Over the past several years, more of us have become more interested in where our food comes from! If you have not been to visit a farm near you, I would encourage you to see if the farms near you are able to have visitors come for a visit. Some farms may not have the staff available to accept visitors. The best way to meet local farmers and find out if they allow visitors is to visit a local farmers market and meet them. Some farmers have “You Pick” farms or farm stands which are all great ways to visit a farm.
Some communities now have local farm tours where there is time set aside for people to come and visit local farms. If these are not available where you live, it may take a little homework to see what it would take to plan a wonderful farm tour where you live and get other people in the community to visit and learn more about how their food is grown. Where I live, there are farmers who allow school students to visit farms on a field trip. Taking children to pick berries, pumpkins, apples, peaches, ect. is a great learning experience for them.
I want to share with you 3 local farms that I have visited. I will share other stories of local farmers and what they grow too so stay tuned!
Farm Tour One Fishing for Good Health: Sunburst Trout
One of the other farms that I had a chance to visit has been Sunburst Trout Farm outside of Canton, North Carolina and had the pleasure to take a tour with Sunburst’s owner, Sally Eason to see how their trout gets from their farm to our plate. Sunburst raises the trout sustainably in an environment that is totally free of pollutants like mercury, PCBs or pesticides. The food they provide to the fish contains no animal by-products, antibiotics or growth hormones. One of the greatest health benefits of eating farm raised trout is that it is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids just as wild salmon. In addition to the health advantages trout has, its flavor, color and texture make it a wonderful choice. Some of my favorite ways to prepare it include poached, grilled or broiled. Besides fillets, Sunburst also offers a variety of products made from trout which include caviar, sausage, jerky and smoked. You can pick up at Ingles, Earth Fare, Asheville City Market, restaurants throughout WNC and even online.
Farm Tour Two Garden Party at First Blossom Farm
Last year, Veronica Solongo, Victoria and I planned a Garden Party and Farm Tour where visitors had the opportunity to visit Veronica’s First Blossom Farm and taste some tasty snacks that were grown right on the farm which included cucumber and squash open faced sandwiches, mini quiches made from squash and kale and blueberry kabobs for dessert. Visitors were able to purchase food directly from the farm and go on a fun farm tour given by Veronica. This food event gave people the opportunity to meet who grows their food and try new ways to make it. This can be a great event in a local community for people to connect with local food.
Farm Tour Three Cooking Class at Hickory Nut Gap
Having a cooking class with some nutrition education added on a local farm can be a great way to see the farm and eat food grown directly on the farm. Jamie Aiger has created a beautiful location for people to visit and purchase food at Hickory Nut Gap Farm store. Although, Jamie grows a variety of local produce, his farm is best known for its organic meats. Victoria and I had the pleasure of working with Jamie and his staff to plan a fun cooking class in their party barn. Our guests made a Thai Beef Salad and a vegetarian tempeh version. They also made a greasy bean and corn saute and peach goat cheese tartlets.
I hope some of my experiences that I have shared on the farm have inspired you to seek which farmers allow visits where you live. Stay tuned for more stories about local farmers where I live and if you are in Western North Carolina sign up to attend ASAP’s annual farm tour which will be September 19 and 20. Check out ASAP Farm Tour on how you can get your tickets or volunteer!
Stay tuned for more farm to table events and become part of Vine Ripe’s local food movement by following us on social media and check out our calendar of events. You can read more about these and other local farmers in Farm Fresh Nutrition