BUFFALO, W.Va. — With an end to this year’s harvest season in sight, popular destinations such as Gritt’s Fun Farm have cleared out their pumpkin patches and corn mazes.
But the face of agritourism in West Virginia is ever-evolving — so much that an economic impact study led by the West Virginia University Extension Service is underway to better understand the number and key practices of such operations.
“The thing with agritourism is that corn mazes and pumpkin patches aren’t the only way you can get into it,” said Gritt’s General Manager Bradley Gritt. “There’s opportunities for people to do it in a ton of different ways.”
Agritourism, a business venture on a working farm, gives tourists an authentic experience while providing extra income for the farmer.
Gritt’s made its debut in agritourism in 2006 and 2007, with owner Bob Gritt’s idea to draw customers in to buy mums and eventually pick their own pumpkins. Eight years later, the fun farm has expanded to include two corn mazes, a playground area, a hayride, pedal carts, and apple cannons for the thousands of visitors it receives daily during the month of October.
“Every year, we try to add something for people where they can have more fun with their family; that’s what it’s all about,” Gritt said.
Owner Bob Gritt said he doesn’t have a final count of how many visitors the fun farm received this year, but he suspects the number exceeds the more than 30,000 visitors who came in 2014.
But Gritt’s Farm is the exception…