As our subscription to the agricultural periodical Lancaster Farming weekly attests, more and more farmers (both old and new school) are hopping on the agritourism bandwagon. Some go high-brow, opening elegant B & B’s, wine tasting rooms, or on-farm restaurants. Others opt for low-priced, high-volume entertainments such as corn mazes, pumpkin patches, or petting zoos. While our farm insurance policy might claim that our CSA pick-your-own garden counts as an agritourism venture, (so please, nobody fall and sue us!), we don’t think of ourselves as having ventured into the wide world of agri-tainment.
But if we were to explore such possibilities, what ventures would we pursue? An ice cream parlor is out, as Andrew solemnly sworn never to milk cows again. Our respective parents, who have spent a combined several weeks in our guest room, have advised us against the B&B thing (apparently a bedside table made out of a stool with a board balanced atop it doesn’t cut in in the hospitality industry, not matter how good the breakfast is). I’m no fan of monoculture and I prefer to grow edible plants, which means corn mazes and pumpkin patches have two strikes against them. I could get into the idea of a combined farm brewery and pizza joint, but I know nothing about brewing, and Andrew can no longer eat gluten.
Last night, however, I stumbled across what I think might be our best bet, a truly innovative farm experience: The Redneck Safari. Now a real safari is an expensive proposition: there’s the airfare to Africa, the flight to the bush, lodging, food, Masai guards to keep the monkeys and lions away, and of course a whole round of shots. But a redneck safari, as we could offer it, would save time and money with only a small sacrifice in terms of authenticity. Here’s what we envision:
We’d let half the pigs wallow in the creek and call them hippopotamuses.
The other half of the pigs, given some prostheses, could easily pass for warthogs.
We’ll park an old combine at a great distance, paint it grey and give it ears, and voila–an elephant.
We’ll get stilts for the turkeys so that they can impersonate very slow ostriches.
We’ll need to buy some cows (maybe long horns?) in order to provide Cape Buffalo (maybe I can get that ice cream parlor after all!)
Antelopes and Thompson’s gazelles are easy–the deer have been running every which-way since hunting season started yesterday.
Patou, with a new mane and some dubbing, will become our resident lion, while George will require no costuming at all to assume the role of “mere cat.”