Explore Delaware agriculture with a Delaware Grown road trip

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The Delaware Department of Agriculture recently launched the “Delaware Grown Road Trip” to encourage residents and visitors to hop in their cars to experience Delaware’s rich and flavorful agricultural heritage as they travel rural roads to explore Delaware’s many produce farms, farmers markets and meet specialty crop farmers.

Stopping by Brittingham Farms in Millsboro, surrounded by fields of lavender, lambs frolicking and maps showcasing the road trips, Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse shared, “With the unofficial start of summer and people taking to the roads, there is no better time to get out and visit Delaware farms and farmers markets. Our team has highlighted farms in each county where you can find Delaware Grown specialty crops and value-added products, including farm stands and stores, U-pick operations, farmers markets and other agritourism opportunities.”

Every stop on the three Delaware Grown Road Trips offers participants opportunities to experience the best fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables for you and your family to savor. Most of the stops are open from May through the end of October, although it is highly suggested that visitors confirm locations are open before embarking on their trip. The road trip does not need to be completed all in one day, and you can mix and match the locations throughout the state to create your ideal road trip.

“Not only does it provide farmers the opportunity to diversify, generate additional income and market directly to consumers, but agritourism adds tremendously to the richness and variety of experiences available to our visitors, contributing to more frequent visits and longer stays. Agritourism helps preserve the rural lifestyle and character that sets Sussex County apart as a unique destination,” said Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, the destination marketing organization for Sussex County.

“It also offers the opportunity to provide sustainable tourism, which is increasingly important to destinations and travelers. Farms like this have been quickly evaporating from the landscapes from which many of our visitors are traveling, making them a greater attraction more now than ever. Agritourism is a win for everybody, and we are fortunate to have it alive and well in Sussex County.”

Participants can pick up a Delaware Grown Passport from the Delaware Department of Agriculture, participating sites, visitor centers and many other locations across the state, or download one at delawaregrown.com. By visiting three sites on the road trip and getting your Delaware Grown passport stamped, you can receive a free Delaware Grown T-shirt while supplies last.

Delaware has a longstanding reputation for growing the highest quality and tastiest fruits and vegetables anywhere. The state’s unique and favorable location on the Atlantic Coastal Plain in the Northeast Corridor of the U.S. adds to the impact and appeal of growing, selling and buying from Delaware producers. Delaware farmers are number one in the number of acres of lima beans harvested, with more than 25% of the nation’s crop grown here. The state also ranks eighth in the country for watermelon production and 10th for sweet corn.

“Agriculture and tourism are two of the state’s largest industries, and they go hand in hand. Visitors coming to our state are looking for local produce and locally sourced ingredients and enjoy eating at local restaurants. Many of our local restaurants throughout the area use local ingredients from local farms, and they sell products like what Brittingham Farms offers,” said Jessica Welch, director of the Delaware Tourism Office. “Visitors are always looking for unique experiences, things they can do and things to do away from the beaches. The Delaware Grown Road Trip is a great example of having something for families and others, including visitors and residents, to do away from the beach area.”

In 2023, Delaware’s community-run farmers markets set an all-time high sales record of more than $4.14 million, demonstrating consumer demand for Delaware Grown specialty crops and value-added products. This year, farmers markets are on the rise, with 28 markets operating across the state, up from 22 last year.

Featured photo: Brittingham Farms produces various types of lavender for culinary purposes, cut flowers and producing hydrosol and value-added products. Photo courtesy of DDA

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