Cottle Farms, which has operated a U-pick strawberry farm near Columbia, SC, for more than 40 years, has purchased the Sedgewood Country Club golf course.
The family plans to move it’s U-pick operation from the 15-acre farm at 2533 Trotter Road in Hopkins to the golf course, which is located about four miles away at 9560 Garners Ferry Road.
The 182-acre tract will allow the farm to expand its family-oriented business into festivals, school programs and other activities that would make the farm an agritourism destination, owner Joy Cottle said.
“Where we were located before we couldn’t do anything like that because we use all the acreage to farm,” she said.
The family is planning a strawberry festival during strawberry season, which is March through May. And the family may add a fall festival as well, Cottle said.
In the future, the family would like to expand into other activities that would make the farm a year- round destination, she said, such as hayrides and corn mazes.
They also plan to expand their crops to include blueberries, which are in season from late May to July, and muscadine grapes from August to September.
“And we might do some watermelons and pumpkins,” she said.
Eva Moore, spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Agriculture, said many farmers are turning to agritourism to augment their crops.
”Agritourism is a great opportunity for farmers to add revenue streams, extend their community outreach and round out some of the uncertainties of farming,” she said. “And we welcome any opportunities (for consumers) to know where the food they buy and eat comes from.”
Sedgewood Country Club opened in 1965 and was one of the Midlands oldest golf courses. It once hosted the city’s golf tournament, but in in recent decades fell on hard times.