Eight independent family farms spread across two southern Iowa counties will hold simultaneous open houses the first Sunday in October in what’s known as the Farm Crawl.

Sean Skeehan is co-owner of Blue Gate Farms near Columbia in southern Marion County.

He says the fifth annual event gives visitors the chance to learn about where their food originates and to meet the people who grow it.

Skeehan says, “A lot of it is getting people aware that we’re here but it’s also a great showcase for relatively small family farms that sell product directly to the consumers.”

The farms in Marion and Lucas counties offer a wide variety of home-grown and home-made products, including: apples, honey, eggs, goat cheese, flowers, yarn, pies and pottery.


“So it’s trying to get people aware of the diversity that’s out here,” Skeehan says. “Not everyone is pure corn and soybeans and cattle. There’s a nice mix of small family farms and a chunk of their annual revenues come from selling direct to the public.”

The first Farm Crawl brought in 500 or so people, mostly from the Des Moines area, but he says the event’s popularity has continued to grow, along with the distance visitors will travel. “Some of them even come from out of state and they plan to come to Farm Crawl,” Skeehan says.

“It’s not just, ‘Oh, we’re here, we’ll go,’ they actually come up from Missouri or over from Nebraska just to attend Farm Crawl.” Last year’s crawl drew 13-hundred people. The event runs Sunday, October 2nd, from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Admission is free. For details, visit: www.farmcrawl.com.