Oldham Farm Tours, an agritourism program of Oldham KY Tourism, is celebrating five years as the “Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky.”
Fifteen uniquely hands-on, educational farm experiences have been offered yearly, April through October, since 2012. Over 10,000 guests each year have spent days in Oldham County for the best behind-the-scenes tours of foodie farms, animal farms, and sustainable conservation farms in Kentucky.
Whether educating the owner of seven McDonald’s, or inspiring groups from across the U.S., Oldham Farm Tours continues to attract thousands with their unique, hands-on tours. Guests have experienced St. Croix sheep, American bison, dairy cows producing milk for Dean Foods, and they have lived the real life of a Kentucky racehorse from birth to retirement, then adoption.
Oldham Farm Tours has the most fun, most unique farm tours in Kentucky – but with a twist – touching is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. These farm experiences can be made in only one place in Kentucky – only in Oldham.
Visitors have learned the good, bad and ugly of Kentucky native plants, tasted organic and heirloom produce straight from the vine, and they have sipped bourbons made from grains grown at a historic Oldham farm. They have witnessed first-hand the love and longtime care of heritage breed livestock raised in the river bottoms of the Ohio. They came curious. They left with memories that will last a lifetime. Memories that can be made in only one place in Kentucky – ONLY in OLDHAM.
Just 20 minutes from downtown Louisville on I-71, sprinkled throughout Oldham County, the uniqueness of Oldham Farm Tours comes from being both hands-on and educational. Yes, even the horse farms allow touching…a rarity for Kentucky horse farm tours.
“Oldham County has long been known for our quality school system. We are the healthiest county in Kentucky and we are home to several award-winning conservation farms. When we looked at those facts, Oldham Farm Tours was born,” says Kim Buckler, Executive Director of Oldham KY Tourism. “With each of our farm tours, there’s a unique surprise.
“You can love on our animals and taste from the garden, all while learning about conservation and sustainability, or learning about the horse industry while you actually pet or feed a race horse fresh off the track. Every tour excites you to take another…they really are addictive.”
The initial draw to Oldham Farm Tours is the hands-on horse farm tours. However, horses are just the beginning. Bison, alpaca, sheep, goats, dairy farm, and several organic and heirloom “foodie” farms are part of the “touchable” experience.
“Our farm tours are not designed to be petting zoos, says Oldham KY Tourism Chairman, Grant Abbott, an organic farmer himself. “The tours were written for all ages, to teach by experience – by touching, by doing.
“When you visit the alpaca farm you obviously learn about raising alpaca, but then you go inside the owner’s studio and learn how she felts alpaca wool into fine fabrics used to make clothing for art galleries, boutiques, and art festivals across the state.”
Another popular farm tour is Harvest Home Dairy. They raise dairy cows that supply milk to Dean Foods. One of the few working dairies left in Kentucky, guests not only learn how milk gets from the cow to the grocery, they witness the love between the farmer and his animals…cows so happy, they have been proven to dream! Depending on the season, a guest may get the chance to milk a cow, eat fresh cheese made in the onsite kitchen, or feed a baby calf.
“This tour is very important at a time when animal welfare and food contaminations are hot topics,” Buckler says. “Our farmers not only care about their animals, they care about the land, and they care about how what they grow on that land is raised. It’s an eye-opening experience when guests learn the regulations and farming costs of supplying what they buy from the market, but they are even more awe-struck when you let them pet or milk the cow that actually supplied what they bought. The experience is lifechanging for them.”
Woodland Farm, an Oldham bison farm dating back to the 1840’s, has breathtaking views of the Ohio River and is owned by Louisville entrepreneurs and philanthropists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. You know you are in for a treat as you meander up the long driveway lined with giant hot pink snails and fluorescent green rabbits.
Yes, American bison graze on grass pastures for later sale in their onsite farm store and through their commercial division, Kentucky Bison Company. But there is more to this tour than bison. Experience other heritage animals and witness the use of sustainable best practices in their heirloom gardens where produce is grown for local restaurants such as 21C hotel’s, Proof on Main.
They also harvest their own lumber for farm buildings, use sustainable biofuel for their farm implements, and the farm has its very own weather station for university research.
With over 10,000 visitors each year in only six months, the average overnight Oldham, KY tourist is drawn to Oldham County for a morning horse farm tour, but they quickly reserve an afternoon tour and enjoy shopping and lunch in historic downtown La Grange between farm tour appointments.
La Grange is the only town in the U.S. with a freight train running ON its Main Street and most farm tour guests browse the unique shops or tour the newly renovated Oldham history museum to learn about two historically significant Oldham farms – Hermitage and Ashbourne Farms.
For a complete list of Oldham Farm Tours, visit www.OldhamFarmTours.com. Reservations are made directly with the farms. If you are interested in corporate group outings with 10 or more people, contact Kim Buckler with Oldham KY Tourism for complimentary Group Tour Planning assistance at (800) 813-9953.
From Oldham County Tourism Communications