by Madison V. Fisler
July 29, 2013. On Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3-4 from 2-6 p.m. High Country residents and visitors will get the unique chance to really see and experience where their food comes from at the High Country Farm Tour. During this event, which is hosted by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, guests will get a chance to meet the local area farmers and see the farms where local food is grown year round.
This week, we will be featuring different locations each day to showcase what each local farm, winery, vineyard and brewery has to offer guests of the Tour.
A Berry Patch Farm, which is located in West Jefferson, is a local farm that specializes in locally and organically grown fruits (like apples and blueberries), vegetables (like lettuce, tomatoes and potatoes) and herbs (such as oregano, mint and parsley). The farm also offers fresh local honey and creamed raw honey in addition to their fresh produce. Aside from the edible offerings, the farm also embroidered items like dolls, tea towels and snowflakes. The farm itself is located at 240 Mesa Way in West Jefferson. The farm can be reached at 336-982-5469.
Faith Mountain Farm is a family-owned local farm located in Creston. The farm offers everything from fresh produce and raw sourwood and wildflower honey to delicious baked goods and flowers. The farm also offers a bee pollination service to customers who need plants pollinated. The farm offers delivery to the Boone area, and they also offer farm fresh eggs.
Landmark Farm Alpacas in Grassy Creek began with the purchase of the first alpaca in 2008. From there, the herd grew and expanded, and the farm now focuses on educating visitors about alpacas. During the Farm Tour, visitors will get a chance to have an up close and personal encounter with an alpaca or two, while learning about these beautiful animals and enjoying fiber demonstrations held by local artisans.
Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone is one of just a few breweries on the Farm Tour. AMB features handcrafted beers brewed right in the back, behind the bar which serves the indoor and outdoor tasting room. Guests can learn about beer brewing and their sustainable practices, as well as their “Pints for Nonprofits” program, which donates a portion of the proceeds of each beer purchased to a worthy cause. Appalachian Mountain Brewery is located at 163 Boone Creek Drive in Boone and can be reached at 828-263-1111.
New Life Farm in Boone offers fresh produce (like broccoli, carrots, zucchini and much more), fresh cut flowers, livestock, eggs, and even fresh honey. New Life Farm is committed to cultivating produce in ways that are beneficial to both the consumer and the land it grows on. During the Farm Tour, visitors will get a real chance to see where the food on their plates comes from and how it gets there.
Horse Helpers of the High Country in Boone is an organization committed to rescuing horses in need. Currently operating out of Wisteria Farm, the main goal of the organization is to offer help and sanctuary to horses, donkeys, and mules, however they have also rescued dogs, cats, sheep and other livestock. Horse Helpers of the High Country is located at Wisteria Farm near Boone, and can be contacted here.
A weekend pass to the tour is $25 in advance per carload, which covers admission to all farms for the entire weekend. Tickets are available online here, at the Ashe County Farmers’ Market, at the Blowing Rock Farmers’ Market, at the Downtown Lenoir Farmers’ Market, the Watauga County Farmers’ Market, and at the Trosly Farm Store in Elk Park. You can also purchase a ticket on the first day of the tour at the first farm you visit for $30, or at each individual farm at a rate of $10 per farm.
Volunteers are also welcome at the Farm Tour to help farmers prepare for the visitors and to work each farm on the days of the event. A donation of at least 4 hours of volunteer time will be rewarded with a discounted Farm Tour Pass. Event day volunteers will receive a free t-shirt plus a free pass to take the tour themselves.
“Its one level to go to the farmers market and meet the farmers, but when you take the extra step and visit the farm, see the farmers in action, see the land and meet the families it really inspires you and touches you on a deeper level,” said Courtney Baines, Farm Tour coordinator and director of programs for Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture.
“It really makes you want to support these families and local agriculture.”
This year, the Tour offers much more than just a jaunt through the various farms. For the kids, there will be stickers and workbooks and a “Little Locavore” learning series to teach children about eating locally. There will also be adult and little Locavore photo contests.
For more information on this event, please click here.