Now in its ninth year, the 2019 Rhode Island Farm Scavenger Hunt began on May 1 and will continue until Dec. 31.
Sponsored by the Rhode Island Fruit Growers Association, the goal of the scavenger hunt is to encourage people to visit Rhode Island’s farms, buy local produce and learn more about the state’s agriculture.
Heather Faubert of the University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative extension works with the fruit growers’ group and recruits farmers for the scavenger hunt.
In addition to being an opportunity to visit farms and sample fresh fruits, vegetables and other local farm products, Faubert said the hunt will take participants on the bucolic backroads of rural Rhode Island.
“It’s a great way to discover places in Rhode Island that they never knew existed,” she said. “Take fun backroads to get to lots of the farms, so, see Rhode Island in a new light.”
Thirty-two farms are participating this year. Faubert said many people were surprised to hear that there are so many farms in such a small state.
“People make comments like “I didn’t know we had 32 farms.’ Well, we’ve got lots more than 32 farms so I think it’s great for people to learn about the farms we’ve got in Rhode Island and support these farms. Our farmers are working very hard.”
The diversity of the farms, Faubert said, is also impressive.
“There’s a huge variety of farms where we have some wineries, vegetable farms, we’ve got a meat producer in Jamestown and a couple of nurseries, garden centers that grow plants and of course, soft fruit producers, too," she said.
Scavenger hunt brochures with game boards printed on one side are free. Brochures are available at all participating farms as well as some area libraries and convenience stores. Participants visit the farms listed on the brochure, where they receive a sticker that they place on a photo on the game board matching the farm.
“You go to the farm and you match the picture on the map to a farm and the farmer gives you a sticker,” Faubert said.
When participants have collected either 20 or 32 stickers, they mail the brochures to the address on the brochure.
The first 50 people who visit 20 of the 32 farms and send in their brochures will receive two $5 discount coupons for two of the farms and the first 50 people to visit all 32 farms will receive four of the $5 coupons.
All 100 entries will be eligible for the grand prize, an overnight stay at a farm in Tiverton.
Two new farms are participating this year, including Pelloni Farm in Ashaway. Festival Farm in Hope Valley and the Fantastic Umbrella Factory in Charlestown are also on the scavenger hunt map.
Faubert said public participation appears to be up this year.
“A lot of people, I think, will just take a brochure as a nice list of farms, but the number of people that get stickers this year has increased as well,” she said.
The scavenger hunt has become a summer tradition for many families.
“We have people that come and do the scavenger hunt year after year,” Faubert said. “They just love it. It’s one of their summer activities.”
More information, including a list of farms, is available on the Rhode Island Fruit Growers’ website at shorturl.at/asGLU.