Rich and colorful agriculture is on full display as many agritourism farms and Mississippi attractions welcome visitors to their way of life
Mississippi attractions abound with lively and flourishing agritourism opportunities that groups will love to experience. Farms throughout the Magnolia State invite travel groups to learn and appreciate their salt-of-the-earth ways with hands-on experiences. Here are some great stops in this beautiful state to find agritourism avocations:
Ard’s Dairy Farm
Ruth, MS/Capital/River Region
In the southern half of the region less than 20 miles from both Brookhaven and McComb off I-55, you’ll find Ruth, Mississippi, and Ard’s Dairy Farm. This is a working farm offering fun, educational tours. Learn how milk goes from the cow to your table. Feed a baby calf and enjoy a wagon ride that puts the beauty of the farm on full display. Board the “Moo Choo Train” for a ride around the pond with a stop to feed the fish.
In addition, on-site is a cozy farm house perfect for a getaway from the stress of everyday life. Slow down a bit and experience the quiet country setting. That hammock might be calling your name. The number of guests is limited and reservations well in advance are required. visitmississippi.org/things-to-do/point-of-interest/ards-dairy-farm/.
Cedar Hill Farm
Hernando, MS/Hills Region
More Mississippi attractions await just minutes south of Memphis at Cedar Hills Farm, a family owned and operated farm open to the public since 1996. Throughout its history, improvements to the offerings have been made annually to assure the farm’s position as one of the top agritourism businesses in the Mid-South. Every season, you’ll find something new to do at this farm. From berry picking in the summer to the Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maize in the fall, there are fun events throughout the year.
There are a host of private event options for groups from 28 to 240 attendees. As there are a number of seating options, there is also a wide range of food options. Ideal for tour and travel, reunions, corporate and weddings, a private event in the beauty of a farm setting is a perfect addition to any itinerary.
Pride of the Pond
Tunica, MS/Delta Region
On Highway 4 in Tunica, there’s a family business that’s all about catfish. Who knew there was this much attention to detail in bringing this Southern favorite to your table. Those of us who have fished know catfish are bottom feeders, but never even thought about what that does to alter the taste. Consistency of taste is exactly what Pride of the Pond strives to accomplish. Delivering on the Certified on Flavor promise begins by gathering the eggs and upon hatching teach them to surface feed on a vegetable-based grain.
When returned to the ponds, the surface feeding continues as the fish mature. The ponds are under USDA supervision and maintained hormone and antibiotic free. The proof of this meticulous attention to detail is in the tasting. Regularly a few weeks prior to processing, fish are caught and the flavor checked by the distinctive palate of the official taster. A detailed look at how the demanding quality standards are met is well worth the visit.
Biloxi Shrimping Trip
Biloxi, MS/Coastal Region
Since 1954, visitors have been joining a real shrimping expedition and discovering the sea life caught. During the 70-minute “Living Marine Adventure,” you’ll learn all about catching, cooking and eating this Mississippi Gulf Coast delicacy. Like Bubba told Forrest in the movie Forrest Gump, there are plenty of ways to prepare and eat shrimp. The experienced crew and captain will give full details of what makes the net spread and operate correctly. They’ll be on-hand for inspection and identification of the net’s bounty. Of the many Mississippi attractions to visit, tours on the water add that southern culture your group craves.
The Biloxi Cruise Company offers two distinct packages to tour operator groups of 20+. Gulf Coast Culinary Tour Package includes the Biloxi Shrimping Trip. A culinary demonstration and lunch with Julian Grunt, a noted food writer, photographer and cookbook author at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum. A tour of the museum is included with a city tour culminating your experience. The Gulf Coast Tour Package includes a tour of the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum. The Biloxi Shrimping Trip, a “70 Minute Living Marine Adventure Cruise” followed by a Biloxi Shrimp Boil. The tour includes a tour of Beauvoir Mansion & Jefferson Davis Presidential Library. biloxishrimpingtrip.com
A Stroke Gene-us Alpacas
Stringer, MS /Pines Region
After visiting Laurel, home of Hometown on HGTV, take the 30-minute drive to Stringer and A Stroke Gene-us Alpacas. This small family farm is a treat. A tour of the farm for your group will take about an hour during which you’ll learn about the curious alpacas. You’ll be able to feed the alpacas and learn how their unique fiber is turned into yarn. You’ll also make a wet felted soap to take home.
Purchasing alpaca products not only keeps farmers in business, but the fiber is ideal for people who are sensitive to other fibers. Alpaca fiber is hypoallergenic and contains no lanolin. Take time to shop products made from the farm’s annual alpaca shearing and other farm animal products. A spinning demonstration that converts alpaca fiber to yarn is a must see. Groups are welcome and reservations are required.
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By Dave Bodle