By Grant McCarty
Local Foods and Small Farms Educator, U of I Extension
A common question you might ask the farmer you purchase from at the farmers market is: “Can I come visit your farm?” Many farmers I work with hear this all the time throughout the season.
Some will setup their own open house while others will put it off until next season. If you’ve been wanting to visit farms in the Rockford area, University of Illinois Extension is proud to announce the return of Openfields Farm Tour this Saturday.
This free event is designed for you and your family to visit a number of farms in our area that have opened their fields for you. Conceived as a self-guided tour, you can plan to visit as many as you want or just a select few.
This program highlights a wide range of farming practices in our area including eggs, mixed fruit and vegetable farms, blueberry, livestock, specialty grains, organic certified and many others. This is a chance for you to see where your food is grown and raised. It will also give you the opportunity to connect better with the local farmers in our area.
Many of the farms featured on this day are those you find at farmers markets. This may also give you the chance to better understand how livestock is raised; blueberry plants are grown; grains are harvested; eggs are collected and graded; and a farm becomes certified organic. For families with children, this is an opportunity to teach your children where their food comes from and take pride in the bounty of Rockford area farms.
The Openfields Farm Tour will be held from 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Information about the event, farm information, a Google map to area farms, and additional FAQs can be found by visiting web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw and/or following the Facebook fanpage of Openfields Farm Tour.
Grant McCarty’s tips and tricks for your at-home garden appear every week in the print edition of The Rock River Times.