On Sunday, October 8, the 2017 Farm Crawl, a joint venture of the Center for Energy & Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, featured a self-guided tour of ten area farms.

In La Porte City, members of the La Porte-Dysart FFA chapter welcomed visitors to their outdoor horticulture laboratory along Main Street. The outdoor lab features a variety of dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees, trellised table grapes, along with garden fruits and vegetables grown in raised beds. One of the things that makes the outdoor lab unique is the fact that the produce grown there helps supply the local school lunch program, an excellent example of the farm to table concept celebrated by the Farm Crawl tour.

The tour of area farms also featured a pair of other local attractions, Beck’s Orchard and Hanson’s Hollow. In Buckingham, the tour of Beck’s Orchard included an up-close look at the beautiful barn that was moved to the farm and re-purposed for the orchard business in 2015. This stop on the Farm Crawl included tours of the orchard, an opportunity to operate the cider press and, of course, tasting a variety of apple samples.

Hanson’s Hollow, on the south edge of La Porte City, has long been the place to go for pumpkins, gourds and winter squash- more than 100 varieties in all. Add a petting zoo, recipe sampling and activities for the kids and you’ve got the makings for a truly family-friendly event.

Other stops on the 2017 Farm Crawl included Fitkin Popcorn in Cedar Falls, Big Rock Bison (Buckingham), Timeless Prairie Orchard (Winthrop), Rainbow Acres (Rowley), Lindsay Dairy (Masonville) and Lauric Farms in Lamont.