Pearl River County farms hope to become agritourism home for the state of Mississippi

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Leilani and Tony Rosenbaum, owners of Shroomdom, Inc., are currently working with other farms in Pearl River County to make Pearl River County an agritourism destination in the state of Mississippi.

Pearl River County is home to Country Girl Creamery, Picayune Blueberry Farm, Red Gate Bison Ranch and Shroomdom, Inc., Leilani Rosenbaum said.

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“We’re trying to take agritourism to a whole new level in the state and in the country,” Leilani said. “At the visitor center, it’s the most requested thing to see in the state of Mississippi, so I have decided to make Pearl River County Mississippi’s agritourism destination. Mississippi is number one in everything that is negative and derogatory, so it’s my goal to make Mississippi number one in agritourism in the nation.”

The owners of many farms in Pearl River County met at Leilani’s house Tuesday to discuss future plans.

“I want to share my ideas on how to make agritourism better in the state of Mississippi and I want to see what other people think,” Leilani said. “One day, I might wake up with a new idea and I’ll start working on it that same day. Mississippi is an agricultural state, from the Gulf Coast, to the pines and into the delta, so I plan on making it better so everyone can see what we have to offer.”

Beth Toups, owner of Red Gate Bison Ranch, said the Pearl River County agritourism group is currently working on obtaining signage, which will advertise their farm along interstates throughout the state of Mississippi.

“We have had a luncheon with all 13 welcome center supervisors in the state before and showed them what we do on our farm,” Toups said. “The supervisors experienced a hayride at the bison farm and they have also walked around Shroomdom to see how things work. The main reason we showed them everything we do is so when they refer someone to our farm, they know what people will encounter.”

Eddie Smith, Mississippi State University Extension Agent for Pearl River County, has helped farms in Pearl River County obtain grant money in order to improve their farms, Toups said.

“We recently talked with a charter bus company that holds tours for people who come from foreign countries,” Toups said. “After our meeting, they had a better understanding of what Pearl River County has to offer and how people can spend a whole day visiting farms and ranches.”

If Pearl River County becomes the home of agritourism for the state of Mississippi, it will have a positive impact on local farms and the state’s economy, Toups said.

“While our main focus is farming, we are also aware that bringing tourists to our area will increase our county’s economy,” Toups said.

“We plan on making Pearl River County a weekend destination. People will eat at the local restaurants and will shop at our local stores on Main Street. Growing agritourism in Pearl River County will bring outside business dollars and taxes in our community, which will have a positive effect on our economy.”