The Sandhills Farm Tour Board welcomes everyone to the first Sandhills Farm Tour to see where their food comes from.
The tour was a creation developed by Richmond, Moore and Montgomery County Cooperative Extensions and their local farmers. As public awareness of the buying local movement grew, the local farmers sought innovative way to bring interest to their farms in an attempt to build better customer relationships.
At each farm, families can taste exotic cuisines, watch live demonstrations and enjoy family fun activities. Each car load costs $10 before Saturday, and $15 on Saturday.
“It’s a self-guided tour,” explained Montgomery County Agricultural Cooperative Extension Agent Danelle McKnight,
who organized the event.
“You don’t have to go to all the farms. That’s the neat part of it.”
Vang Farms is furthest out for Richmond County farm tourers, but McKnight said the farm will draw a crowd with the Asian cooking demonstration, by the farm’s owner Touger Vang, who is from Laos.
“We’re glad to have him be part of the farm tour,” said McKnight.
McKnight said the farm tour was publicized at the Candor Peach Festival this past weekend, which went well as the weather remained comfortable. Climbing temperatures on tap for this week are the reason the farm tour doesn’t start until 3 p.m., when the Ag agents hope it will start to cool off.
McKnight said the Sandhills Farm Tour is based on the Charlotte Area Farm Tour and the Piedmont Farm Tour. People that have been on those tours will find this one similar to those.
“It’s to show people that the farms where they buy their produce are all within an arm’s reach,” said McKnight. “We want people to see that it’s not that hard to buy local. We’re trying to bring more awareness to that.
The farm tour is a way for farmers to open the doors of their operation to the public; their customers.
“Farmers want customers to see how they work on their farms,” said McKnight.
People that see their food being picked and washed, or when they see the animals they will eat being treated humanely and kept in clean conditions, it may have a lasting impact on how much those produce items are appreciated. Farmers know they have had an impact on you and your family when you return to their produce stand each week. At the same time, shoppers can feel good about spending money in the county, because the farmers retain those dollars and put them back into their operations and into the county.
289 Research Farm Rd, Candor
Clayton Orchard specializes in peaches from early June through September. The farm also has plums, watermelons, Muscadine grapes and limited quantities of seasonal produce. The farm was established in the 1970s by Dr. Carlyle N. Clayton who was a distinguished professor of plant pathology at NCSU. He was a nationally recognized expert in fruit diseases and helped develop peach varieties for the Southeastern United States. The farm’s produce will be available for purchase during the tour.
-Shadow Hill Farm & Kennel
1723 Belford Church Rd., Jackson Springs
Jane Bright of Shadow Hill Farm and Kennel is a well-known dog trainer by profession. She teaches a kid’s camp at the farm for children interested in training their own dogs and learning the ins and outs of agility. The farm also produces chickens, eggs, coastal hay and pine straw. For the farm tour, live agility demonstrations will be provided.
-Dewitt’s Game Farm & Outdoor Sports
443 Jimmy Carriker Rd., Ellerbe
Dewitt’s Farm is dedicated to providing quality game birds such as Quail, Chukars, Pheasants and Mallard Ducks. The farm also hosts game bird hunts and provides sporting clays for your shooting pleasure! Due to the nature of this farm it is encouraged to bring mature individuals for the tour.
-Triple L Farms
332 McCall Road, Ellerbe
Triple L Farms is a fifth-generation family farm whose mission is “To keep the family farm alive and to share its products with others.” After converting from a tobacco farm, they now grow fresh produce including peaches, melons, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet corn and more. They also host “Derby Days” the first Saturday of each month. Triple L Farms will offer products for sale during the tour.
1708 Pee Dee Rd., Mt. Gilead
Hilltop Angus Farm is committed to providing natural grass fed/grass finished Angus beef, pastured pork and pastured poultry. This family runs a 170 acre farm, nestled on the edge of the beautiful Uwharrie National Forest. The farm raises all animals according to the Animal Welfare Approved standards. Hilltop Angus products will be available for sale during the tour.
189 Beaman Rd., Troy
Vang Farm, run by Touger Vang, specializes in Asian produce. It is a small family farm that grows herbs and produce in high tunnels which extends their growing season. A special Asian cooking demonstration will be hosted during the tour.
171 NC Hwy 731, Mt . Gilead
Hope Farms is a small-timey family farm committed to the sustainability of our farms and our animals. They provide farmhouse fresh eggs for sale and all of their hens are pastured, free-range and fed an all natural diet. Their products will be for sale at the farm during the tour in limited quantities.
When visiting farms:
-It is encouraged to bring plenty of cash and coolers to keep your local farm goodies fresh.
-Wear clothes that can get DIRTY!
-It is important to wear closed-toed shoes
-Please do not bring pets, as this can cause a disturbance with food and livestock.
-It is your responsibility to keep track of your children and personal belongings; these are working farms with potential hazards like electric fences and moving machinery.
-Before sampling food always wash your hands.
-The farms are open, but not their private homes. Please respect their privacy.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ex. 43, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.