• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Agri-tourism makes Woodford County a destination for visitors

Agri-tourism makes Woodford County a destination for visitors

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles said when he hosts friends from out of state, he said Woodford Reserve, The Kentucky Castle and Woodford County’s horse farms are usually where they go.

“They’re unique. They’re genuine. They showcase products that are internationally-known,” said Quarles. He said his guests are always amazed that a bourbon distillery, which produces one of their favorite spirits, and world-famous racehorses like American Pharoah are both residents of Woodford County.

“It’s just a very attractive county for a Sunday afternoon drive,” said Quarles. “For me, taking the winding roads down to Woodford Reserve is something that a lot of people from out of town – particularly those from cities – enjoy.”

Woodford County’s array of agri-tourism businesses are a destination where visitors and residents alike can talk to a farmer and learn about where their food (or drink) comes from.

“It’s not just focused on one industry,” said Quarles of Woodford County’s agri-tourism. “In fact, you excel at several ag industries and that’s why it’s a destination place.”

Since becoming Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture in 2016, Quarles said there have been 180 new Kentucky Proud agri-tourism members.

The commonwealth now boasts 566 Kentucky Proud agri-tourism destinations, including Castle Hill Farm, Eckert’s-Boyd Orchard, Equus Run Vineyard, Life Adventure Center of the Bluegrass, Wildside Winery, Woodford Reserve and the Woodford County Farmers’ Market.

“You don’t have to drive very far – particularly in Central Kentucky – to see a lot of different, unique and high quality products being produced by our farmers,” said Quarles. “And agri-tourism offers an opportunity to build relationships between the ag community and the local tourism community. And Woodford County is one of the best examples (of this) with your amazing horse farms, Woodford Reserve and a vibrant farmers’ market.” Quarles said agri-tourism comprises “a big chunk” of Kentucky’s $15 million tourism industry, and Woodford County has already tapped into other parts of the economy, including Thoroughbred horseracing, a resurgence of wineries and the bourbon boom. “So I’m excited to see Woodford County play a role model example of agri-tourism,” said Quarles.

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