TDC Assists In Creating Farm Tour Experiences
Corporation Seeks To Reveal ‘Hidden Gems’
Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) officials have been touring a number of local farms to assist with creating farm to table tour experiences. The aim of the tours is to carry out the mandate of the Agritourism Tours Sub-Committee, which also consists of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Ministry of Tourism, Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) as well as other stakeholders.
TDC Executive Director Janet Johnson said the need for more farm experiences became more apparent since Crystal Cruises began homeporting in July. “Visitors are asking for these types of experiential activities. They want to put their carbon footprint forward so that they can visit these sites and have a cultural heritage experience,” she said. “Visitors are also requesting fresh produce cut from the farm in the morning to be used in preparation of their meals. A lot of them come from cities and urban centers and they have no idea how things grow. Just seeing a hand of bananas, guavas and guineps – people are fascinated when they discover how some things grow and being able to pick them and learn how to eat them. And so, we are looking to assist in creating these experiences that can be economically beneficial and culturally enriching.”
TDC officials visited Bristol Farm, Holey Farm, Down to Earth Adventure Farm, Farquharson Farm and Eeden Farms among others.
Event Coordinator Caron Shepard of Sinclair’s Down to Earth Adventure Farm said while it has been offering field trips for local schools, the farm is hoping to expand further into Agritourism. “I think it’s a very good idea and it has a lot of potential. The reason it has so much potential is because when tourists come to The Bahamas, they want to see things that are native to The Bahamas and with food being on the common thread, people want to see where food is being grown. So, it is a very good thing that people can actually visit the farms and see exactly what we are growing and what is native to The Bahamas and get a feel of what we are doing,” she said.
The Down to Earth Adventure Farm, which has been operational for nearly 20 years, has numerous amenities including a tour for plants and animals, farmer’s market, smoothie booth and a pizza parlor.
The farm also sells many freshly made items like tomato sauces, jams and jellies and hot sauces. Ms. Shepard encouraged other farms to take advantage of agritourism opportunities. “This is something that is going to grow and so I would encourage farmers to present their farms in a way that it can be an agritourism adventure by improving their grounds and environment. That makes it more attractive for tourists who want to have that one-of-a-kind experience,” she said.
Farm Manager at Eeden Farms Latesha Gibson said the farm, which opened last year, is also interested in agritourism opportunities. “We would be very interested in having that opportunity to have tours with tourists. We have had a lot of local tours and a lot of traction and excitement, so getting more tours with agriculture and farming in The Bahamas is an exciting venture for us,” she said. “There are a lot of farms around the islands that are hidden gems because a lot of people keep their farms hidden away. I would like to see other agritourism facilities and I’m sure there are others who would like to see this as well.”
TDC officials also plan to make several visits to the Family Islands to explore agritourism opportunities.
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