Cannatella Outdoors Farms will serve as the venue for this month's Heartland Tours event. Courtesy Cannatella Outdoors Farms

Field of Dreams: A look inside local agritourism business Heartland Tours

Taylor McCann always knew that her love of music played a role in her love of the land. After all, she grew up on a farm in the small town of Morganza, where Peter Fonda in Easy Rider made moves on the ladies of the Melancon’s Cafe, and where sugarcane, crawfish, cattle and cotton continue to thrive long after the end of the counterculture. Across those farmlands, the daily grind of planting, ranching, harvesting and shipping beats out a rhythm that’s easy to ignore in our grocery-shop-adjacent lives, where eggs arrive clean in their cartons and veggies come packaged in plastic. It’s part of why McCann, an LSU Manship School of Mass Communication graduate and videographer for the National Grazing Lands Coalition, decided to embark on her dream of introducing the beauty and brawn of the state’s agriculture to a wider audience, founding the agritourism company Heartland Tours in April 2022.

“I’ve been so focused on agriculture throughout my career, and my husband James is an ag economist,” says McCann. “After we got married and found ourselves with a little financial wiggle room, we realized that if I didn’t try to make it happen now, I might never do it. And now our first tour is happening this October.”

The concept is simple: On Saturday, October 29, the McCanns will accompany tourists on journey through Cannatella Outdoors Farms in St. Landry Parish, a 4,000-acre swath of soybeans, corn, wheat and sugarcane. The group will interact with farmers and learn the methods used to grow these crops, and afterward, the McCanns—who are also songwriters and musicians—will perform for attendees at an onsite outdoor event space. 

By crawfish season of 2023, the couple plans to introduce more tours at farms across Louisiana’s agricultural heartland, taking advantage of their multiple industry connections. Music will be part of each stop.

While tours mainly draw an older, retired audience looking to learn more about where their food comes from, McCann believes that everyone benefits from learning about the care that goes into making our lifestyles possible. 

“It’s so easy to take our food for granted, but it’s important to know what it takes to grow those carrots, or raise those crawfish,” she says. “These tours are meant to be fun, but I hope they’ll also serve as a way to educate and inspire, and start a conversation.”