October 27, 2021

From petting zoos to corn mazes

Farm Trail includes Cortland County farms this weekend

Valerie Puma/staff reporter

Robert “Bobcat” Bonagura sets up vegetables Thursday at Cortland Beer Co. for customers of Main Street Farms. The farm will be one of four in Cortland County on a three-county farm tour Saturday.

Look for the petting zoos. And alpaca are immensely fuzzy. Find the pumpkins, examine the produce. And before you know it, the family has learned a little something about farming.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Tri-County Farm Trail is expanding to include Cortland County and four farms this weekend, featuring dairy, hemp, fresh produce, a pumpkin patch and even alpacas.

“This is our first year with four counties, and the goal is to give people the opportunity to learn about agriculture through a variety of farms in the area,” said Brian Aukema, agriculture team lead
for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County. The trail features 14 farms in Broome, Chenango, Cortland and Tioga counties.

In Cortland County, stops include Main Street Farms in Cortland, Villnave Family Farms in Little York, Tartan Acres LLC Alpaca Farm in Homer and Trinity Valley Dairy Farm in East Homer.

“We haven’t had a dairy farm on our tour in a few years, so we’re excited to have Trinity Valley participating,” Aukema said. “This provides an opportunity for people to broaden their horizons and get them out into the more rural parts of the region.”

Less than 2% of Americans worked on farms in 2019, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture, following a decline in farm employment from 1950 to 1990 as technology increased productivity.

“Agriculture is so important — probably the most important part of our country — but the current generation is disconnected,” Aukema said. “The one thing we all have in common is everybody has to eat, and we all need the farms for our food.”

  • At Main Street Farms, visitors will learn about sustainable farming practices, try the terpene sniff station for the hemp crops, shop for fresh vegetables and learn about community-supported agriculture programs.
  • At Villnave Family Farms, people can pick out pumpkins, squash, cabbage and gourds.
  • At Trinity Valley, they can tour a new robotic dairy farm, bakery and farm market while tasting milk and cheese curds.
    Activities include a playground, wagon and tractor train rides, a petting zoo and a corn maze.
  • How many people can say they’ve pet an alpaca? At Tartan Acres, visitors will learn about owning and caring for alpacas, while feeding and petting them, said co-owner Brenda Clark.

Tartan Acres will have yarn and other alpaca products available for purchase, and Clark said she’s more than ready to tell visitors anything they could possibly want to know about alpacas.

“In this day and age, people need to be more aware of the agricultural aspects out there in the world,” Clark said.

If you go

  • Main Street Farms, 3320 Route 215, Cortlandville: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • Tartan Acres LLC Alpaca Farm, 707 Houghton Hill Road, Homer: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Trinity Valley Dairy Farm, 2847 Route 13, East Homer: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
  • Villnave Family Farm, 5897 Route 281, Little York: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday