Missouri agritourism becomes big business

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. | Missouri's orchards and wineries are gaining popularity as residents continue to take regional trips.

Missouri Department of Agriculture Director John Hagler says agritourism has continued to become more popular over the past decade.

The Southeast Missourian reported that the state's wineries have seen major growth with 92 operating today, nearly doubling in size since 2004. Orchards also report that October is their biggest month.

Hagler told a group during a University of Missouri Extension agritourism conference that consumers are struggling to pay their bills and are realizing they can buy a better product at a farmers market, farm or winery than at their supermarket. He says, "It's time for us to capitalize on it."