By Paul T. Choate
Aug. 3, 2012. Do you know who grows your food locally in the High Country? There is a good chance you might not, but on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5, you will have the chance to meet several of the local farmers who provide food for your tables.
The sixth annual High Country Farm Tour, presented by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA), is a tour of 22 local farms in Watauga, Ashe and Caldwell counties that runs from 2 to 6 p.m. on both days.
According to Courtney Baines, farm tour coordinator, BRWIA are anticipating around 700 to 800 people to turn out for the two-day event. She also added that this turnout would be significantly higher than last year’s (around 500).
Attendees to the tour will be able to purchase firsthand a variety of fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, artisan cheese, herbs, mushrooms, honey, molasses, cut flowers, cookbooks, homemade soap and many other local products. It is recommended to bring a cooler if purchasing eggs, meat or other items that need to be refrigerated.
In addition to all the local items available, there will be wine and cheese tastings at some farms, as well as demonstrations of fiber arts, worm composting, and mushroom production. There will also be opportunities to learn about raising a variety of farm animals.
Keep in mind, the tour is self-guided. You can pick up a guidebook at several local businesses around town and there is a virtual Google map of all this year’s participating farms as well as detailed descriptions of each farm available at farmtour.brwia.org. Given that there are 22 participating farms and it is only a two-day event, check out the descriptions and choose those that fit your interests most. BRWIA recommends planning 3 to 4 farms per day, allowing 1 to 2 hours per farm depending on travel time.
Tickets — in the form of buttons — are $25 in advance or $30 if purchased at a farm and allow all the passengers of one vehicle to visit farms on both days of the tour. Attendees also have the option of paying $10 per farm. Tickets are available for purchase at Bare Essentials Natural Market, Earth Fare, Mast General Store in downtown Boone, Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, Stick Boy Bread Company, Watauga County Farmers’ Market, NC Cooperative Extension (Watauga, Caldwell and Ashe centers), Caldwell Arts Council, Ashe County Farmer’ Market and Bohemia in West Jefferson, or online at farmtour.brwia.org/purchase-tickets.html.
If cycling is your thing, there are discounted rates available for groups wanting to bike the tour. For more information on that, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on anything regarding the tour, visit farmtour.brwia.org.
For more information on BRWIA, visit brwia.org.
From BRWIA: “Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is seeking volunteers to assist farmers participating in the 2012 High Country Farm Tour. Volunteers will spend the day on a beautiful farm while helping to direct parking, greet and register visitors, and accept payment for farm tour tickets and BRWIA merchandise. In exchange for volunteering on one day of the tour, volunteers will receive a free ticket to attend the other day of the tour. The High Country Farm Tour is not possible without the support of volunteers. Together, we can strengthen our local food system. Sign up to volunteer with BRWIA by e-mailing email@example.com or by signing up at farmtour.brwia.org/volunteer.html.”
Watauga County Farms
Apple Hill Farm
Half Hippie U-Pick Farm
Horse Helpers at Wisteria Farm
Hospitality House Community Garden
Moretz’s Mountain Orchard
New Life Farm
St. Luke’s Mary Boyer Memorial Garden
Watauga River Farms
Ashe Country Farms
Faith Mountain Farm
Foxfire Holler Farm
Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Teaching & Research Farm
Mountain Works Farm
New River Winery
Old Orchard Creek
Woodland Harvest Mountain
Caldwell County Farms
La Paz Atlantic Sturgeon and Caviar
Ripshin Goat Dairy