This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.
To kick off the Harvest Moon Local Food Week, the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District will be putting on a local farm tour and wine tasting event. The event — the first of its kind — will tour three local farms, including Lancashire Farms, Ridgeway Farm and Alaska Berries.
Heidi Chay, district manager for Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District, helped organize the event.
“What makes this event new and different is the fact we are visiting three unique local farms, then ending with a wine tasting,” Chay said. “We’re giving people an inside look at three farms that are tackling the challenges of growing in this challenging climate in different ways… It should make for a very varied and interesting outing for folks.”
A motorcoach will be carrying passengers from one farm to the next. Local food expert Janice Chumley will be the acting tour guide.
“We partnered with (Chumley), a local expert on local farms, who is also very entertaining and knowledgeable,” Chay said.
Chay said the tour is a part of the growing industry of agricultural tourism.
“This tour is to showcase small farms and to build on the idea that we have a thriving visitor industry here,” Chay said.
The farms were chosen for the tour in part because of their accessibility and proximity to one another, and to provide examples of all the different facets of small-scale agriculture that are present in the area.
Lancashire Farms is a multigeneration farm with homestead history. They raise sheep for fiber and meat, lambs for the 4-H program, eggs, chicken and use a geodesic-shaped high tunnel to grow vegetables.
Ridgeway Farms uses many high tunnels and fields to grow an abundance of vegetables. They also have the largest vegetable subscription service in the area, Chay said.
Alaska Berries differs in that they are solely devoted to berries and fruit, and to creating products like wine, jam and vinegar.
The tour was made possible through an Alaska Division of Agriculture and Specialty Crop Block Grant.
The event also partnered with Alaska Farm Tours, who assisted with promotion and ticket sales. Limited space available for people who purchase a ticket today online at AlaskaFarmTours.com.