It all started when I read this: http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/10great/story/2011/05/10-great-places-for-a-rural-haycation/47139082/1 Turns out that offering people from the city the “true farm experience” has turned into a most-profitable proposition for some family farmers across the country. The price ranges from about $100 per night for your standard B&B-type stay to nearly $2000 when a gourmet dining/cooking event is included.
The more I think about the business side of this, however, the more I realized these “rural resort” people aren’t maximizing the opportunity. There are clearly ways to reduce the cost, heighten the experience and better the bottom line. (This farm girl hasn’t been writing corporate annual reports for three decades for nothing!)
So, let’s get started:
Doris P: Do you think your grandson would be willing to have guests help him get his lambs ready for fair if he were paid for supervising the grooming, walking, feeding and such? Also, while I don’t know your friend Allison, might she accept some dollars in exchange for teaching a mini-workshop on “Renovating the Country Home”?
Arlene T: If we can find several bushels of peas that need shelling, green beans that need breaking and sweet corn that needs shucking, may we pay you for keeping guests on the porch, in the shade, until the job’s done?
Jill H: I’m thinking a hands-on craft would be good…so maybe you can get a group of Lockridge guys to teach fence building and repair?
Marvin T: We’ll be counting on you to provide the shovel-skill exhibition (you told me you were a world-class manure mover after your years at the Iowa State Fair). Wait…a field-trip away from the fields! No one’s offering an escorted trip to the Fair! And all you old 4-H kids certainly know the “behind the scenes” story there!
Of course, we’ll be needing horses for them to ride (plus hayracks for the non-straddlers), ponds for them to fish (Marilyn W. can always tell them about the catfish that got away and my brother Gary can show them how to bait their hooks and clean the catch). But, you see where I’m going, right? Here, right here, we have a way to augment our savings in case our Social Security gets trimmed or IPERS gets slimmed.
And for the piece de resistance: To get the full boat price–the one with the gourmet cooking component–I thought I’d ask my Aunt Dorothy T. to demonstrate the fine art of award-winning lemon meringue pie baking. When you’ve still got it at 97, that’s worth a premium.
Sign up sheet’s below. Let me know if you’re in.
Photo: mahalie stackpole/flickr/creative commons