Agritourism is Subject of Aug. 5 Field Day

Ideas will be sprouting at Bloomsbury Farm at Atkins in east central Iowa. Compiled by staff

Published on: Jul 28, 2006

Agritourism will be the subject of a Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) field day Saturday, Aug. 5 at Bloomsbury Farm, 3260 69th St., Atkins, from 9 a.m. to noon. The field day is free and open to all.

"Agritourism is a fresh idea for farmers to add to their income," says PFI field day coordinator Todd Kimm. "We'll get a firsthand look at how one farm is fitting successfully into this niche. Anyone who cares about issues of rural vitality will find much to see and learn."

Bloomsbury Farm is eastern Iowa's largest agritourism farm. Located just west of Cedar Rapids and operated by Dave and Karen Peterson, the farm offers a wide variety of activities, including: a 10-acre corn maze, the area's largest pumpkin patch, a tire maze, antique displays, gift shop, cafe, barn rental for events like weddings, and off-site event catering. In addition to the 40 acres devoted to their agritourism business, Dave and Karen grow crops on another 3,000 acres. The farm has been in the family for five generations.

The schedule for Aug. 5 is:

9:30 a.m. - Overview of Bloomsbury Farm history and operations

10 a.m. to noon - Tour and discussion of the farm's facilities and features

Directions: About six miles west of Cedar Rapids on Highway 30; go north on 32nd Avenue for four miles, then turn east on 69th Street. Bloomsbury Farm is the first farm on the right. For more information about this field day, call PFI at (515) 232-5661, or the field day hosts Dave and Karen Peterson at (319) 446-7667. For a complete field day schedule, call PFI or go to www.practicalfarmers.org.

This field day is co-sponsored by the ISU Extension Value Added Ag. Program. This event is one of 23 PFI field days scheduled throughout Iowa into October.

PFI is a nonprofit sustainable agriculture group dedicated to farming that is profitable, environmentally sound, and healthy for consumers and communities. Founded in 1985, PFI has over 600 farmer and non-farmer members throughout Iowa. For more information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

Mt. Vernon field day Aug. 6

A CSA garden, cucumber beetles, avian flu precautions for small producers, and corn breeding will be covered at a Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) field day Sunday, Aug. 6. It will go from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., near Mt. Vernon in east central Iowa. The program begins with a garden and field-walk and continues with presentations on avian influenza and managing cucumber beetles organically in winter squash. The program is free and open to all.

Laura Krouse will host the Aug. 6 field day on her farm at 825 Abbe Hills Rd., Mt. Vernon. Krouse operates a CSA for more than 100 families in the Mt. Vernon area. A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a group of local people supporting one or more farms in their area by purchasing, in advance, shares of the farm's production.

In addition, Krouse raises and sells open-pollinated corn for seed. Called "Abbe Hills OP," the corn has been grown on the same Linn County farm for 100 years. Krouse also teaches biology at Mt. Vernon's Cornell College and is a long-time commissioner of the Linn County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The Aug. 6 schedule is:
4 p.m. - A garden and field walk - Topics include a large CSA garden; berseem and sweet clovers as cover crops; open-pollinated corn; and an on-farm improvement program.

5 p.m. - Demonstrations and Discussions - Topics are managing cucumber beetles organically in winter squash (with Professor Hank Taber of the ISU Horticulture Dept.); Also discusses will be avian influenza - What should small poultry producers do? What do consumers need to know? (with Professor Darrell Trampel, ISU Extension)

6:30 p.m. - Light dinner and visit

The Krouse event is one of 23 PFI field days scheduled throughout Iowa into October. PFI board President Susan Jutz of Solon, says, "PFI farmers are out there putting sustainable theory into practice. PFI field days give people an opportunity to see that theory in action."

Contact the PFI office at (515) 232-5661, or go to www.practicalfarmers.org for a complete listing of PFI field days. For more information about the Krouse field day, call Laura at (319) 895-6924.

To reach the Krouse farm from the intersection of Highway 30 and Highway 1 near Mt. Vernon, take Highway 1 north into town. At the light, turn left and proceed west to Eighth Avenue, also called X20. Turn right, and go north out of town one mile. At Abbe Hills Road, turn left and go west one and one-fourth mile.

PFI was founded in 1985 to assist farmers in acquiring and sharing information about practices that are both profitable and environmentally sound. Participating farmers carry out field trials and collect data themselves. They analyze results with assistance from ISU Extension. PFI has over 600 members across the state. Demonstrations and research plots are supported in part by ISU and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.