Available at: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/1333
Date of Award
MS in Agriculture - Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management
The current research is a case study on the Apple Hill Grower’s Association (AHGA). The purpose of this case study was to gain a full understanding of the AHGA with a focus on the economic and social motivations of the original farmers to bring tourism to the farm. A majority of the past research on agritourism involves quantitative studies that are survey based; this study gives qualitative research perspective based on focus groups and personal interviews. In addition, past research is focused on other states (i.e. Michigan, Missouri, Montana) and countries (i.e Italy and Australia). This case study adds research to the agritourism book of knowledge in California. The subjects for this study were chosen through purposive sampling, a non-probability sampling technique that involves choosing experts highly involved in the research at hand (Kraus & Allen, 1997). It was important to have subjects highly involved in the culture of the AHGA and that were directly involved in the initial decisions to start an agritourism business. Therefore, seven participants were hand selected that were directly related to the beginning of the AHGA. One focus group and six semi-structured interviews were conducted with the subjects of this study. The data from the focus group and interviews were analyzed through the qualitative analysis process of “grounded theory”.
The steps to grounded theory include: raw text, research concerns, relevant text, repeating ideas, themes, theoretical constructs, and theoretical narrative (Auerbach & Silverstein, 2003). Through this research, main themes emerged that were directly related to the objectives of this study. These main themes are as follows: survival, involvement, feuds, politics, complacency, factors for success, female gender role, less regulations, education of farmers, and negative impacts. From these main themes, many sub themes surfaced. The most prevalent theme of this study was survival, more particularly survival in reference to pear decline. The objective of this study was to explore the motivations of the original farmers of the AHGA to engage their farms in agritourism. The main motivation was to save their farm from the pear decline disease.