A Compass For Local Agritourism

Agritourism offers fun, education and a way for farms to diversify their operations.
by Patrick Kirchhofer, Peoria County Farm Bureau
Tanners Orchard
Tanners Orchard is a popular family destination north of Peoria along Route 40.

Agritourism has become quite popular in recent years. With just one percent of the population living on a working farm, it stands to reason that some would open to the public—giving people an opportunity to experience country living and all the activities associated with producing farm commodities.

Linden Hill Farms
Located south of Peoria near the airport, Linden Hill Farms is operated by Fred and Miriam Rosenbohm, who have been conducting farm tours, primarily for schoolchildren, for many years. The first group of schoolchildren arrived in 1967, and today, they host approximately 3,000 visitors every spring, summer and fall. (Last month, the Peoria County Farm Bureau brought nearly 50 students to the farm as part of our Ag in the Classroom program.) Besides a dairy herd of approximately 100 Holstein and Brown Swiss cows, they have sheep, chickens and ponies to show visitors. This farm has been a highlight for visitors over the past four generations.

Cinnamon Tree Farm
The Cinnamon Tree Farm, owned and operated by Rod and Cathy Stahl and their daughters, offers more of a seasonal tradition. Located east of Brimfield at 17223 W. Brimfield-Jubilee Road, the farm opened for business in 1969. It was purchased in the last decade by the Stahls, who are approaching their sixth season of selling Christmas trees. Typically open a week or two prior to Thanksgiving, visitors can browse through the variety of trees (including fir, white pine and spruce) and make their own fresh-cut selection. Every spring they replant young seedlings as replacements for the trees that are harvested.
   
Roth Pumpkin Patch
Across the river in Tazewell County is the Roth Pumpkin Patch, operated by Nic Roth and family, which can trace its roots back five generations. They began selling produce to friends and neighbors from a five-acre patch in 2006, and now have 150 acres dedicated to a variety of vegetable crops and fruits, with a focus on 15 to 20 acres of “U-Pick” decorative pumpkins. The farm offers many other activities for visitors—especially children—who can go on hayrack rides, explore the straw bale maze and corn maze, scale a “pumpkin peak,” play in a corn bin sandbox, ride the pedal trike track, and more. The Pumpkin Patch, located in rural Morton, hosts tours in September and October.

Tanners Orchard
Heading north of Peoria along Route 40 you will find Tanners Orchard. Since 1947, four generations of the Tanner family have invited people to their orchard. It has become a very popular family destination with a large country market, wagon rides to the orchard to pick your own apples and pumpkins, a corn maze, the “Back 40 Fun Acres” with farm animals, a bakery serving lunches, and much more.

Now Peoria residents have the compass covered for agritourism destinations. Go south to tour Linden Hill Farms; west to visit Cinnamon Tree Farm; north to Tanner’s Orchard; and east to experience the Roth Pumpkin Patch.

Agritourism is one way farms can diversify their operations. Thanks to these farm families for keeping the doors of fun and education open for children and adults. PM

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