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Farmhouse is a general term for the main house of a farm. It is a type of building or house which serves a residential purpose in a rural or agricultural setting. Most often, the surrounding environment will be a farm. These buildings are usually 2 stories, but early buildings were single story. Many farm houses are shaped like a T. The perpendicular section is referred to as the ell.
These buildings tend to be more pragmatic than aesthetic, but often well-stocked or well-furnished in terms of food, insulation or in other aspects dealing with daily necessities. The supply of agricultural products from its environment tends to be a factor for this, as well as stressing the need for productivity and pragmatism in the survival of the farm. The farmhouse allows the farmers, workers and often their families to reside in proximity to their workplace - namely the farm in question. This allows the farmers and workers to arrive at the workplace earlier, increasing the productivity of the farm.
Lately, "farmhouse" has come to be used to mean an housing estate in the countryside, away from the city. In this modern extended use of the term, the farmhouse may or may not be related to an actual farm - frequently, in fact, "farmhouses" are not based around any actual farm. While farm produce sustained the traditional farmhouses, sustenance for the modern farmhouse is provided by outside resources. These modern farmhouses are often a rural retreat for wealthy people who come to these places for vacation and rest, or to escape the atmosphere of the city. While many of these farmhouses have been handed down through generations, where originally farm produce could have been the main revenue source, other such farmhouses are being built new.
To spend holidays in Country Houses or Farmhouses can be called "Agritourism".
Agritourism is a style of vacation which is normally on farms. This may include the chance to help with farming tasks during the visit. Agritourism is often practiced in wine growing regions in Italy and Spain. In America, Agritourism is wide-spread and includes any farm open to the public at least part of the year. Tourists can pick fruits and vegetables, ride horses, taste honey, learn about wine, shop in farm gift shops and farm stands for local and regional produce or hand-crafted gifts, and much more.
Agritourism is developing into a large part of the tourism industry and will soon be one of the largest sectors of tourism.
People are more interested in how their food is produced and want to meet the producers and talk with them about what goes into food production. Children who visit the farms often have not seen a live duck, or pig, and have not picked an apple right off the tree. This form of expanded agri-tourism has given birth to what are often called "entertainment farms." These farms cater to the pick-your-own crowd, offering not only regular farm products, but also food, mazes, open-pen animals, train rides, picnic facilities and pick-your-own produce.