It’s that time again: Pack up your car with friends and family this Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, and head out on Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s annual Farm Tour, an opportunity to get up close and personal with more than 20 WNC farms and the farmers growing your food and fiber. But don’t just rely on your smartphone or GPS to get to the agriculture ventures you want to visit, stresses event coordinator Robin Lenner.
“Even after four years of planning the tour, I took a wrong turn last year!” she admits. Of course, she had her printed Farm Tour guide in hand (available at the ASAP office and various locations around town, as well as participating farms), so she was able to get back on course. Along with the guide, Lenner advises bringing a secondary non-tech navigation tool, since cell service can be spotty and devices themselves often get turned around on the tour’s rural roads. “It’s time to dust off those cobwebs on your maps and antiquated N.C. gazetteers,” she suggests with wry chuckle.
Lenner’s other insider tips? Seek out the farmers behind your favorite local products to learn much more about where your food comes from. And don’t forget to ask questions, not just about the products you know and buy but also growing tips to take home to your garden.
To launch this year’s event, tour sponsor Sierra Nevada Brewery will host Brews & Barns, a four-course, beer-paired, family-style dinner celebration using ingredients from tour farms — the brewery’s aim is to feature something from each of the 21 operations. Tickets are $100 per person, with proceeds going to ASAP. The dinner will be held Thursday, June 22, from 6 until 9:30 p.m. Farm tour passes are half off with a kickoff party ticket.