Local Agriculture

Advocates see ag tourism as a way to boost rural economies, help farmers find new business

With its sweet fruit-flavored liqueurs, a working farm and eccentric cast of characters — including a dancing lemon — Bloomery Plantation Distillery has attracted tourists from every U.S. state and countries as far away as Laos and Iceland.

The West Virginia mini-distillery is part of a growing agriculture tourism trend that advocates say can help revive struggling rural economies. Ag tourism refers to working farm enterprises geared to visitors, encompassing farm stands, pumpkin patches, barn dances, zip-line rides, pick-your-own berries, corn mazes and even weddings.