Plowing New Pastures Growing Business For Farmers - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Plowing New Pastures Growing Business For Farmers

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PORTLAND, Tenn. - A large number of farmers are turning to a new way to make money, and educate people all at same time. Agritourism is something you may not hear too often, but it's become a competitive field.

From planting, to picking, there is always some work to be done on a farm.

"It doesn't make much difference what you got, if they can come get it fresh, it don't make much difference," said farmer Ralph Cook.

Since 1968 Cook has managed his farm with dairy, cattle and tobacco; but nearly a decade ago, he decided to try something different.

"The dairy business wasn't as good as it should have been, so we decided to close the dairy and spend all our time devoted to entertaining kids," said Cook.

That desire to teach kids about where the food they eat comes from came from an interesting encounter he had with a little boy.

"He said, 'where you going Mr. Cook?' I said, 'I'm going to the garden.' I assumed he knew what a garden was, so I sent to go pick the tomatoes and when I was walking back up to the restaurant, he come over and looked in the bucket and said, 'you been to Wal-Mart,'" said Cook.

Since that day, nearly 10 years ago, Cook has made it a point to educate everyone who comes for the fruit and fun at Bottom View Farms in Portland.

"Seems like the young mothers and dads get a kick out of it as the kids, because they have grown up and didn't know," the farmer says.

Cook says since adding more activities, it accounts for 50% of his yearly revenue.

He even takes some of his experiences growing up on a farm and making them exciting for kids today.

From high above with a visual captured by Sky5- HD, the first ever corn maze at Bottom View Farms that carved out the number 5 and WTVF. Years before Ralph used hay.

"It's actually five mazes inside of it and it's four miles of trails that have been cut in it," said Cook.

It's a place of education, fun and fruit and Ralph is ready to share it all.

"We're just proud of what we're about to show people when they come out," said Cook.

Bottom View Farms opens to the public on Friday at 11 a.m.

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