Retail Farm Market Tour next month

Farmers, producers, business owners, farm market managers, consumers and others interested in learning more about local food systems, food direct marketing and agritourism can participate in a Retail Farm Market Tour in July.

Ohio State University Extension, along with Penn State University Extension, will sponsor the tour to several farm markets in Ohio and Pennsylvania to demonstrate successful operation of local food systems, said Julie Fox, OSU Extension direct marketing specialist at the OSU South Centers at Piketon.

The “Are You Crazy?” Retail Farm Market Tour will be held July 9-10 and will feature several farms, farm markets and farm businesses throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The two-day event features farms and businesses that offer seasonal or year-round produce, food, agritourism, value-added products, entertainment and educational farm direct-to-consumer marketing.

“The tour demonstrates how farms, farm markets and farm businesses are using direct marketing to promote their businesses in a hands-on way for participants to see how direct marketing strategies have helped make these businesses successful,” Fox said. “This is a great opportunity for peer networking, sharing and learning.”

The tour will include stops at:

* Giant Eagle Market District Settler’s Ridge in Pittsburgh, a grocery chain that offers local foods.

* Soergel Orchards Family Farm Market in Wexford, Pa., a family-owned and -operated farm market that offers a specialty foods store featuring organic, natural, gluten-free and allergen-free foods.

* Volant Village Shops in Volant, Pa., in Amish country.

* Wilhelm Winery in Hadley, Pa., a family-owned business that offers an antique winemaking museum and handcrafted wines.

* Covered Bridge Garden in Jefferson, Ohio, a family-owned Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation with 45 acres of fresh-market vegetables.

* Molnar Farms in Poland, Ohio, a family-owned business.

* White House Fruit Farm in Canfield, Ohio, one of the largest family-owned farm markets in Ohio.

Registration for the tour is $210 per person for a double-occupancy room and $255 per person for a single occupancy. The fee includes transportation, overnight accommodations at Hampton Inn Meadville in western Pennsylvania, six meals, all snacks, wine tasting and all tours. The four buses will depart from Penn State Extension’s Allegheny County office, at 400 N. Lexington Ave., Pittsburgh, where there is free overnight parking in a secure lot.

To register for the tour, contact Tawnesha Anderson at 412-473-2540 or tea3@psu.edu. The deadline to register is June 25.

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