With the steady rise of farm-to-table dining and the local food movement, fresh opportunities to visit farms and see where your food is grown are sprouting up all the time. Part of that trend is farm-to-table bike tours, which recognize what cyclists love and farm country has—namely beautiful landscapes, fresh air, low-traffic roads and good food (preferably lots of it). And, of course, they bring diners—often from more populated areas—out to small family farms, helping growers underline their important role in guaranteeing sustainable food systems.
As experienced long-distance cyclists know (and we can fill you in with our handy bike touring primer), it’s not always easy to find sustenance when you’re out cruising the back roads in our nation’s emptier quarters. More often than not, we end up refueling at the same places cars do—gas stations (chips and Little Debbie, anyone?). What a welcome change, then, to be able to make stops along the way, noshing on healthy whole foods like homegrown vegetables, fresh cheeses and other farm goods.
We’ve found a dozen of some of the country’s top farm-to-table bike tours, ranging from full weekend getaways with lodging and all meals provided to laidback, around-town cruises between urban farms. You can push your limits at the Willamette Valley Farm Tour and Picnic in Monroe, Oregon, which knocks off four farms in 100 miles, or get the kids on their bikes for a leisurely tour of Austin’s urban gardens with Urban Farm Bicycle Tour. Eat your way through Central Massachusetts with Mount Major Tours, or just have a taste on an afternoon ride at the Montgomery Farm Tour and Picnic near DC.
To top it off, most of these rides give back, funding CSA programs, local farm initiatives and educational programs. Keep an eye out for tours with complimentary massages, delicious goody bags and the occasional free slice of locally baked pie. It doesn’t get much better than this.