Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Enjoy a Day at the Dairy This Weekend

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Enjoy a Day at the Dairy This Weekend

Article excerpt

Karen Dakin wanders the aisles of the small gift shop that sits right at the entrance to her family's sprawling Myakka City dairy farm, pulling down jars of candied jalapenos, pointing out bottles of Peace River honey and telling stories about all the vendors that will be on hand at next Saturday's Farm Festival. The event is being held as a way to celebrate the farm's fifth year as an agritourism destination; Dakin is, in fact, the only Florida dairy farm open to the public. We pause at a food counter, the face of the kitchen Dakin installed last year to feed the masses coming to visit.

Dakin was never intended to be a hot spot for tourists, Karen says, but now that it is, she's embracing it. "They were coming to visit anyhow," Karen says, explaining the new kitchen, "so it was nice to have something more than a hot dog."

Buzz has been building about the Suncoast becoming a hub for agritourism, and Karen can testify to a surge in interest from outsiders and residents. Buses regularly haul schoolkids and seniors' groups out to the farm, she says. But getting the industry organized presents challenges. Dakin teamed up with other regional farmers to create Gulf Coast AgVentures as a way to jointly promote their businesses, but Karen says none of the members have the time needed to really help the cooperative take off. It's a full-time job.

But that hasn't stopped Dakin from stepping up its individual agritourism game, and next Saturday's Farm Festival is a kickoff of sorts to the farm's season of events. The enormous party features constant dairy tours, a mac-and-cheese contest (Karen says she still needs more participants, so step it up chefs), pig races, pony rides, a 5K, hayrides, live music from Kim Betts and Gamble Creek Band and tons of local vendors and demos, all set up in a scenic little pasture the farm has set aside for visitors. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.