Push for Agritourism Results in Business Boom for Joe's Trees - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Push for Agritourism Results in Business Boom for Joe's Trees

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During October, local farms often see more families wanting to come out and visit places like pumpkin patches.

It's part of a growing agritourism push locally and across the commonwealth. The goal is to help farmers bring in extra money to make ends meet. And the initiative has certainly helped Joe's Trees in Craig County.

It's not just a place to pick your perfect Christmas tree anymore, but there's a number of farm life activities to join.

Courtney Thomas says she loves all the extra perks she gets to do now at the farm. Families can check out the pumpkin patch, corn maze, and take a hay ride.

"I think it's wonderful. It expands what they are able to do in different parts of the year," Thomas says.

The owner of Joe's Trees, Sue Bostic, drives the kids on the hay ride. She says in the last 10 years, Joe's Trees has gone from selling 200 trees a year to 1,400. That's a 700 percent increase.

She says it's all about promoting the business model of agritourism and teaching people in the community about all aspects on the farm.

"That's why we added the pumpkin patch because when the economy took a turn things seemed to be a little harder for all farmers, not just Christmas tree farmers, but farmers in general," Bostic says. "We thought this would enhance school tours and give them two reasons to be able to come back."

Bostic also keeps all products inside her store local, from the honey she gets from bees she keeps out in the farm, to local cider, and local produce, giving people from near and far a reason to come back again and again.