Know Your Farms announces its third annual Charlotte Area Farm Tour the weekend of September 17-18, 2011 from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. both days and highlights 30+ local farms.
The Charlotte Area Farm Tour is self-guided, and farms are located in clusters all around the Charlotte region for easy touring. To take the tour, get a map and purchase a vehicle pass online. Load up your vehicle with friends and family, pack a cooler in the trunk for all the farm-fresh goodies you’ll want to take home, then use the map to plot your course!
Please consider volunteering in exchange for a free pass! We will need around 100 volunteers this year!
Volunteering involves greeting people as they arrive at the farm, ensuring people know about the rules, and pointing them to where things are happening on-site. Shifts run from 11-4 and 2-7; allow an average of one hour on either end for travel for a total time commitment of 5 hours. Receive a free pass to use the remainder of the volunteering day, or to use the day you aren't volunteering!
Children learn to appreciate where their food comes from and are delighted to interact with local cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep. Adults have an opportunity to learn about natural and sustainable production methods that can be used in their own backyard gardens, as well as gain useful cooking and nutritional tips for healthy meal preparation.
How it Works
Step One: Get a Vehicle Pass
Buy online or at locations in Charlotte, Huntersville, and Gastonia.
Step Two: Plan Your Route
Read the farm descriptions; pick 1-2 farms that interest you and locate farms nearby. Allow 1-2 hours per farm, depending on travel time and remember GPS can be inaccurate in rural areas. Use our online map and printable brochure to help find your way.
Step Three: Load Your Car
Many farms will have products for sale; be sure to pack a cooler with ice and bring the checkbook.
See one group's experience in last year's tour video by Claire Naisby and
the Davidson College EcoHouse.
Vehicle passes and maps are also available at these area locations: The tour cost is $25 in advance per vehicle or cycle group. Vehicle passes may also be purchased on tour days at every tour farm for $30.
View 2011 Know Your Farms Annual Farm Tour online map. For greater accuracy, use the maps and directions in the print brochure.
Participating Farms - Saturday September 17, 2011
1: Proffitt Family Farms -- Proffitt Family Farms raises 100% grass-fed beef. The farm is Animal Welfare Approved and is an American Grass Fed Association producer. The farm store will be fully stocked with all beef cuts. Come see where your meat is grazed, walk through certified organic pastures, and pet the horses.
2: Stowe Dairy Farms --This third generation heritage farm enjoys educating kids and adults on historic farming practices. They raise all-natural, grass-fed beef and offer it for sale. Sorghum cane is harvested in the fall and made into syrup using old time processes. The Christmas tree farm opens the day after Thanksgiving!
3: Lewis Farm / Carolina Cattle Co -- This fourth generation family farm uses sustainable farming practices of the 1930s-40s. Grass-fed beef, pastured pork, brown eggs, and produce for sale. Enjoy free samples of beef, pork, and eggs, as well as hay rides, pony rides, and barnyard animals. Kids can play on a hay mountain complete with slide!
4: Maple Spring Farms -- This seasonal family farm has berries, fruits, and pumpkins, both you-pick and ready-picked. The farm stand offers motley produce, snack foods, jams, salsa, pumpkin bread, fall décor, berry cider, and slushes. Take a wagon ride tour, and let your children enjoy pumpkin picking, the learning center, nature trail, and playground.
5: Apple Orchard Farm -- This self-sustaining farm uses environmentally sound practices to raise beef cattle, pastured pork and free range laying hens. Learn about composted manure, a solar-powered well and seed saving from heirloom vegetables, including a green been variety in his family since 1792.
6: Birdbrain Ostrich Ranch -- Pat and Mike offer a close encounter with their ostrich—they’ll even let you feed them their dinosaur food. Famed for being being a healthier red meat, ostrich meat contains 40% less fat than beef. All ostrich products will be for sale, in addition to BBQ sandwiches.
7: Grateful Growers Farm -- Since 2005, Grateful Growers Farm has produced pasture-raised pork, shiitake mushrooms, and poultry. Kids can interact with pigs and chickens! Natalie and Cassie also own the Harvest Moon Grille food cart and the Harvest Moon Grille in Uptown Charlotte; the food cart will serve lunches with food from local farms.
8: Gilcrest Natural Farm -- Gil and Amy work with nature to provide an environment free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones. Managing their land with solar power for the cattle watering system and electric fence, they also maintain a biodiverse pasture. They will sell their beef, chicken and deli products.
9: Rivendell Farm -- This small, sustainable farm specializes in grass fed beef, hydroponic lettuce and organic vegetables. They have solar panels on their cow fields, making them 75% carbon neutral! Their grass-fed beef, eggs, breads, lettuce, and herbs will be for sale. Children can also enjoy feeding goats and planting a fall garden.
10: Poplar Ridge Farm --Poplar Ridge Farm is a small, family-owned and managed USDA certified organic farm. It is a Community Supported Agriculture farm that grows a wide variety of produce throughout the year. Come by to purchase a wide selection of produce, flowers, herbs, eggs, cheese, poultry, and baked goods.
11: New Town Farms -- This small, Certified Organic family farm specializes in organic vegetables, pastured poultry (chickens and Thanksgiving turkeys), heritage breed Ossabaw pigs, and free range eggs. The Inn At New Town Farms offers culinary events, dinners, and cooking classes featuring foods produced here on the farm prepared by Charlotte chefs.
12: Peaceful Meadows Farm -- Peaceful Meadows Farm, 150 acres of rolling pasture, raises its cattle strictly on grass without any grains, hormones or antibiotics. Beef in bulk quantities and cuts will be available for purchase on tour day, along with cold drinks and snacks. Children will have plenty of room to run and play.
13: Windcrest Farm -- Windcrest Farm is a Certified Organic greenhouse and farm operation growing vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits. They specialize in heirloom varieties. Their products can be found at area farmer's markets and at local restaurants, and are available for purchase.
14: Happy Hills Alpaca Farm -- This alpaca farm exemplifies quality, herd genetics, and genetic diversity, and takes pride in its prizewinning alpacas. Children and adults can watch a wool spinning demonstration. Alpaca wool products will be available for purchase. Snacks and juice provided.
15: Aw Shucks Farms -- Aw Shucks Farms continues to be a treasured destination each fall with something to offer for all ages. Step back in time in the Old Fashioned General Store, enjoy a Hayride, and visit the Pumpkin Patch. The 6 acre Corn Maze is always fun and will entertain even the youngest of outdoor adventurers!
Participating Farms - Sunday September 18, 2011
16: Perry Farms -- This 4th generation family farm raises 100% grass fed Angus beef and lamb the natural way...free of antibiotics and hormones. Fresh products include Perry Farms beef, pork, lamb, and made from scratch baked goods from The Sweet Escape. Children's activities include a petting zoo, pony rides, and a nature walk turned scavenger hunt.
17: Mary L Farms -- At this fourth generation family owned organic dairy farm, the Parkers focus on cows, but also raise chickens, sheep, goats, peacocks, and horses. They sell milk to Organic Valley. Children will love the petting area, and everyone can enjoy organic hamburgers and hotdogs made from beef raised on the farm.
18: KC Farm -- The Goodrum family will drive hayrides from the barn to the gardens every 20 minutes. You will get a tour of their black angus cattle, chickens, horses, and fresh produce. Seasonal produce, baked goods, eggs, and drinks will be available for purchase. Children can enjoy petting the farm animals.
19: Landis Gourmet Mushrooms -- Mushrooms from spores to harvest! The only operation like it in the state. John and Cris will have herbs and produce from the garden for sale, in addition to mushrooms.
20: Wild Turkey Farms --Wild Turkey Farms has been in the Menius family for over 100 years. On hayride tours, you'll see pasture-raised Berkshire pigs, grass-fed Angus cattle, Kathadin sheep, chickens, turkeys, and the guard llama. Full line of meat products available as well as “WTF” shirts and stickers. Kids are welcome! Live music and great food available!
21: Bame Farms -- Andy and Megan sell "pig-pen" pork, grass-fed beef, and famed colorful eggs on this small, sustainable farm. Kids will enjoy cranking the antique corn sheller and grinder, while adults can explore the passive solar greenhouse. They will have their beef, pork, and eggs for sale.
22: Hartsell Farms --Belted Galloway Cattle, Gulf Coast Sheep, and Tennessee Fainting Goats thrive on this century farm. Participate in walking tours and family activities. Beef, lamb, and herb products for sale. Live cooking demos with Chef Matt Trexler will showcase Hartsell meats. Enjoy live local musicians!
23: Hoffner Organic Farms -- This certified organic, third generation dairy farm raises 300 head of Holstein dairy cattle for milk and meat and sells milk to Organic Valley Co-op. The farm now grows delicious, certified organic vegetables in their new 200 foot hoophouse. Beef (including bratwursts), Organic Valley dairy products, and freshly ground barley and wheat flour available for purchase.
24: Patterson Farms -- Patterson Farm, a third generation produce farm raising tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, squash, pumpkins, muscadines and poinsettias, offers seasonal pick-your-own strawberries, muscadines and pumpkins. The Pattersons have an on-farm market, and offer many educational field trip programs for children, in addition to weekend family activities. Ice cream sold on the tour!
25: T & D Farms -- Todd and Danielle raise 100% grassfed beef and pasture-raised chicken and pork. Take a hay ride around the farm, and and sample their meat. Burgers, snacks, and drinks for purchase in addition to meat. Children can enjoy horseback riding and a petting zoo!
26: Carrothers Farms -- Christopher and Donna started their new farm about four years ago, and are working toward Organic cerfication. They’ll have some collards, blueberries, apples, pears and peaches for sale. Come see a farm in it’s very beginning stages!
27: Laughing Owl Farm -- Dean and Jenifer are eager to give you a tour of their farm which carries diversified vegetables, pastured pigs, and pastured chickens. Their seasonal vegetables, pork, and chicken will be available for purchase.
28: Coldwater Creek Farm -- Brad and Eric’s century-old farm features certified organic flower, vegtable, and herb production. The largest producer of garlic in Cabarrus county, they also specialize in cole crops like broccoli, cabbage, and hearty greens. They will have seasonal produce for sale, in addition to apples, cider, garlic, and garlic scape pesto.
29: Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm -- With the median age of farmers in Cabarrus County at 58, the Cooperative Extension uses this 30-acre tract to “grow” emerging farmers. The 12 beginner farmers hope to teach you about what they’re doing on the farm and how you can grow your own food at home. Children can learn about seed planting.
30: The Farm at Dover Vineyards -- A 3.7 vineyard featuring French American Hybrid Grapes and Table grapes sits alongside a small produce farm and pumpkin patch. Seasonal vegetables and grapes will be for sale.31: Barbee Farms -- Barbee Farms is a sixth generation family farm, a classed century farm in Cabarrus County. The Barbees grow a large variety of products from apples to zucchini, and most everything between. They will have an array of produce for sale.
32: Big Oak Farm -- Mike and Dawn are excited to show you how they raise grass-fed cattle on their century farm. You’re welcome to pet the cattle and horses in their open pastures. Come with a cooler to buy all-natural, hormone-free beef and pork!
- Please do not bring pets on the tour, as they can be a hazard to livestock and pose food safety threats to produce growers.
- Remember these are working farms, with potentially harmful equipment, electric fences, etc. While our farmers do their best to keep guests safe, please keep a close eye on your children.
- Wash up! Please take time to wash your hands after petting an animal. We will provide hand sanitizer at every farm if washing facilities are not available. You may also be asked to disinfect your shoes in a harmless vinegar solution in order to prevent farm-to-farm transmission of germs that might infect livestock.
- Please do not enter private homes unless given express permission by the owner.
- Please observe the hours of the tour, as farmers have chores and other work that they must do outside the tour.
Play a Part!
Help Spread the Word! We're looking for over 2,000 people to come out and make the farm tour a success for the farmers. Here's a poster you can print out and post...or feel free to tweet out a message like this: "Looking for family fun? Load up the car for a self-guided tour of 32 Charlotte area farms. Sept 17-18 12:30-5:30 knowyourfarms.com/tour"
Want a free pass? Volunteer! The tour needs over 100 volunteers to make it run smoothly...help out one day and tour for free another! Sign Up Now!
We want to thank all of our 2011 sponsors for supporting the tour this year. Without their generous support, we would not be able to host the tour this year.
Know Your Farms is a Davidson-based, family-operated business that works to “rebuild our local food system in a sustainable way” through distribution of and education about local food. Working with two dozen farms in the Charlotte, NC area, Know Your Farms provides an alternative to traditional distribution models, seeking to make farm profitability the priority.