Fayetteville, AR - We're beginning our off the beaten path series with a trip down the road. Reagan Family Farms has a long history and it's one they look to continue.
Owner Bill Reagan says, "Strawberries used to be really prevalent in Northwest Arkansas. What's unique about a strawberry plant is it can grow in rocks and it can grow in really rich soil." He adds, "They used to be on every hill around here. My father-in-law, years ago, used to wait on a truck in the Spring and they'd come pick up a bunch of kids, and take them, and pick strawberries all day."
When you go out to the farm in Fayetteville, be prepared to get a little dirty.
Reagan says, "I want them to take a berry right off the plant and put it in their mouth and eat it. We encourage that." He says, "When I show them how to pick it, I always pick a ripe one and then I eat it and I say, 'you can do this out here.' And it really surprises them. They' get, they get that look on their face and that's what we want."
Reagan says farming is a family tradition, one he wants to pass down to his children. He says, "I grew up on this farm and so I do feel a real connection to it. ...We'd like to see it be a century farm. We've had this in the family for 60-years and we'd like to see it in the family for 100 years."
To keep the farm that long, they needed to find a sustainable income to help pay its own mortgage. Reagan and his wife's solution was to invite the community to come enjoy the fruits of their labor. He says, "I've seen lots of people in my line of work retire and then I say, ' what are you going to do when you retire?' And they go, 'nothing.' Well, you know, six months later they're in the grave. You've got to have a purpose to keep on going."
And Reagan says being one of only four strawberry farms left in Northwest Arkansas, he plans to keep people picking for years to come.
You can learn more about their hours and pricing here.
You can find fun facts about strawberries here.
For more #OffTheBeatenPath adventures click below: