Belluz Farms is finding that locally grown food can be used as a tourist attraction.
The farm is hosting their annual Harvest Fest on weekends throughout the month of October, and co-owner Jodi Belluz said their newly expanded food service has increased traffic.
“Every year we’re looking for something different to add to the farm. This year we expanded the café menu and it was a big hit,” Belluz said.
“People have more of an awareness of wanting food that was grown close to home. Before the café used to be a place for people to get a little snack while they were here, but this year we’re seeing people actually coming to the café to have their meal for the day.”
The menu features an array of beverages, baking, and meal selections such as pulled pork and chilli.
If they don’t have it themselves, Belluz sources food from other local producers.
Customer service and retail manager Sally Devries said the success has exceeded their expectations.
“It’s been quite overwhelming at times,” Devries said. “The café has done tremendous job this year. We’ve increased our food to include chilli and pulled pork, and we’re finding a lot of people are enjoying the local food.”
In terms of activities, offerings at the farm include a petting zoo, kids play area, wagon tours, a straw recreation of England’s famous Stonehenge and the three-acre Amazing Maze.
The farm also shows their festive October spirit with pumpkins prominently exhibited throughout the entire site.
The attractions, particularly the wagon tour, provide the farm with an opportunity to showcase where the food is grown.
“We go through our strawberry fields and our vegetable fields and let everyone have a look at what’s happening in the fall and an awareness that those things were growing here in Thunder Bay during the summer,” Belluz explained.
The farm is open on weekends from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with next weekend being the final opportunity to take in Harvest Fest.
Admission to the farm is free, while the wagon tours and corn maze are an extra charge.
Devries explained that by not charging an admission fee, people are able to get a taste of farm activities and purchase locally grown food without having to put money down to enter the site.
They also go for a farm-themed event, rather than a spooky Halloween showcase to create an all-ages family friendly atmosphere, she added.
“I think it gives the families the opportunity to come and see the farm and have some fun and spend quality time,” Devries said.
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