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Embracing Diversity & Empowering Community Through Food Tours with Blue Fern Travel

This is the Story of Blue Fern Travel, the DC Tour company which tells the history of neighborhoods through food.

Today, Mary and Stefan share the Blue Fern Travel ethos and how they work with organizations helping those in need in the city.

They share how their food tour business started and how they gained funding for their new venture. They reveal how their community reacted to their business and why it’s essential to work with staff, management, and owners when securing vendors.

They explain the business skills they had to learn and the methods they use to design their food tours. They discuss why they chose their online tour booking platform and how they market their tours. They also share advice for hiring people to help promote your tour business and what tourpreneurs can do to help their communities.


People will pay a premium knowing that their money is going to help a lot of people, not just the tour guide.

Stefan Woehlke


This week on Tourpreneur, the Tour Operator Podcast:

  • The ethos behind Blue Fern Travel
  • Local issues that Mary and Stefan have noticed in DC
  • How Blue Fern Travel is working to help those in need in the city
  • How Blue Fern Travel got started and how the business gained funding
  • The initial reaction of the community to Blue Fern Travel
  • Why working with owners, management and staff is essential for food tours
  • How Blue Fern Travel uses their food tour to highlight significant black historical figures
  • What guests and vendors think of the historical elements of the food tour
  • Business skills that Mary and Stefan had to learn when starting their tour business
  • How Mary and Stefan designed their tours
  • Why they build their tour programs based on all five senses
  • How Mary and Stefan chose their online booking platform
  • How Blue Fern markets their tours
  • Why Mary and Stefan chose to work with a marketing consultant
  • Advice on hiring people to help promote your tour business
  • New initiatives Blue Fern Travel launched during COVID-19 and how they were received
  • How Mary and Stefan balance their business and family life as a married couple with two children
  • How Tourpreneurs can help their community

Today’s episode of Tourpreneur is kindly sponsored by FareHarbor


More about today’s guests, Mary Collins and Stefan Woehlke of Blue Fern Travel

Stefan Woehlke and Mary Collins are the co-founders of Blue Fern Travel. Following her traveling experiences worldwide, Mary understands the fundamental importance of connection and giving back to the local community. Her passion for connecting people through stories, culture, and food adds to the food tours’ unique elements. Before starting Carpe DC, Mary gained an MPA in International and Nonprofit Management and worked with various NGOs around the world.

Stefan co-founded the Blue Fern Travel business with his wife Mary while earning his Ph.D. in Archaeology from Maryland University. He uses his passion for history and culture to weave a rich tapestry of information into the food tours. He has worked with various communities and students through archaeology and loves to share the stories of artifacts, significant figures, and the history of places with the community.


Resources Mentioned