A lot of folks enjoy talking with farmers at their farmers’ market booths each weekend. But if you are a farm enthusiast, or if you really want to see where your food comes from, take advantage of this special opportunity that comes around only once per year. Last year, Know Your Farms kicked off an annual tradition of organizing Charlotte area farm tours, and the successful event is back on September 18th and 19th, with 27 farms available to visit.
Charlotte Fresh and hubby had a blast last year, visiting Grateful Growers Farm, Bird Brain Ostrich Ranch, Landis Mushroom Farm and The Bradford Store. Going on the tour helped us realize that some of our favorite farmers drive almost 50 miles one way (about an hour!) to bring food they’ve carefully grown and raised to our nearest farmers’ market. It’s quite the commitment on their part, and since learning that, we have an even greater appreciation for what they do and continue to support them at the markets each week.
Here’s the deal for the self-guided tour: by purchasing a vehicle pass which is good for both days, you get to visit as many farms as you can fit in the day (between 1:30-6:30pm). We found we could only fit in up to four farms in one day between the driving, the touring, the purchasing and the eating. This year, there are four areas to choose from, with the routes mapped out. Choose the routes and farms that best interest your family and have a great time meeting the farmers and learning more about the Charlotte area’s fresh, local, sustainable agriculture!
Some tips for the tour:
- Be respectful on the farms – please don’t enter buildings or touch things without permission; keep an eye on children; leave your pets at home
- Disinfect when asked to – protects livestock and crops from any potential diseases carried on your shoes that can infect farm-to-farm
- Wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind if they get muddy or get sprayed with a light disinfectant
- Protect yourself from the sun
- Pack a cooler with ice – for picking up fresh food from farms you don’t normally get to sample at your markets
- Bring cash (small bills may help) and/or a checkbook
- Bring a good map of the area to follow along with the brochure (your GPS might not be accurate on the country roads)
- Prepare a snack for the car and have plenty of water, or plan your route to stop by the farms that will have vendor carts or food to buy
- Bring a camera to capture and remember the experience
Pssst! Want a free vehicle pass? I’m told that the tour needs over 100 volunteers to make it work smoothly…help out one day and tour for free on the other! Sign up to volunteer today! http://tinyurl.com/24xpa89.