When it comes to agritourism, who says kids get to have all the fun? While many Tennessee farms are known for family-friendly activities such as pumpkin patches, hayrides, pony rides and petting zoos, opportunities abound for adults to get in on the farm fun, too. Farm tours, elegant farm-to-table dinners, wine tastings, cooking classes and upscale camping are just a few of the ways grown-ups can escape from the daily grind and savor a more relaxed, rural lifestyle.
See more: What is Agritourism?
Lucky Ladd Farms in Eagleville, for example, hosts a popular Bunny & Brew Adult Egg Hunt each spring with appetizers, games, an all-you-can-drink souvenir cup and more than $3,500 in cash and prizes. “We’ve found that adults want a unique, out-of-the-box experience that gives them permission to relive childhood and simply have fun,” says Amy Ladd, farm owner. “Ultimately, it works because we are providing an entertaining escape where adults can gather with friends, laugh a lot and create memories.”
In Springfield, White’s Family Farm hosts its annual Cuisine in the Corn farm-to-table dinner in September, where guests can feast on farm-fresh meats and vegetables while listening to live music under the stars.
For years, Leslie and Randy Liles enjoyed hosting parties for friends and family on their 50-acre Hayshed Farms in Kingston Springs.
“We noticed every time we entertained our friends and family, people were always taken aback by the beauty of our land,” Leslie says. “We have this huge bluff. We felt guilty because we realized we should be sharing it,” she says. “So I asked my husband to build a permanent tent we could use to reach couples who are struggling.”
Leslie works in health care and has several friends in psychiatry. She believes married couples need a secluded place to reconnect with nature – and each other.
“We wanted to reach adults because marriage is hard work, and couples need therapy without seeing a therapist. They need to disconnect from the world, and the farm makes people feel safe,” Leslie says. “We call it glamping, or glamorous camping, because you can come camp without having to figure out what you need.”
Hayshed Farms’ campsite has all the amenities of a hotel, including a comfortable king-size bed, toiletries, a coffee maker and cookware. Guests can collect eggs from the henhouse, pick berries and forage the gardens for salad makings.
“All you really have to pack is your food,” Leslie says. “We take guests on a tour of the farm out to the creek, the river and through the fields. We show them where to hike and where they can fish. We encourage them to do simple things like take off their shoes and go walk in the water or go canoeing. Catch crawfish or minnows. Roast a marshmallow by the campfire.”
Surprisingly, Leslie says the farm attracts many ladies’ groups in addition to couples.
“We’ve found girls want to come out with a bottle of wine and giggle, laugh and get away from their kids and husbands,” Leslie says. “You have the utmost privacy here.”
Green Door Gourmet
You may not expect to find a working farm not too far from downtown Nashville, but that’s exactly the idea behind Green Door Gourmet. Situated on 350 acres along the Cumberland River, Green Door Gourmet provides an agricultural oasis that includes an on-farm market selling grass-fed meats, honey, jams, dairy products, baked goods and more.
“We offer educational walking tours related to the food we grow – topics such as how your food choices impact your family’s health, what farm-to-table really means, home gardening and growing flowers,” says Sylvia Ganier, founder of Green Door Gourmet. “We also host farm-to-table dinners, which educate consumers in a delicious, experiential way how high-quality food from an organic farm tastes. The majority of our events are targeted toward a more mature audience simply because of the diverse flavor components and adventurous preparations.”
Green Door Gourmet also hosts cooking and nutrition classes, floral design workshops, wine pairing and tasting classes, corporate team-building experiences and the highly anticipated Barbecue University. A new education center will open in spring 2020 that will allow for more adult gardening classes.
“It’s so rewarding to see people come enjoy the farm and taste the amazing food grown here,” Ganier says. “There’s something special about reconnecting people to farm life and to the land by experiencing the place where their food originates. We give them the opportunity to bask in nature and expand their culinary horizons.”
Find fun on a farm near you. Check out picktnproducts.org or the free Pick Tennessee mobile app for agritourism attractions across Tennessee.
Adult Agritourism Destinations
Green Door Gourmet
7007 River Road Pk., Nashville, TN 37209
1514 Kingston Springs Rd., Kingston Springs, TN 37082
Lucky Ladd Farms
4374 Rocky Glade Rd., Eagleville, TN 37060
White’s Family Farm
4853 Jones Roe Rd., Springfield, TN 37172
photo: Nathan Lambrecht