she told the group. “Support of the community for our local farmers is imperative to the success of the commerce derived from the agricultural resources,” she continued. Agritourism has provided the RVAA region with many unique farming experiences, and farmers are willing to use their resources to educate the community, Pettit noted. She said agritourism allows farm visitors to experience the diversity and the entrepreneurial mindsets of farmers, and to learn where healthy, locally-grown products come from, all the while developing a clientele and promoting commerce.

Hors d’oeuvres and wine tasting were followed by a fourcourse dinner served by the Morehead State University Ambassadors.

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The food and wine were provided and prepared directly from local farms by RVAA members.

Kentucky Proud products from River Valley.

Kentucky Agritourism Website K  Agritourism Venue Information Form     ARE YOU A KENTUCKY PROUD AGRITOURISM VENUE? PLEASE UPDATE WITH YOUR CURRENT INFORMATION: Agritourism Venue Name (e.g. “Evans Orchard”): ______________________________________ Contact: ______________________________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________________________________ Phone: ______________________________________________________________________ Email: ______________________________________________________________________ Website: ______________________________________________________________________ Are you a member of the Farm Bureau Roadside Market Program? _______________________ Hours of operation (please include seasonal hours if applicable): _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Directions to venue (i.e., from nearest Interstate, or from closest city): _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Upcoming Events – Limit three. If you would rather list season events like Apple Festival in September that is fine. _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ (Circle only 2 from the following) Ag Education Christmas Tree Farm Distillery / Brewery Farm Attraction Farmers’ Market Farm Stay / B&B Garden / Nursery Horse Farm / Racing Livestock Museum Orchard / Maze / U-Pick Restaurant Roadside Market / Farm Store Trail Ride Winery Other ____________________________________________ Short description of your Agritourism venue (Limit 200 words; feel free to use another sheet) _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

Please return information form to Kentucky Department of Agriculture Division of Agritourism 100 Fair Oaks Lane, 5th Floor Frankfort, KY 40601 Agritourism Monthly • January 2014 •


Save the Date! March 6, 2014

Kentucky Farm Bureau Certified Roadside Farm Market Program

Spring Education Meeting Thursday, March 6, 2014 Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau 1030 N. Mulberry St., Elizabethtown, KY 42701 11:00 am - 3:00 pm EST With a focus on:

Hiring Employees for the Farm Market Agriculture vs. Farm Market Labor Laws Workers Compensation Employer Rights Is H2A Right for You? And:

Weddings on the Farm REGISTRATION FOR THE EVENT IS REQUIRED BY FEBRUARY 25. Registration fees: Members of Certified Roadside Farm Market Program - Free Non-members of Certified Roadside Farm Market Program - $30.00 Lunch will be provided for all participants. For registration information call or e-mail: Susan Ellis, 502-495-5019, Kara Keeton, 502-495-5016, Registrations may be submitted via email, fax to 502-495-5114, or mail to Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Attn: Susan Ellis, P.O. Box 20700, Louisville, KY 40250-0700

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Kentucky Agritourism Newsletter - January 2014