Hamil­ton agri­cul­tural tour grows in pop­u­lar­ity

Farm­ers want peo­ple to un­der­stand where their food comes from

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - CARMELA FRAGOMENI

Farm Crawl, an ex­pe­ri­ence unique to Hamil­ton as far as the or­ga­niz­ers know, is ex­pand­ing again as its pop­u­lar­ity con­tin­ues to grow.

The event — an op­por­tu­nity to get a look in­side area fam­ily farms — runs three times a year: May, July and Au­gust.

“The idea is we want peo­ple to un­der­stand where their food comes from and what it’s like to live and work on a farm,” said Kevin Bea­gle, one of the founders — and owner of Weir’s Lane Laven­der and Api­ary farm. “It gives peo­ple a taste of ru­ral liv­ing,” he added.

Last year, 10 farms par­tic­i­pated and 850 peo­ple at­tended all three crawls. In the May crawl alone, there were about 175 peo­ple at the six farms par­tic­i­pat­ing.

This May 27, 11 farms are par­tic­i­pat­ing.

Farm Crawl started five years ago in just May and July with three area farms and about 60 peo­ple at­tend­ing.

Bea­gle re­called how it orig­i­nated as “a very or­di­nary idea. The three of us (orig­i­nal farms) got to­gether and said wouldn’t it be neat if …”

The event has now ex­panded to more farms “to give our vis­i­tors a broader ex­pe­ri­ence”, he said.

As the num­ber of vis­i­tors has grown each year, the num­ber of par­tic­i­pat­ing farms has in­creased to spread the crowd out over sev­eral ar­eas to al­le­vi­ate the stress on just a few farms in terms of park­ing and such, Bea­gle said.

Farm Crawl Hamil­ton is a non­profit run by the orig­i­nal three farms — Manorun Or­ganic Farm, Weir’s Lane Laven­der and Api­ary, and Jerry’s Berries (a.k.a. Lotsa Hostas). Ticket sales cover the costs of mar­ket­ing, op­er­at­ing and man­ag­ing Farm Crawl.

Par­tic­i­pants drive from farm to farm, in the or­der they wish.

Ex­pect to see many dif­fer­ent types of farm an­i­mals, in­clud­ing pigs, cows, chick­ens, bees and al­pacas, and learn how they are part of the farm ecosys­tem.

Vege­tar­i­ans can still en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence with­out the an­i­mals by vis­it­ing a par­tic­i­pat­ing win­ery, berry and gar­lic farms, as well as a Christ­mas tree farm.

The May crawl is fo­cused on the start of the grow­ing sea­son and the year-long care of an­i­mals.

SCOTT GARD­NER, HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

Vis­i­tors check out the pigs at The Boar and Chick, which was one of the Farm Crawl stops in 2013.

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