Agritainment IS just peachy… it encompasses a world of food, fields… and FARMS!
And one of the farms I spent time touring on my recent trip to Arizona was the absolutely delightful Schnepf’s Farms!
Sadly, having grown up in Arizona, I never knew Schnepf Farms was here in the East Valley’s Queen Creek. What is unique about Schnepf is it is not only the largest organic Peach grower in the state, they still farm hay and vegetables crops, but they have learned the secret ingredient to keeping the farm ever-present to the public – they have added the FUN FACTOR!
Brilliantly, in the 90’s the Schnepfs wanted to keep guests on the farm longer, so they started diversifying. they sold some of the land, down-sized the farm and agri-tourism began!
In 1992 Country Thunder USA began and 250 acres was set aside to produce this concert that remained on the farm for the next 9 years. For family fun, more attractions were added to the farm including a petting zoo, carousel rides, landscaping, a bakery and more. Visitors to the farm began to enjoy a petting barn, play yard, narrow gauge train and carousel. In 2000, the Schnepf’s relocated old farm buildings from neighboring farms that were being developed. In 2004 the Schnepf’s moved the original 100 Year old homestead and created the Schnepf Family Museum which tells the history of the family farm dating back to the late 1800’s. Today, the original Roadside Stand is now the Country Store and Bakery.
The original family home became a Wedding and Reception Center called “the Farmhouse”. All these improvements continued while still maintaining a strong agricultural presence.
In October 2006 Schnepf Farms was designated as an “Arizona Treasure” by the Governor Janet Napolitano and Arizona Office of Tourism. It was quite the honor when Governor Napolitano and her staff made the trip out to present the award.
Today Schnepf Farms is enjoyed by over a quarter of a million people during the year. Through festivals, weddings, music events, and educational programs, Schnepf Farms is one of the largest Agri-tourist farms in the country.
And of course there is a peach festival, pumpkin and chili festival, 4th of July celebrations, and others!
While there, I got to pick peaches in the orchard with owner Mark Schnepf. Mark’s wife Carrie, who is also the creative food guru behind food for their events, made our group amazing French toast and pancakes smothered in fresh organic peaches! She also makes amazing peachy cinnamon rolls for their events!
The scope of agritainment is growing. Travelers can pick their own produce, dine in an orchard, or a vineyard, camp onsite, enjoy themed festivals, and enjoy all the charm country settings have to offer with friends and family.
Agritainment is just peachy…because it is this … and so much more!
For more information about picking your own produce, upcoming events or wedding venues at Schnepf Farms, visit – www.schnepffarms.com