Farmer Bob's World Offers a Fun and Educational Ag Experience
Last updated 7/24/2022 at 8:11pm | View PDF
Farmer Bob's World has become a local attraction in the South Valley, presenting the farm experience to visitors from all over the valley, as well as from throughout the country and the world.
"This February, a group of international guests from the World Ag Expo joined us for a wagon tour, and guests have visited us from Singapore, Korea, England and the Ukraine," said Deanna Saldana, executive director at Farmer Bob's World.
In 2013, Bob McKellar started hosting children, families and schools for group wagon tours around the working citrus farm at McKellar Family Farms in Ivanhoe. The experience was so rewarding for Bob and the guests to the farm, that he started the process of creating Farmer Bob's World.
In 2016, McKellar Family Farms, Inc./Farmer Bob's World became a 501(C)3 non-profit and now offers tours to schools, families, businesses and visitors on their way to the national parks.
Guests can experience a walking tour of the orchards or a covered wagon tour that makes stops throughout the groves to learn about the process of planting, growing and picking oranges.
"Consumers are very disconnected from their food, thinking it comes from the grocery store, and the appreciation of land, water and farming is lost, even from people who live and work in the area and drive past orchards every day," said Saldana.
"The Central Valley generates $47.1 billion to the state's economy and accounts for 54% of the total U.S. citrus production," she continued. "More than half is grown in our own backyard. We believe that connecting people back to the land is vital for the conservation and sustainability of farming in Tulare County and the Central Valley."
Tours and Activities
Guests can purchase a ticket for a farm tour which includes seeing Farmer Bob's farm exhibits, picking an orange in the U-Pick Orchard, wandering the demonstration orchard that features more than 40 different varieties of citrus, enjoying the live animals on the farm – ducks, rabbits, chickens and peacocks – and taking advantage of photo opportunities.
There is also a picnic area for lunch and snacks. All tours are presently by reservation only. Farmer Bob's World also hosts special events.
"We feature a monthly event that gives community members the opportunity to come learn fun DIY projects that they can do themselves," said Saldana. "Past events have included succulent planting, making bath salts and body scrubs and a 'Painting a Pot' art project for kids."
Farmer Bob's World takes pride in being senior-friendly.
"There are senior tours booked here at Farmer Bob's World and we want to engage more," Saldana said. "We are working with local senior living facilities giving them the opportunity to have their residents join us at the farm."
"Seniors are a very important group in spreading the understanding of the relationship between farms, farmers and the folks who purchase food," said McKellar, also known as Farmer Bob. "Many seniors come from a farm background, in fact, many seniors have been farmers. Visiting us rekindles fond memories for many. Others enjoy bringing their children or grandchildren to the farm for show and tell."
"At Farmer Bob's World, we work had to be as inclusive as possible to provide the best farm experience for all our guests," said Saldana. "There are concrete ADA-compliant parking stalls, concrete walkways to and from the wagon tour for walkers and wheelchairs, and a ramp for ease of access to the wagon. Both the picnic area and the gift shop are on concrete, and there is an ADA-compliant bathroom in the gift shop."
Farmer Bob's World has plans for creating a permanent event space where people can come and enjoy music, food and the farm.
"We hope to engage the local community in family friendly events and opportunities to learn more about the local agricultural industry with a focus on citrus farms," said Saldana.
There are plans for an interactive pavilion featuring more information on citrus growing and varieties, the international citrus market, pest control and diseases, water conservation, farming history and sustainable farming. These projects are expected to be ready for visitors over the next one-to-three years.
Farmer Bob's World is located at 32988 Road 164, Ivanhoe. For tickets or more information, call (559) 798-0557 or visit http://www.farmerbobsworld.com.