Hamilton agricultural tour grows in popularity
Farmers want people to understand where their food comes from
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.
Visitors check out the pigs at The Boar and Chick, which was one of the Farm Crawl stops in 2013.