by Madison V. Fisler
Aug. 5, 2013. On Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3-4 from 2-6 p.m. High Country residents and visitors enjoyed a unique opportunity to really see and experience where their food comes from at the High Country Farm Tour. During this event, which was hosted by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, guests got a chance to meet the local area farmers and see the farms where local food is grown year round.
This year, 28 properties were included in the Tour including 2 new breweries and 14 new farms added to the list. The weekend-long self-guided Farm Tour brought people from far and wide to discover, meet and greet and learn more about where their local food and drink come from.
“From what I could tell, this year’s Tour blew last year’s out of the water,” said Courtney Baines of the High Country Farm Tour.
“Farms that had 10 people come out last year reported 60 plus people at their farms.”
Baines attributes the success of this year’s Farm Tour to increased marketing strategies, a more child-friendly angle and adding so many more locations.
This year’s Tour focused on encouraging parents to bring their children out to the farms to learn about where their food comes from. The “Little Locavore” initiative featured child-friendly stops along the Tour which were dedicated to teaching kids about eating local. The Tour featured a “Little Locavore” booklet with “I Spy” games, bug identification activities and even stickers. One farm even had balloon animal storytelling.
“The kids seemed to enjoy it. At the farms I visited personally, they were packed and kids were running around everywhere. It was great!” Baines said.
Baines attributes much of the success to the tireless efforts of the organizers, farms and volunteers that made the Farm Tour possible.
“We really stepped it up this year and I could see that it really paid off,” Baines said.
“Our core team of interns Lean Jalfon, Megan Biddix, Abby Bishop and Executive director Sarah Myers were on board from the start. We had 60 plus volunteers who gave generously of their time. There was a whole host of community members who began helping at the beginning of February when we were in the planning stages, and they helped us connect to the community,” Baines said.
“It was very much a group and community effort, and we can’t thank them enough.”