Visit Triangle-Area Farms for Fresh Fun
From feeding goats to walking through strawberry fields and learning how vegetables grow, the Triangle farm scene hasactivities for everyone. Families can spend a weekend enjoying all this and more during the 2014 Piedmont Farm Tour, April 26-27. Local farmers are welcoming visitors for a chance to set foot on their farms and buy food that is as fresh and local as it gets.
“Take a drive in the country, walk through fields and pastures, and see where your next meal is coming from,” says John Soehner of Eco Farm in Chapel Hill. “Get the real dirt on farming.”
Eco Farm is a returning farm to the tour in 2014 and is one of the many where you can pick your own produce including strawberries, blueberries and fresh produce growing in the field such as garlic, lettuce, kale and butternuts.
Families will especially enjoy kid-friendly activities on the tour. Your children can learn the biology of seeds and plant green bean seeds of their own to take home at the magic-of-seeds station, then see bees in action
at the honeybee station at RambleRill Farm. “The farm tour is a wonderful opportunity for us to welcome both our established customers and people in our community whom we haven’t yet met to see firsthand how we grow our fruits, vegetables and mushrooms,” says Jane Saiers of RambleRill Farm in Hillsborough, a farm that became certified organic last year.
RambleRill is a new farm to the tour in 2014, along with Woodcrest Farm, Farmboy Farms and Cooper-Lasley Farm.
“We are trying to turn our historic family farm into a sustainable natural farm that is part of the community,” says Allison Cooper of Cooper-Lasley Farm in Mebane. “Families can see how we raise all of our livestock, poultry and produce naturally, the way our family started this farm more than 200 years ago.”
There are 39 farms on the tour this year, and participating as a family is an easy way to support the efforts of local farmers while also having some outdoor weekend fun. Tour tickets, good for both April 26 and 27, are $25 per vehicle in advance and $30 the weekend of the tour. You can also choose to pay $10 per farm. Farms are open 2-6 p.m. both days.
“We had about 3,000 people attend in 2013, making 10,000 farm visits in total,” says Laura Stewart, education coordinator at Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
The Piedmont Farm Tour is hosted by CFSA, with partnership from Weaver Street Market. The tour is self-guided and will take place rain or shine. Follow the map provided by CFSA to choose the farms you want to visit. Most tour participants are able to see two to four farms in a day. Don’t forget to take a cooler to bring home some of the farm-fresh products for sale at many farms. (Photos at left and right courtesy of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association)
Tickets are available online now at carolinafarmstewards.org/pft and will be available at Weaver Street Market closer to the event date. For more information call CFSA at 919-542-2402.
Megan Finke is a contributing writer to Carolina Parent.
Can't attend the Piedmont Farm Tour?
There are many other chances for your family to support local produce in the Triangle. Fresh farms and farmers markets are scattered throughout Wake, Orange and Durham counties, many starting their spring seasons in April and May. Several of the markets are open on Saturday mornings, so make it a seasonal tradition to start your weekend off with fresh fruits and vegetables.