BY LINDA BAKER
Scottie Jones and her Sicilian donkey Paco at her Alsea farm.
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina
It was a smart move. Last year, Jones grossed $28,000 from her “Leaping Lamb” farmstay, attracting overnight guests eager to gather farm-fresh eggs, pet the resident sheep, and brush Paco, the Sicilian donkey.
Now Jones is spreading the wealth. In 2010, she launched FarmStay U.S. (farmstayus.com), a website designed to connect guests with farm and ranch stays throughout the country. Modeled after similar programs in Europe, Farmstay now has 950 participating farms, including 27 in Oregon.
Sitting in her ramshackle but cozy farmhouse, set among wet green hills, the 58-year old Jones talked to Oregon Business about diversifying small farms, teaching city dwellers to touch nature and how guests from outside the U.S. are best at scooping poop.
OB: Why should a small farmer play innkeeper?
A farmstay equalizes and adds value to small farms. It isn’t dependent on the price of lamb; it isn’t dependent on the price of hay. I’m booked every weekend from mid March until the end of October and have guests in January and February. I block out December so I don’t have a nervous breakdown.