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My Focus...

I want the family farm - the backbone of our country's heritage - to thrive and survive for future generations."

Teaching AgriTourism to Direct Farm Marketers

Jane Eckert is CEO of Eckert AgriMarketing, a firm specializing in providing marketing resources and consultation to farms, wineries and ranches involved agritourism and direct farm marketing.

 

 

Exploring the Farms, Vineyards & Markets
of France, Spain & Italy!

Our 2015 Agritours offer two options:

France & Spain
March 17-27, 2015
(Plus Barcelona Option)

Exploring the wineries, citrus orchards, truffle farms, and even oyster farms of Europe, this year we will offer two agritours.

Our brand new offering, touring France and Spain, begins in Nice, on the French Riviera. Visits will include the colorful flower markets of Cours Saleya Market, the Alziari Olive Oil Mill, Le Chevriere de Collines (famous for their goat milk cheeses), a visit to a Truffle Farm, and of course some French wineries. We'll also enjoy a special cooking class in Provence, learning and tasting the local specialties of French cooking.

Our 12 days in France and Spain will also include a visit to Liquoristerie de Provence, located at a primary passage point between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea. On our way toward Spain, we'll be visiting the area called the Camargue, the last remaining wilderness delta of France, and location of an Oyster Farm. In Spain, we'll stay at the agritourism Can Sala in Catalonia region of Spain, and the following day, tour Barcelona. This tour includes round trip airfare from New York, departing March 17, and returning March 27 (or you can elect to remain 2 additional days in Barcelona and return on the 29th.)

Complete brochure on 2015 France-Spain AgriTour
Registration form for 2015 France-Spain Agritour
Brochure for 2015 Two Day Extension in Barcelona
or Please Call Our travel agency, 1-800-325-6708 to reserve your spot.

Tuscany & Italy
March 3-15, 2015

In 2015, we will return to Italy sampling a little of everything from the villages of Tuscany, to the famous cities of Florence and Rome.  This is sure to provide a truly unique old world agricultural experience while also perhaps one of the most picturesque places we have ever toured.

Our tour will focus on tastings the fresh products and meeting the farmers throughout the Tuscany, Campania and Umbria regions of Italy.  The trip will include a fruit orchard, vineyard, olive groves and organic producers.  We’ll have the opportunity to sample olive oil, grappa, wine and the famous Italian lemon liqueur called Limoncello grown from local lemons and produced in Southern Italy. In addition, we’ll get to see the production of fresh mozzarella cheese.

We will have the opportunity to take a walking tour of several agritourismo properties and visit a farm that is successfully hosting weddings.  In addition, we plan for everyone to participate in an Italian cooking class and then enjoy the food we all have prepared.

Our additional tourist activities include traveling along the famous Amalfi coast, and visits to several of these picturesque and charming communities. No trip to Italy would be complete with out seeing the beautiful city of Florence with our private guide, and a visit to the Fierucola organic farmers’ market, held only one day a month.

Our trip will end with a full day city tour of Rome.  The group will visit all the main sights including the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel and the Coliseum.  We will also visit the Mercato Trionfale, their very famous farmers’ market.

Please Call Our travel agency,
1-800-325-6708 to reserve your spot, or

Complete brochure on 2015 Italy AgriTour
Registration form for 2015 Italy Agritour


Jane Eckert Chosen as YWCA Leader of Distinction

We are pleased to announce that Jane was chosen by YWCA Metro St. Louis as one of 9 Leaders of Distinction to be honored at the 33rd annual Leader Lunch in December and recognized by the approximately 1,000 guests in attendance.

Leader Lunch is the area’s premier event honoring women for their achievements in the work-place and the community. The women named to the Academy of Leaders are the role models who are empowering women and working every day to eliminate racism. In other words, these women personify the YWCA mission. For more information.

Rudy Maxa, The Savvy Traveler, On Agritourism

Rudy Maxa, Rudy Maxa's World.Jane was recently a guest on Rudy Maxa's World, talking briefly about Agritourism in North America. Rudy Maxa, aka "The Savvy Traveler," is one of America's premier consumer travel experts whose writings and radio and television shows have helped save thousands of travelers time and money.

A former Washington Post reporter, he is a contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler and Delta Air Lines' Sky magazine. His nearly 100 public television episodes on the great destinations of the world have numerous awards including several Emmy Awards. His weekend radio show, "Rudy Maxa's World," is the country's most widely syndicated travel talk radio show.

Click here to listen to the interview. (Jane's segment begins at 5:09)


India Publication Picks Up on Agritourism

I recently met Dr. Subramaniam, an entomologist/agri-biotechnologist for Jain Irragation Systems Limited, an agriculture based company in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India. He was in St. Louis for an ag conference and called me. I gave him a tour of two of the Eckert Farms locations here in St. Louis, and asked him how he learned of my agrimarketing consulting business.

From his pocket, he produced this article which appeared in the May 16 issue of an Indian ag publication called Agro One. His boss gave him the article and told him he needed to meet me, as Jain has an agritourism component to their business as well. I'm told that this headline reads "A Revolution by an American Lady in Agri Tourism."

Agritourism Keynotes, Workshops & Breakout Sessions

Jane draws from an extensive range of first hand experience and knowledge to teach the marketing and tourism skills that help farms successfully transition to retail enterprises. Her presentations are punctuated by graphic illustrations and photographs that document the right way, and the wrong way, to grow the family farm business. Audiences eagerly participate and develop quick ownership of the new skills they learn.

Jane Eckert teaches agritourism and direct farm marketing to farms and agribusinesses throughout North America.

Jane was Elected to the Hall of Fame, 2008
North American Farmers Direct Marketing Assoc.

A sixth generation farmer's daughter with a degree in business and more than 25 years of marketing experience, Jane has published six books on agritourism and agrimarketing, and has been featured in USA Today, Time, and This Week In Agribusiness on RFD-TV, among hundreds of media interviews and appearances. Jane has received numerous awards for her dedication to preserving the world's farms through agritourism and direct marketing, a passion that will quickly ignite your audience members to grow their personal farm businesses.

The Farmer's Perspective of Europe!

Remember that old saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?”  Everyone views the world from their own perspective, and that’s why I believe our special agritours offer farmers an opportunity to view Europe and other distant places in our own special way.

In planning our annual Eckert Agritours, we focus on ways to connect with the local farmers, see the local scenery and enjoy some very personal and hands-on experiences that regular travelers to these destinations would often miss.  Our traveling companions are fellow North American farmers—readers of this magazine or friends who follow this website–who have heard about the agritours. Traveling distant lands together, we have the time to create a wonderful bond and camaraderie just not possible with commercial tours.

So we are off again, and this time we’ll have two different agritours!  First, our March 2014 Agritour to Italy and the Tuscany region was such an overwhelming success I have decided to offer it again, so we’ll be going back March 3 – March 15, 2015.  And we’ve added a few interesting tweaks to the tour that will truly make this a wonderful experience.

While the farms in Italy are small by our standards, we’ll see that the farmers are just as committed to their land as we are and their families share the intention to continue their farming legacy into future generations.  On a number of farms, you’ll see that the younger generation is very actively involved in the growing and marketing of their agritourism destinations. They are most often the spokes persons, as the older generation does not feel comfortable giving the tours and defer to their children who are more fluent in English.

The villages of Tuscany and the countryside stack up in steep, farming terraces, and they truly are as scenic as what you seen in books and television documentaries.  The Eckert Agritour will take you up close and often we just take an unplanned stop to view the entire landscape. This region is known for their wines so vineyard trellises are most often in view everywhere we drive.

Of course, wine tasting is an important part of a trip to Tuscany. However, the grapes are not just used in wine but also to produce balsamic vinegars which have become a popular addition to our American diet. Tuscany agriculture is also known for their production of olives and the making of olive oil.  We will have the opportunity to sample both of these products and become quite informed in this very important value added product of the region.

An important agritourism stop will include a tour, horseback riding and lunch at a farm specializing in Chianina cattle, grains and saffron—saffron is known as “the gold of San Gimignano. Most of Italy’s farms include a culinary component as a means of extra income, and many include farm based lodging as part of their offerings.  The owners are our tour guides and proud to show us their properties and discuss pest and weather issues that impact their crops and how they compare to our issues back home.

We will have the opportunity to eat fresh from the farm and participate in a very popular make-your-own pizza experience. Locally produced cheeses are also a very important part of this region and we have the opportunity to sample these cheeses while learning the production process. We have added a fruit farm and citrus farm to the 2015 itinerary where we will be able to talk with the staff and see their cultivation techniques.

A special overnight stay is included at Agriturismo Titignano, an elegantly restored castle with a small chapel used for weddings and special events.  Titignano sits in the hills of Orvieto with a breathtaking view and old world charm.  A visit to Italy is not complete without the drive down the very famous and picturesque Amalfi coastline. We also take some time to explore Florence for a day,  and end our trip in the “Eternal City” of Rome. The dates for this trip will be March 3 – March 15, 2015.

The second Eckert Agritour offered for 2015 will depart March 17 for southern France and we begin our tour in Nice, the capital of the French Riviera. Our 10-day travel will take us westward following the Mediterranean Sea and ending our trip in Barcelona, Spain for our return flight on March 27.

In Nice, we will enjoy the famous Cours Saleya Market with is filled with flower vendors and a mix of local farmers selling fresh figs, spices, cheeses and much more. A special stop will be to visit an Alpine chamois goat farm whose milk is used to make farmhouse cheeses and natural cosmetics. Typically with every stop you can count on sampling the farm products and touring the production area.

While this area of France is known for their wine production—and we will visiting several wineries—the territory also has some other very interesting agriculture components unique to the region and new to us.  We will be hosted by local fishermen for a guided tour in the small picturesque fishing village of Cros de Cagnes, visit the local fish market and learn about aqua farming. A separate visit will be to a 30-year-old oyster farm located at one of the largest and deepest lakes in the region.

Our farm tour will include a historic old Olive Oil mill and orchard for touring and tasting. Of course, no visit to Provence France would be complete without learning more about French cooking and their use of regional farm products, so we have planned a “Cook in Provence” class to learn about the gastronomy of this local region and culture.  

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