The decision to add agritourism to any farm is a big one. Every time we sold our farm products at the farmers’ markets, people always asked “can we come to the farm?” We debated the option for several years, checked it out back in 2017 and then promptly dismissed it... or so we thought. It kept coming back into conversation, and then an idea would come out of that. But we just couldn’t make ourselves commit to it until late summer in 2020. Still, we didn’t just jump right into it; we debated options of what we could do, or rather what we should do. We started with a simple first step: we built a new fence! The idea was to plant flowers in this area where the livestock couldn’t get to it. However, when it was finished, we almost immediately changed our minds.
The new area was perfect for the yearling goats to live in, and the next thing we knew we jumped off the deep end! We began planning an educational format for our farm, designed to show kids that food and such comes from more than a grocery store. We wanted families to have fun and learn about farm life at the same time.
Things just began to come together from there.
Guests will see and visit the livestock, they can even purchase handfuls of grain for the poultry and rabbits, or cookies for the goats. They can go into the hatchery to see the baby chicks and learn about the eggs in the incubators.
They will see how we use hydroponics to grow fodder for the stock and get to see where we grow flowers and vegetables. Then they can choose a seed and plant their own plant to take home. They will learn a short history of soap making, see where we make our goat milk soap today, and take home a miniature bar of goat milk soap. They’ll get to try their hand at milking the faux goat because she won’t bite or kick!
Afterward, they can have a little fun with old fashioned corn hole and horseshoe games, and of course get to experience old-time hand pump usage while playing the duck races.
In fall, we will add picking a pumpkin along with the fun of pumpkin chunkin using a trebuchet. For those less inclined to hurl pumpkins through the air, they can always play a giant checkers’ game using pumpkins.
One of the things we chose to set our farm apart was the addition of sunflowers; lots and lots of sunflowers. Not only regular, common sunflowers, but sunflowers in many different colors. Enjoy photographing and walking through the sunflower area.
. It took us a while to decide that we really wanted to open our farm to the public, but when we finally made that choice, we jumped off the deep end. After all, anything worth doing is worth the extra effort to make it great. Come out to Dark Water Ranch in 2021 and experience it for yourself, and make sure to visit our gift store to take some of our products back home with you!