Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture will hold its annual High Country Farm Tour on June 28 and 29. The tour allows visitors to weave through 20 different farms in two counties in the High Country. In the weeks leading up to the tour, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture interns visited different farms in the High Country, meeting the owners and their families, and learning the story of each property. Here, Leah Jalfron stops in for a farm dinner at Trosly Farm.
I so enjoyed the car ride through Avery County that our arrival surprised me. Although it was a fair drive from Boone, what felt like moments later, we pulled off the highway onto Peter Harding Lane. We had arrived at Trosly Farm the homestead of Kaci and Amos Niddifer, a site of tradition, sustainability and family.
We drove slowly up the Niddifers’ driveway, admiring the picturesque view of their historic home against the backdrop of the pasture and the woodlands in the distance. The Niddifers greeted us and led us past the pigs and the sheep to their farm store, where they offered us freshly baked rosemary and sourdough bread, delicious duck rillette and Kaci’s onion marmalade.
With such a beautiful and established operation, we were surprised to learn that Kaci and Amos did not originally plan to be farmers. They grew up in the high country, Amos about five miles away and Kaci just over the border in Tennessee. Both attended Milligan College in Johnson City. Kaci majored in photography and always thought she wanted to live in the city. But her semester in Australia and Amos’s in Austria renewed their appreciation of their home in the high country, and after starting a garden on campus, they decided to acquire some land of their own.
But Trosly Farm’s history begins long before Kaci and Amos made it their home. The house was built in the 1900s, and although it hasn’t been in the family, the land has always been a farm. It is where the Niddifers’ parents got their Christmas trees in the 1960s. Trosly Farm is on Peter Harding Lane, named after a Native American who helped run the original farm and owned the Tweetsie Railroad, which can still be seen from the farm today. Although it hadn’t been lived in for ten years, the Niddifers fell in love with the house and bought the property, continuing its legacy while transforming it into the sustainable homestead that it is today.
People come to the farm for the Brood & Hatch workshops Kaci hosts on raising chickens. Kaci showed us the chickens, about a hundred of them now, that she and Amos raise primarily to supply to chefs in the area.
Kaci and Amos started farming because they wanted to live more sustainably and do what they love. They didn’t think they could make money from the farm, but as the years have gone on, the Niddifers’ love of farming has grown so much that they both chose be full-time farmers two years ago.
“The general lack of connection to agriculture is huge, so education is really important,” Kaci reflects. “But we’re just really passionate about how we live our life. We don’t want to teach people, we want to show them the pleasure of having good food and being in the sunshine and the dirt. We love to share that.”
Trosley Farm will not be participating in the farm tour this year, but you can still attend one of their workshops, as well as their cooking classes, farm dinners and farm store. For more information, visit trosleyfarm.com.
For more information on Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s High Country Farm Tour, visit farmtour.brwia.org. Check back later this week and next for more profiles from the High Country.