Now that the long, lovely days of June are here, I’ve finally had a chance to step back and take a look at the 2017 Michigan Farm Fun directory with fresh eyes. When you’re working on a production deadline, you can get so caught up in the details that you often don’t have time to appreciate the finished product—and as soon it arrives you come up with ten things to do to make it better the next time!
But today, I took a few moments to slow down and appreciate the new directory, and all that it represents. This year’s directory happens to be our 10th edition. For those of you who remember it long before that, you’re correct. The directory was originally started way back in 1979 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture as the statewide U-Pick Directory. I still get calls from people asking for it by that name.
This association took over production in 2008 and although the name and look has changed a few times, the directory still features farm markets and U-Pick’s and the wide range of destinations in Michigan that encompass this ever-growing industry called agritourism.
To keep up with current technology, the directory now shares the stage with a responsive website, but I still hear from so many people that tell me, “Please, don’t stop printing it!” and “Thank you so much for doing this.” Already this year, I’ve been getting calls from members and friends letting me know that their copies are flying off the shelves. I’m excited to hear that the directory is still creating excitement and raising awareness about farm fun here in our own state, and most importantly, helping customers make their way to YOU.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about how Michigan is truly an agricultural powerhouse. Many people don’t realize what we have here. That’s why we expanded the regional sections in the directory, highlighting some of the things that are special and unique about each agricultural region of our state. There truly is so much going on here and we are so proud to promote this “Land of Agricultural Delight”, as Mario Batali so perfectly describes it. (Don’t you just love the new image of Mario in his orange Croc’s?)
What makes the directory so special to me is that it represents all of you. Despite the many challenges of working in the agritourism industry, you open your doors to the public and share a little bit of farm life with the rest of us—and that’s no small thing. As one u-pick farmer said to me last summer, as he watched a smiling family driving away from his farm, “That is why I do this. It would be a lot easier to sell of these cherries to the processor, but those smiles are why I do this.”
Like that farmer, YOU are why we do this. We appreciate all that you are doing to make Michigan such an exciting agricultural destination. Thank you!!
Best wishes for an amazing summer,
Janice Benson, Executive Director