We put a lot of effort into preparing for this first farm tour of 2009. We worked through a two page checklist to make sure the tour would be as safe as possible, especially for children. This included walking the tour route, making sure it was clean and safe (no tripping hazards, tools left out, etc.), and in some cases working to improve the route. We collected all tools and other hazards and placed them out of sight; this was especially important given that we expected several families with kids. We planned out what we wanted to say where, to keep it moving while hitting all the important topics. We cleaned up the house and the prep shed, and even did some mowing. Overall, we spent the bulk of our time Saturday through Sunday afternoon getting ready.
We started in the market garden, explaining our core approach to integrated intensive organic growing. Then we moved up to the fruit plantings and discussed our active logging efforts and how that work fit into the rest of our farming. From there, we cut through some woods, over a ridge, and down into the main vegetable field, to talk about our expansion into larger-scale production. We finished by visiting with the farm animals as a nice, fun close. Afterwards, we served samplers of farm-fresh flatbreads with our fresh-made goat cheese and produce while answering any remaining questions.
I felt we had a great time, as those who came seemed to really enjoy the walkthrough and the discussion. It was a good first experience for us in giving an organized tour (as opposed to just hosting individuals by request). We’ll probably shoot for late July or early August for our next tour. By then, we’ll be in the peak of our summer growth, though the weather may not be as comfortable as the glorious day we had this time.