The Farms and Summer Festivals of North Dakota
Summertime in North Dakota is perfect for groups who love big open spaces, popular events and the aroma of fresh foods. Among other things, North Dakota is an agricultural state with a hearty welcome for anyone who appreciates the upper-Midwestern heartland.
With around 30,000 farms and ranches covering 90% of the state, summer travelers can be treated to sweeping views of yellow sunflowers, purple flax and waving fields of golden wheat. With the right planning, they could also be treated to fairs, festivals, farmers markets, outdoor concerts and so many more ways to enjoy North Dakota’s long summer days.
In fact, North Dakota is a national and world leader in food production. The state grows half of all U.S. durum—the primary ingredient in pasta—and is the nation’s largest producer of honey, thanks in part to their beautiful wildflowers. Travelers can experience this not only from a roadside view, but also by shopping for local Pride of Dakota products at visitor centers and registered retailers, and by taking in some of the state’s farms and gardens that offer unique visitor experiences.
Tour groups are interested to know that every year, North Dakota produces enough …
- Wheat for 15.5 billion loaves of bread.
- Soybeans to make 483 billion crayons.
- Potatoes for 171 million servings of French fries.
- Beef for 100 million hamburgers.
- Wool for 421,500 sweaters.
- Milk for 894 million glasses.
- Pork for 41 million pork chops.
- Sunflowers to fill 726 million bags of sunflower seeds.
- Corn to sweeten 45 billion cans of soda.
- Canola to fill our state capitol tower more than 17 times.
Agricultural tourism in North Dakota is a favorite among visiting groups, offering homegrown adventures to stir the senses and provide a taste of the farm, garden and ranch life.
Visit vineyards and wineries growing sweet, hybrid grapes and mixing them with local fruits and honey to create unique wines to taste while relaxing in a pastoral setting. Guests could also purchase their own bottle to take home, along with other local creations.
For those interested in experiencing rural life and engaging in the activities of a small farm, North Dakota farms and gardens can get guests involved in the action with the day-to-day operations it takes to feed the world.
Favorite farms and gardens open to visitors for a variety of agrarian culture and hands-on experiences include Crooked Lane Farm Folk School and Event Center at Colfax, Ostlie’s Sunnyside Acres near Carrington, Slavic Heritage Farm near Rugby, and Pipestem Creek Bed and Birding near Carrington. Another favorite, gardendwellers FARM, has recently relocated near Souris and is preparing the land for both future herb gardens and visitors.
For a historical perspective, groups could enjoy Bagg Bonanza Farm near Mooreton and Bonanzaville in West Fargo. One of the last remaining bonanza farms in the U.S., this 15-acre plantation on the prairie is a national landmark dating back to the 1800s. Bonanzaville showcases life as it was in a small prairie town at the turn of the century, with a collection of 43 buildings and 400,000 artifacts on 12 acres.
Of course, visiting groups can enjoy the harvest in North Dakota’s cities and towns, as well. Farm-to-table restaurants use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and seasonal produce to provide the best flavors of North Dakota. Farmers markets around the state offer some of the freshest and healthiest foods found anywhere, including favorite fruits and vegetables, along with mouth-watering pies, honey, jellies and jams. They can be found using an online, searchable, interactive local foods map from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.
Fairs, festivals and other events are a big part of summer in North Dakota. Thanks to an assortment of food trucks, the air fills with the aroma of smokey barbecue, grilled turkey drumsticks, Greek gyros and “Uff-da tacos” served on fry bread—a regional favorite named for a common expression from the local Norwegian heritage.
The North Dakota State Fair in Minot (July 21-29, 2023) and Red River Valley Fair (July 7-16, 2023) are two of North Dakota’s biggest summer events. Here, visitors get to enjoy mouth-watering fair food, live music, major concerts, arts, crafts and various showcases of farming and ranching. Local growers show their prize livestock and produce while dealers show the latest in big farm equipment.
North Dakota invites you to plan a summer tour of this beautiful and amazing place that produces so much food for America and the world.
Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism.