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The Sims Family Farm sells fescue and Bermuda sod, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, sweet corn and USDA beef.

For the third year, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) is offering its farm passport to help Georgia residents discover where their food comes from and the people who grow it. Participants can discover a town they haven’t visited, their next favorite trail or a new restaurant.

Residents are probably within an hour of a GFB Certified Farm Market (CFM) and farm-fresh goodness, whether it’s strawberries in the spring, fresh vegetables and peaches in the summer, apples in the fall or Christmas trees at year’s end.

Sims Family Farm in Ringgold is a participant in the 2021 Passport Program. The farm has participated in the program for three years, and a lot of people came last year, Madison Sims said.

In the past, visitors have enjoyed picking their own produce; however, as a COVID-19 safety precaution, this year strawberries, blueberries and blackberries will all be available only for pick-up, Sims said. Visitors are asked to stay in their cars and drive-thru to pick up their produce.

The farm passport guides travelers across Georgia to farms that offer food items for any taste. The majority of goods sold at each GFB Certified Farm Market are grown on the farm or on other Georgia farms.

“We visited so many places we would have never known about because of the Georgia farm passport,” Jennifer Miles, a participant in GFB’s 2020 Farm Passport program, said.

“From picking and tasting wonderful muscadines, to eating the most-yummy peach ice cream, to shopping in adorable markets, we got to spend quality time as a family and explore the farms of Georgia,” she said.

Miles said her family cannot wait to start the journey this year and hopes to double the number of visit stamps in 2021. She also appreciates that her son put down his phone to enjoy the great outdoors with his family.

What to expect

Each farm is unique. Some farms offer a pick-your-own option, corn mazes, farm games or educational opportunities or host special seasonal events.

Passport holders will support local farmers and experience fresh food as they get their passport stamped at each farm they visit. In 2020, farm passport travelers made more than 6,000 visits to GFB CFMs.

Participants Jennifer Appleton and Sarah Ridgeway of Brunswick visited 77 of the 78 Georgia farms that participated last year. They only missed one farm due to its strawberry season ending early.

“We had so much fun traveling the state, meeting the local providers, learning new things, and tasting all of the amazing locally grown products,” Appleton said of their travels.

Eight new farms joined GFB’s CFM program this year, giving veteran farm passport travelers new farm markets to visit this year.

“I started visiting Georgia farms last April. I wanted to explore more of what the state had to offer,” said Paige Overmyer, a 2020 passport participant.

“I love that so many of the local farms are family-based, selling delicious homemade sauces, sweet preserves, and healthy snacks” she said. “I’ve grown to love spending time on Georgia’s back roads. I hope to spend 2021 visiting as many cute little towns as I can while I find more farms.”

Participate and earn prizes

The GFB Farm Passport is available at county Farm Bureau offices and at the 83 GFB Certified Farm Markets. To find participating farms, visit www.gfb.ag/farmpassport.

The deadline to submit a passport for prizes is Jan. 7, 2022. Turn in a passport with stamps from five or more CFMs and receive a limited-edition T-shirt. Passports stamped from 10 or more farms earn participants the T-shirt and assorted ag swag items like a baseball cap and additional surprises.

Travelers who get stamps from 15 or more CFMs get all that plus their choice of selected CFM products. Get 20 or more stamps and receive a farm-to-table dinner and farm tour along with all the other prizes.

One passport allowed per person. One stamp allowed per person per farm. Passport holders must be present to get their passports stamped. Participants are encouraged to share their journey on social media with #farmpassport #gafarmbureau.

While no purchase is required to participate, GFB encourages visitors to support these farms that are their owners’ livelihoods. For potential travel routes optimized to help discover Georgia, visit www.gfb.ag/passport or email cfm@gfb.org with questions.

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