Vacation Like A Farmer
It’s not just the tomatoes and chili peppers that are enticing visitors to Dragonfly Farm. It’s also the promise of a quiet weekend in a cabin overlooking the 131-acre property.
Like many farmers looking for additional sources of income, Terry Cox and Karen Scales are adding agritourism to their business plan.
According to How Stuff Works, agritourism is the practice of attracting visitors and travelers to agricultural areas, generally for educational and recreational purposes. As weird weather patterns make growing seasons even more unpredictable, agritourism is becoming an increasingly popular way for farmers to bring money into their businesses.
Romance In The Roost
At Dragonfly, visitors can choose between two cabins, Elk Horn and Turkey Roost, both of which over look the farm. The cabins were designed and built by Karen and her previous partner using wood harvested from the property. For the utmost romantic experience, cabins feature wrap-around porches, hot tubs and wood-burning fireplaces.
Dragonfly hosted its first wedding in 2011 and since then has become the venue of choice for several Hoosier brides. Thanks to Terry’s exceptional cooking skills and a bounty of fresh produce, Dragonfly provides on-site catering as well.
Profile Of A Farm
Cox and Scales come from humble beginnings, initially selling their produce from the back of a Jeep for fun in 2010. Two years later, they began selling at the Owen County Farmers’ Market. Terry says the best part about selling at the market is interacting with customers. “We enjoy sharing new varieties with customers and seeing their reactions when they try something unusual,” he says.
Dragonfly specializes in “unusual” heirloom tomatoes like Indigo Rose, Mr. Stripey, and Cherokee Purple — Karen’s personal favorite. They also grow a variety of chili peppers, which Terry uses in his Kow Killer hot sauces. Terry and Karen have recently added fresh roasted coffee to their offerings.
After completing the Grow Organic Educator Series through the City of Bloomington Parks Department, the two are able to successfully apply their knowledge of organic growing to their farm practice.
Upgrades In The Works
In the hopes of attracting more events to the farm, the Cox and Scales are updating their barn, adding a restroom to the reception area and a bridal suite upstairs.
Big plans are in the works on the farming end of the business as well. With assistance from the EQIP Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, they are constructing a hoop house on the property to extend their growing season.
After that, perhaps a Department of Health-approved kitchen so Terry can expand the sale of his hot sauces.
This story is part of an interview series by the Local Grower’s Guild.