Saturday, June 29, 2013

Outdoor Business Workshop in Zwolle, July 23, 2013

This one-day workshop will provide landowners with information on supplemental income opportunities using natural resources on their land.

FORESTERS who attend can receive CFE credits.
Topics will include cost-share assistance programs; fee-based hunting and fishing; nature trails; wildlife and birding; liability and legal considerations; and testimonials from landowners who are engaged in outdoor recreation. This program is co-sponsored by the Mississippi State University Natural Resource Enterprises Program.
Who should attend? This workshop is designed for landowners and others who would like to develop an outdoor business.
Date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Time: Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the program begins at 9 a.m. Program ends at 4 p.m.
Location: Wildwood Resort, 129 Wildwood Road, Zwolle, LA 71486.


Registration: Pay registration fee of $25 per person or $30 per couple. Complete the form and return by July 19th. Make check payable to "LSU AgCenter" and mail to Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter, 11959 Hwy. 9, Homer, LA 71040.  We can accommodate some walk-ups but please register so we can prepare.
For more information contact: 
Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter Agritourism Coordinator, at (318) 927-9654 x 229 (office), (318) 245-6791 (cell) or e-mail her at: or
Chris Pearce, LSU AgCenter Extension Agent in Sabine Parish at (318) 256-3406 or e-mail him at:
From Shreveport, LA:
Take I-49 South toward Alexandria. Take exit 162 for LA-177 toward Couabatta/Pleasant Hill. Turn right onto LA-177 S. After 3,5 miles, turn left to stay on LA-177 S. Go 7.3 miles. Turn left onto LA-175 S. Go 9.9. miles. Turn right onto LA-120 W. Go 10.7 miles. Turn left onto Obrie St. Go 1.4 miles. Turn left onto LA-191 S. Go 3 miles. Turn right onto Carters Ferry Rd. Go 2 miles. Turn right onto San Miguel Rd. Continue onto Cozy Point Rd. Continue onto Wildwood Rd. Entrance to Wildwood Resort on the left.

From Alexandria, LA:
Take I-49 North to exit 138 (LA-6 W). Turn left onto LA-6 W/University Parkway. Go 24 miles. Turn right onto Hill St. Continue onto US-171 N/Elizabeth St. Go 8.8 miles. Turn left onto N. Main St. Go 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Obrie St. Go 1.4 miles. Turn left onto LA-191 S. Go 3 miles. Turn right onto Carters Ferry Rd. Go 2 miles. Turn right onto San Miguel Rd. Continue onto Cozy Point Rd. Continue onto Wildwood Rd. Entrance to Wildwood Resort on the left.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ideas for Attracting Wildlife


If you are interested in starting an agritourism operation, e-mail Dora Ann Hatch.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chicken Tractor

Recently, I visited my cousin who proudly showed me her new yard accessory, a chicken tractor.   This tractor is really a chicken coop without a floor that can be moved to different parts of your property. Continuous moves keep the chickens on clean soil and their manure enriches the soil too. For ease of moving put wheels on your tractor.

What a great idea for your backyard or for including chickens in your agritourism operation at a low cost.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hillcrest Blueberry Farm, LLC

Hillcrest Blueberry Farm, LLC sits high on a hill in Gloster,  LA. The farm which was previously a dairy farm converted to a blueberry farm in 1992.

During my short visit I saw owner, Chris Alexander, handout lots of berry picking buckets.

It's a self-guided operation in the berry patch, but if you stay until the afternoon you can watch how they take fresh picked berries and package them for delivery.

This is a great place to spend a hot summer day and then return home to enjoy berries over cereal or ice cream or in a cobbler.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jane Eckert on Customer Relations

Jane Eckert, founder of Eckert AgriMarketing and CEO of recently wrote about the importance of making a good impression. In her article she quotes a recent study showing that 95% of people who have a bad experience shared their experience with others. In today's high tech world that bad experience could reach hundreds of people.  Read Jane's article for tips on what you can do to create a positive image.

For more information on agritourism, click here.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Nesbitt Day Camp in Keatchie

Recently, I had the opportunity to join Mary Nesbitt and her family in Keatchie on one of her day camps. Mary and her husband developed 200 acres to share with family, friends and new friends.  

It's a family operation with everyone pitching in to make sure guests have a memorable stay. The acreage includes forested areas, trails,  fishing, horseback riding, bug and insect collecting, gardening,  etc.

Mary and her husband built their home and several cabins to accommodate overnight guests. Mary uses these cabins to host many types of groups.

The day camps generally are day events but many times, the staff invites the campers to end their week with an overnight stay. The cabins are also used for retreats, recently she hosted a "Mommy and Me" camp.

The Nesbitts  occasionally hosts group dinners, camp-outs for families and wedding parties. They also host travelers through the Wwoof USA program (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) who do volunteer work in garden. The day I visited a young man from Belgium was staying at the farm.

This is a special place created by the Nesbitt Family for fun, learning and relaxation.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mayhaws in Short Supply This Year

Article by Tobie Blanchard, LSU AgCenter
Charles and Nelda Hutchins have been making mayhaw jelly in their Grant Fruit Processing facility for 12 years. The couple buys mayhaw berries from growers in Louisiana and neighboring states, but they have never seen a mayhaw season this bad.
“Normally we buy 30,000 to 50,000 pounds. From this year’s crop we got almost 2,500 pounds.” Nelda Hutchins said.
In East Feliciana Parish, Don Lord has several mayhaw orchards. He sells his crop to the Hutchinses and says a late freeze wiped out his berries.
“The cold snaps are probably the biggest enemy we have, and the farther south you are, the more advantage you have,” Lord said.
Lord also is a distributor of the Hutchinses’ products and estimates he has “sold more mayhaw jelly than anyone in the universe.”
Despite the down year, there is still jelly to be had. Recently, the Hutchinses were making a batch of mayhaw jelly from the few berries they were able to get from Texas and Georgia.
They typically sell more jelly at Christmas than any other time of the year, but with the short supply of mayhaws, they don’t expect to have any mayhaw jelly around by the end of the year.
Their Springhill Jelly brand also has muscadine, blueberry and other flavors, but mayhaw jelly is their best seller.
“Well probably the No. 1 thing in the South is nostalgia,” Nelda Hutchins said. “They remember going into the woods and picking up mayhaws, and grandma or mama made them some jelly. And it was the best jelly in the world.”
Lord said he often is asked what mayhaw jelly tastes like. “I tell them, that is the thing about the mayhaw, it’s unique and you can’t tell anybody what it tastes like.”
The mayhaw has a loyal following. Lord is one of about 100 growers.  He and the Hutchinses are members of the Louisiana Mayhaw Association, a group dedicated to educating the public about mayhaws and helping mayhaw growers.
Lord said he is seeing interest in mayhaws rise.
“Every year the demand for mayhaws increases, and it looks like next year will be a big year,” Lord said. 


Friday, June 7, 2013

America's Great Outdoors Initiative

Kelly Purkey, Manager of the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, near Tallulah, LA presented a framed certificate to members of the Nature-Based Tourism Initiative in Northeast Louisiana recognizing the efforts of those who worked to create the “Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge Paddling Trail.” The plaque reads:


United States Department of the Interior

This certificate is awarded as a part of the

America’s Great Outdoors Initiative

to the

Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge Paddling Trail

In recognition of conservation and outdoor recreation achievements

Attained through collaboration and partnerships.


      Ken Salazar, Secretary of Interior              David M. Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

                                                           Dated the 8th day of September, 2013
The group wishes to acknowledge the Walton Family Foundation and the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge for the role they each played in making this development possible.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Make Jelly for Farmers Markets

Consider making jelly and selling at your local Farmers Market. A special Louisiana law, La R.S. 40:4.9, passed in 1991 and amended in 1995 and 1997, provides an opportunity for an individual to make jams and jellies in their home instead of a commercial kitchen if their sales do not exceed $5,000 in a year. The state sanitary codes do not apply to these individuals, but the law should not be construed to imply that any unwholesome foods should be sold.