Have yourself a local food and farm adventure

It’s not all about pumpkins and chickens. Family farms, like Flying Cloud (pictured here) often showcase other goods, like local cheeses, honey and flowers.

Western North Carolina is full of talented farmers, artisan food producers and wine makers. You might even go so far as to call WNC “America’s Tuscany” — the perfect place for a food-and-farm adventure. Let the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project be your virtual travel agency, guiding you to the freshest tomatoes, the most scenic apple orchards — all of the things that make this region stand out as a certifiable food destination.

ASAP’s brand-spanking-new Trip Planner, the newest component of the online Local Food Guide, is like a treasure map of food. It provides a comprehensive directory of area family farms, farm stores and stands, tailgate markets, wineries, grocers, restaurants, caterers, bakers, B&Bs and other places that supply local food.

With the Trip Planner, you can easily find food and farm destinations, map them and plan a trip. Here’s how it works: Select a start and end point, check the destinations you want to find — and even the products you’re looking for — and choose a few that pique your interest. From there, the planner will map your selected route and provide all the directions needed to take you on your journey. Now that’s agritourism done right.

Staying at the Grove Park Inn? For lunch, enjoy a trout dish from one of the inn’s restaurants, then map a trip to Sunburst Trout Farms in Canton to meet the farmers who raised that trout and see the pristine streams in which they swim. Sunburst’s onsite farm-store is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. If you’re visiting on a Tuesday, stop by the West Asheville Tailgate Market or Wednesday Co-op Market on your way back to the hotel to mingle with the locals and find the perfect afternoon snack.

Get up with the sun and map a scenic drive out to East Fork Farm in Madison County. You’ll see sheep grazing in pastures, hens and more. Then, take an eating tour of downtown Asheville restaurants featuring East Fork’s products: Zambra, Laurey’s Catering, Jack of the Wood, Bouchon, Early Girl Eatery and The Market Place — to name a few.

In the spring and summer, snag a sweet strawberry or blackberry chocolate from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge and then map a drive to McConnell Farms in Hendersonville. Take a tour and keep your sweet theme going by enjoying ice cream and lots of other goodies from their farm store. Take Charlotte Highway through Fairview on your way home, and pass by the fields of vegetables and beautiful flowers growing at Flying Cloud Farm.

You can also use the planner to help you map your personal journey for ASAP’s Family Farm Tour. For one weekend every summer, the gates and barns of more than 40 WNC farms are open to the public — even those farms that don’t normally allow visitors.

The self-guided driving tour is your chance to learn how food grows, taste farm-fresh treats, interact with farm animals and meet the community’s food producers. Pack your car with your family or a group of friends, grab a tour guide and set off to celebrate the region’s agricultural heritage and enjoy our beautiful rural landscape.

Farms part of the trip planner allow visitors, but always call ahead, as they are working farms and will need to schedule accordingly.

For more information, visit asapconnections.org/thefamilyfarmtour.html or call 236-1282.

2011 Family Farm Tour Details
 June 25 and 26, from 1 until 6 p.m. each day
Where: 41 farms across WNC, with 18 new farm stops
How: One button admits a whole carload. Pack your car with a group of friends or family members; the more people in your vehicle, the better the deal! Buttons are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event. Pick up a 2011 Family Farm Tour Guide at area groceries and other businesses for a map, tour tips and other details — and be on the lookout for tour signs as you travel to guide you to your destinations.

— Maggie Cramer is the communications coordinator at ASAP. Contact her at maggie@asapconnections.org.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Webmaster
Mountain Xpress Webmaster Follow me @MXWebTeam

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.