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Want to meet the farms participating in the 2024 Piedmont Farm Tour? 

There’s an incredible blend of farmers who produce food, flowers, and fibers across seven counties of the Piedmont region in North Carolina.

Check out the interactive Google Map or scroll to learn more about these farms and what you can expect to see on your visit.


MAP KEY

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WEST

Benevolence Farm
4265 Thompson Mill Rd, Graham, NC 27253
Farmer(s): Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum
For sale: body care and candle products infused with herbs and flowers grown on the farm
Benevolence Farm is where second chances grow naturally. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about how our non-profit utilizes permaculture and horticulture therapy to train and work alongside formerly incarcerated women as they return from prison. We will host activities that show visitors how we infuse oils from herbs and flowers in our value-added body care product line. Visitors are also welcome to bring food and picnic with us or walk our trail.
Kick-Off Farm
@benevolencefarm

Bountiful Acre
7034 Whitney Rd, Graham 27253
Farmer(s): Keith Shaljian & Kate DeMayo
For sale: cut flower bouquets, perennial plants, fruit trees and berry bushes
A side project of our edible landscaping cooperative, Bountiful Backyards, our 1-acre market garden is a dynamic blend of perennial and annual vegetable systems that complement and enhance each other, creating a polyculture of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruit at the homestead scale. Spring perennials and crops, honey bees, chickens, and orchard crops grow together in harmony with our CSA and customers to transform this land and work with our surrounding natural ecosystems and our agriculture community in Saxapahaw/Lower Alamance County. Come learn about our organic and regenerative methods, permaculture design strategies, and the possibilities that just one acre can hold! 
Kick-Off Farm, Meal/Snack Stop
@bountifulbackyards

Fireside Farm & Sawmill
5820 Lindley Mill Rd, Graham 27253
Farmer(s): Randall Williams and Lisa Joyner
For sale: unique local lumber, raised garden bed kits, and sawmill shirts & hats
Since 2011, Fireside Farm & Sawmill has been helping landowners turn their trees into barns, homes, and furniture. Visitors to the farm’s new sawmill facility in Saxapahaw will see two sawmills in action: one super-fast mill that produces 1000 board feet per hour and one that cuts 72” wide logs. Come explore the farm’s 10-acre sawmill to learn about healthy forest management, harvesting timber,  farmer-friendly wood markets, and how we’re diverting logs from the waste stream to become more affordable homes. Visitors will get to see one of the world’s largest production chainsaws! 
Kick-Off Farm
@firesidefarmnc @firesidesawmill

Full Plate Farm
4227 Bass Mountain Rd, Snow Camp 27349
Farmer(s): Matt Ballard
For sale: vegetable seedlings, produce
Full Plate Farm is a 2-acre vegetable and fruit farm using organic growing practices, such as low-till and hand-powered tools. Our market garden annual crops are mixed with perennial crops and flowering hedgerows for pollinators and wildlife habitats. A half-acre of blueberries, blackberries, and more fruits blends permaculture practices and broiler production into the operation. Visitors can join in on ongoing tours of the various parts of the farm enterprise.
@fullplatefarmnc

Haw River Mushrooms
Farmer(s): Ches & Laura Stewart, Annie Seifts
For sale: mushrooms, mushroom jerky, soft-serve ice cream from Ran Lew Dairy, mushroom merch & more
Come see the mushroom growing process up close, from sawdust to harvest at one of North Carolina’s largest mushroom farms. We’ll share how we’ve built our farm over the last 12 years and sample innovative mushroom dishes that reflect our mission to make mushroom nutrition more accessible to everyday eaters. Join us for a mushroom-tastic lunch on the farm featuring some of our award-winning dishes.
@hawrivermushrooms

CENTRAL

Faithfull Farms
1400 Ferguson Rd., Chapel Hill 27516
Farmer(s): Howard & Ronniqua Allen
For sale: seedlings and assorted vegetables
Faithfull Farms is a small-scale no-till market farm that grows year-round produce for local restaurants, grocers, and the Carrboro Farmers Market. Farmer Howard will give a walking tour of the property, or visitors can do a self-guided tour. There will be fresh produce and seedlings for sale. Visitors can relax under the pavilion. Bring lunch and have a picnic on the lawn.
@faithfullfarms

Fickle Creek Farm
11 Fickle Creek Crossing, Efland 27243
Farmer(s): Noah Ranells & Bryan Horton
For sale:
grass-finished beef & lamb, pasture & woodland-raised pork, chicken & eggs, beef snack sticks, bites, & jerky; never-sprayed vegetables
With sheep and lambs, cows and calves, pastured pigs, free range pastured chickens, egg mobiles, Great Pyrenees guard dogs, and hoop houses for produce, there is something for everyone at Fickle Creek Farm! Friendly farm staff will gladly assist you on the self-guided tour to see pastures, cover crops, and grazing animals and learn about regenerative & sustainable farming. Join us for music, tractor trikes, farm poetry, and farm-raised meats to eat under a large pole barn. Our farm store offers beef, pork, chicken, lamb, eggs, and veggies to take home. Español, Français, Hebrew, & Tagalog spoken here!
Special directions: Parking entrance for the tour is located under the Duke Power transmission lines just north of the farm drive. Please do not enter farm drive to keep the area safe for visitors.
KICKOFF FARM – SUNDAY ONLY
@ficklecreekfarm

Minka Farm
120 Minka Farm Ln., Efland 27243
Farmer(s): Brian & Kimberly Harry
Minka Farm is home to a wide range of livestock raised on pasture using high-welfare methods. We want to share farming experiences with you, from feeding animals and caring for baby goats and lambs to inspecting tractors, checking on the livestock guardian dogs and pigs, and exercising and grooming the horses. While not yet in fruit, you’re welcome to stroll through our orchard or walk along our hiking trail that varies from stands of old hardwoods to denser pines. The farm store will be stocked with high-welfare meats & eggs, pawpaw seedlings, and asparagus (while it lasts)! We’re also partnering with Burrito Bistro this year, featuring our farm’s ground beef in their beef offerings.
Kick-Off Farm, Meal/Snack Stop
@minkafam

PlowGirl Farm
9907 Leta Dr, Chapel Hill 27516
Farmer(s): Sally Jo Slusher
For sale: Mushroom logs, “grow your own” ginger pots, a variety of spring greens, craft beer, and cider brewed on the farm
Conveniently situated off Hwy 54, PlowGirl Farm is home to two acres of vegetable fields, honeybees, and Dingo Dog Brewery, a zero-waste nonprofit craft brewery whose proceeds benefit animal rescue.  Learn about the symbiotic relationship between a farmer and a brewer, see log-grown shiitake mushrooms, and explore fields of organic vegetables. You can also tour the brewery and sample or purchase craft beer and cider made with farm-grown ingredients! There will be culinary ginger pots and shiitake mushroom logs for sale so you can grow your own at home!

Rocky Run Farm
6519 Hebron Church Rd., Mebane 27302
Farmer(s): Isaiah, Whitney, and Wyatt Allen
For sale: pasture-raised chicken and lamb, flowers, and vegetable and herb transplants
Rocky Run Farm is a diversified produce and livestock farm with a one-acre intensive market garden and an orchard of perennial fruit trees, nuts, and berries. It’s home to pastured chickens, ducks, turkeys, and sheep that rotate through the pastures, providing weed and pest management and fertility to our soils. While here, you’ll see our passive solar propagation house, high tunnels where we grow produce and cut flowers year-round, our poultry processing area along with our vegetable wash/pack station and our impressively large compost pile made from wood chips from local arborists, manure, and restaurant food waste.
@rockyrunfarm

The Farm at Common Ground Ecovillage
1021 Frazier Rd, Mebane NC 27302 
Farmer(s): Doug Jones, Caleb Buchbinder, Lucas Babinec
For sale: Snap peas, strawberries, salad greens
Common Ground Ecovillage is an intentional agrarian community with an on-site working farm that includes pollinator habitat, extensive seed saving and plant breeding, and season extension techniques that provide a year-round supply of veggies to the farm’s CSA. Come learn about our transition to no-till soil management, and visit our shiitake mushroom operation, solar-powered irrigation well, worm composting beds, and cob and slip-straw buildings!
@common.ground.ecovillage

WildSide Farm
4001 Teer Rd., Chapel Hill 27516
Farmer(s): Walt and Debbie Tysinger
For sale: produce & vegetable starts
WildSide Farm is a new project that endeavors to convert what was once a conventional dairy into a biodiverse, regenerative farm located on 70 rolling acres just outside Chapel Hill. We strive to learn from and connect with the land, working towards rehabilitating soil fertility, restoring water health, and increasing habitat for wildlife while growing nutrient-dense food for our community. Come see the renovated dairy barn, greenhouses, and our thriving annual market garden from which we sell our veggies online and through our  CSA. Tour our newly planted berry patches, muscadine grape vineyard, chestnut orchard, and food forest. Bring a picnic, visit the pond, hike the trails, and enjoy the beautiful wide open spaces!
@wildsidefarmnc

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NORTH

Benor Farm
Benor Farm is no longer able to participate in the farm tour. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Boxcarr Farms & Boxcarr Handmade Cheese
2207 Carr Store Rd., Cedar Grove 27231
Austin Genke, Dani Copeland, & Samantha Genke
For sale: Handmade cheeses
Spend the afternoon meeting the Boxcarr Farms dairy goat herd and nibbling on award-winning cheeses made at our on-site creamery. We will have self-guided tours of our 30-acre farm and spacious milking parlor, with delicious foods to snack on. Spring kidding will be in full swing, and baby goats will love to meet you!
Kick-Off Farm, Meal/Snack Stop
@boxcarrfarms @boxcarrhandmadecheese

Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm & Botanist + Barrel
105 Persimmon Hill Ln, Cedar Grove, NC 27231
Farmer(s): Kether Smith, Deric McGuffey, Lyndon Smith, and Meagan Saunders
For sale: wine, cider, plants, Farm Pizza, BBQ, and a stocked farm stand
We are home to Botanist & Barrel Cidery and Winery, the first winery in Orange County and the South’s only natural cidery. Our focus is on preserving Southern heirloom apples and culture. Enjoy a stroll through Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm’s blueberry and apple orchard while learning about our organic fruit farming practices and the farm’s history. Following your orchard walk, head inside the cidery for a guided tour and tasting featuring cider and wine made with our fruit. Wrap up your visit with a hot pizza from our wood-fired oven, crafted with locally sourced ingredients from neighboring farms such as Nourishing Acres, Eden Meats, and Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, or opt for Whole Pit Traditional BBQ and sides by Chef Luis Martinez.
Kick-Off Farm, Meal/Snack Stop
@cedargroveblueberry   @cedargroveblueberryfarm
@botanistandbarrel

Ever Laughter Farm
2921 Open Ln., Hillsborough 27278
Farmer: Will Cramer
For sale: vegetables, herb starts, and native perennials
Ever Laughter Farm is a small market farm that raises produce, flowers, and plants with organic and sustainable practices. In spring, our main focus is on cut flowers and our plant nursery, though the field will be full of growing vegetables. On the tour, you can see the native pollinator plant garden that serves as a demonstration for nursery customers and diversifies the insect ecosystem on the working produce farm. The greenhouses will be full of ready-to-plant starts and pollinator plants, with plenty to take home for your gardens!
@everlaughterfarm @everlaughterfarm

One Soil Farm
1550 McDade Store Road, Cedar Grove 27231
Farmer(s): Meredith Cohen and Molly Zimmerman
For sale: vegetables, tomato plants, parsley plants (for Passover!), and One Soil merch
One Soil Farm is a farm for everyone, with the unique quality of being led by Jewish farmers and rooted in the local Jewish community. We deliver beautiful, sustainably grown vegetables to convenient locations in Durham, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough through our CSA program. All locations are open to everyone!  We are a truly community-based farm committed to building personal relationships, offering Jewish farming education, and connecting the Jewish community with our agricultural heritage and inherent connection to the earth. We are also committed to using organic farming practices that improve the land we grow on, including crop rotation, integrated pest management, and cover cropping. Saturday, we’ll be leading farm tours, and on Sunday, we’ll open our fresh veggie stand and plant sale (feat. tomato plants and parsley plants for Passover!).
@onesoilfarm

Open Door Farm
3116 Carr Store Rd., Cedar Grove 27231
Farmer(s): Jillian & Ross Mickens
For sale: fresh dahlias, tubers, and herb plants
Join us for a guided tour of the farm, where we specialize in organically grown produce and dahlias. Learn about our transition from four-season farming to fall and winter production, during which we focus on growing dahlias, storage vegetable crops and hardy winter produce and herbs. We will have dahlia tubers for sale and can answer all your questions about growing them at home. 
Kick-Off Farm
@opendoorfarm

Sankofa Farms
2916 J A Killough Dr, Cedar Grove 27231 
Farmer(s): Kamal Bell & Devyn Smith
For sale: Collard Greens, kale, chard, kale salad mix, celery.
Sankofa Farms is centered around solving issues involving food security for African Americans by offering an educational program for students through our agriculture academy. We also provide various educational opportunities for members of the community and a program called Bees In The TRAP, which allows participants to develop a unique relationship with honeybees. Visitors will hear the story of Sankofa, get a chance to tour our apiary, and get a peek into our caterpillar tunnels!
@sankofafarms

Stoney Mountain Farm
6559 Old Stoney Mountain Rd., Burlington 27215
Farmer(s):John & Olga Elder
For sale: a variety of sheep and wool products, including felting supplies, felted crafts, yarn, pasture-raised lamb, and beautiful sheep hides
Dating back to the late 1700s, Stoney Mountain Farm sits on 56 acres just off the beaten path in Burlington and is home to three unique breeds of endangered sheep raised for their wool. You’ll see young lambs alongside their mothers and get to meet our guard llamas! We’ll have a few outdoor activities for the little ones and plenty of tables and vistas to sit and take it all in. There will be guided walking farm tours on the hour where you can learn how we implement rotational grazing systems and land/water conservation along with our permaculture system. And for anyone interested, we’ll share what we’ve learned along the way pertinent to raising sheep! Our farm store will be open with our sheep-related products for sale. Drinks and snacks will also be available for purchase. 
Kick-Off Farm, Meal/Snack Stop
@stoneymtnfarm

Sunset Ridge Buffalo Farm
465 Yarbrough Rd., Roxboro 27574
Farmer(s): Jack & Sandy Pleasant
For sale: grass-fed bison steaks, ground meat, burgers, sausages, roasts, organs, snack sticks, and jerky
Sunset Ridge Buffalo Farm is an NC Bicentennial Farm, in operation since 1797, and currently raising grass-fed bison using rotational grazing, no-till pasture management, and soil conservation practices. While visiting the farm, join one of our narrated covered wagon tours through the bison fields, where you’ll see bison cows, calves, and bulls while we discuss handling, feeding, and behavior. Tours depart every 30 minutes beginning at noon! There will be a bison burger lunch sale on Saturday!
Kick-Off Farm, Meal/Snack Stop

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EAST

Bull City Farm
5315 Isham Chambers Rd., Rougemont 27572
Farmer(s): Samantha Gasson, Scott Stirrup & Kids
For sale: dog treats, pasture-raised pork, turkey, chicken & eggs
Bull City Farm is a pasture-based livestock operation in northern Durham Co., featuring chicks, lambs, cows, geese, and pigs. While on the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to walk our beautiful property, meet some of our friendly animals, and soak in your surroundings. We have some real characters on the farm, from Maisy the donkey to Doll Face and Blue, our pet pigs, to our ridiculous American buff geese.
Meal/Snack Stop
@bullcityfarm

Catawba Trail Farm
2080 Sawmill Creek Parkway, Durham 27712
Farmer(s): Delphine Sellars & Urban Community AgriNomics (UCAN)
For sale: eggs, vegetable plant seedlings, snow peas, spring onions & other early vegetable houseplants, outdoor plants
As one of the oldest farms in Durham County, there’s plenty to take in at Catawba Trail Farm. While visiting the reclaimed historic farmstead, visitors will see a mixture of old and new farm buildings, a large community garden, a high tunnel, a small fruit orchard, and the farm’s bees, ducks, and chickens. Visitors can walk on an original section of the Great Native American Trading Path and see the oldest marked gravesite in Durham County while learning about the farm’s history from the 1800s to the present day.
Kick-Off Farm
@urbancommunityagrinomics

Durham Public Schools Hub Farm – CANCELLED
The Durham Public Schools Hub Farm is no longer able to participate in the farm tour. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Elodie Farms
9522 Hampton Rd., Rougemont 27572
Farmer(s): Sandra Vergara & Ted Domville
For sale: ice cream (including dairy-free) and merchandise featuring our goats!
Elodie Farms is a 1914 former tobacco farm, home to a herd of mixed-breed goats, old and young, that browse happily on 17+ acres of pasture amidst hundred-year-old trees, old barns, and a natural lake. Our farm is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including migratory birds, turtles, and many other animals that are part of the normal ecology of our farm. We open our farm to agritourism activities throughout the year, including farm dinners, tours, and private events. Visitors can become part of the herd by joining the goats in the pasture, and if they feel like it, the goats may take folks on a short hike through the woods or around the lake!
@elodie_farms @elodiefarms

Wolfberry Hawthorn Farm
2503 Joyner Rd, Durham 27704
Farmer(s): Jason Bzdula
For sale: vegetable starts, culinary and medicinal herb starts, native flowers, herbs, grasses, ferns, shrubs & trees, house plants, gourd birdhouses, dried flower wreaths, shiitake mushroom logs
Our farm produces a wide variety of products on a small scale, making it an interesting example of what can be possible on less than 2 acres.  From growing microgreens to cut flowers, to both common and uncommon produce, to a nursery growing herbs, vegetables, and native plants, to workshops, gourd crafts, and experiments in pushing the boundaries of what can be grown here in central NC (this year’s experiments include Jicama and papayas!). Visitors will get to tour the various vegetable garden areas, plant nursery, greenhouse, high tunnels, orchard, herb, and native plant gardens. There’s even a possibility to spot local wildlife such as songbirds, turtles, and the geese that nest on the pond!
@wolfberryhawthornLLC

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SOUTH

Chatham Oaks Farm
573 Dewitt Smith Road, Pittsboro 27312
Farmer(s): Rachel Clark and Justin Clark
For sale: strawberries (depending on weather!)
Chatham Oaks Farm is located just 12 minutes from Pittsboro Center and offers a convenient rural retreat. The large gambrel-roof barn, accompanied by a sprawling white oak tree, offers a picturesque landscape for berry-picking (weather permitting) or even a picnic. As a small, family-owned, and operated strawberry farm, we open to the public every Spring during strawberry season for u-pick and pre-picked berries. During the tour, visitors will learn about the annual timeline for growing strawberries, have the opportunity to try our equipment (transplanter and picking assistant), and even pick their own berries (weather permitting!).
@chathamoaksfarm

Granite Springs Farm
265 Granite Springs Rd, Pittsboro 27312 
Farmer(s): Meredith Leight, Luis, and Allie Gochez
For sale: ginger plants, produce, microgreens, mushrooms, mushroom growing kits, seedlings
Granite Springs Farm is a diversified vegetable and mushroom farm ten minutes from downtown Pittsboro. Visiting our farm, you’ll see cover crops growing for soil fertility, mulch, and for use in our mushroom-growing substrate. Check out our mini round baler! While you’re here, tour our “Shroom Room,” where we’re growing oyster mushrooms in hanging bags, see our large red wiggler worm habitat, and try your hand at our antique seed-cleaning equipment. We’ll share progress on our plan to convert one of the farm’s five high tunnels into a geothermally heated and cooled subtropical paradise for fruit trees and plants! 
@gsfpbo

In Good Heart Farm
456 Friendly Pooch Ln, Pittsboro 27312
Farmer(s): Ben & Patricia Shields
For sale: fresh produce, seedlings, herbal healing salve, calendula skin serum
We are a 4-season market farm growing high-quality fruits & vegetables on 5 acres just west of Pittsboro. Come see our hillside terraced gardens, high tunnels, and orchard on the land of Bill Dow’s Ayrshire Farm fame! We utilize regenerative organic techniques with a focus on mineral balancing and ecological diversity to achieve healthy plants resistant to pests and disease. We will give guided tours at 2:30 and 4:30 daily to share our story, knowledge, and experience of chemical-free farming. Self-guided tours are also encouraged.
@ingoodheartfarm

Little Way Farm
5778 Siler City Snow Camp Rd., Siler City 27734
Farmer(s): Joe & Michelle Sroka
For sale: Grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured poultry, woodland-raised pork, pastured eggs, raw honey, cream-top dairy 
Little Way Farm is a small-scale family farm providing pasture-raised meats, eggs, dairy, and honey. We utilize regenerative, intensive rotational grazing practices that create partnerships among animals and steward healthy soil. When you visit our farm, you’ll see rotational grazing partnerships among grass-fed cows and pastured chickens and how woodland-raised hogs create a more beneficial habitat for plants and trees. Stop by our farm store and community hub to take home some of our farm’s offerings!
Meal/Snack Stop
@littlewayfarm

Screech Owl Greenhouses
6055 Lower Moncure Rd, Sanford 27330
Farmer(s): Screech (Ralph Sweger Jr.) and Cameo Strifler
For sale: Tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, and seedless thin-skinned cucumbers
At Screech Owl Greenhouses, visitors will get to learn about the variety of growing methods utilized in our greenhouses. We’ll be featuring our hydroponic system, a method not often used for commercial farming, as well as vertical growing. You also may find a critter or two as you explore, as we use beneficial insects in all of our greenhouses to grow produce that is insecticide-free!

Before the 2024 Piedmont Farm Tour kicks off this Earth Day Weekend, we’re excited to share the newcomers to this year’s farm tour!

We’re thrilled to welcome seven new farms to the tour this year. Within the mix, you can find community spaces, healing journeys, livestock from small to mighty, and growers committed to making their worlds better.

All photos submitted by the participating farms and used by CFSA with permission.

Bountiful Acre Market Garden | Saxapahaw | Keith Shalijan & Kate DeMayo

What to Expect: Bountiful Acre is a 1-acre market garden made up of a blend of perennial and annual vegetable systems. The theme here is symbiosis through and through. Each plant is incorporated into the homestead with the intent of enhancing and complementing the life that is already flourishing. Expect to see honey bees, chickens, orchard crops and spring annuals in full effect and to learn about how they work with the land and greater natural ecosystems. There will also be bouquets and plant starts aplenty for you to take home and green up your own place!


Favorite Spot: “Our favorite spot in the garden is probably our mini-orchard where we have 15 slowly but steadily maturing apple trees, cherries, and plums planted within a beautiful stand of white Dutch clover and orchard grass. Directly down the hill is our 1/3 acre pond which attracts many waterfowl, turtles, and a symphony of various frogs as well as providing our garden with irrigation, and directly behind this area are our two new beehives that we are so excited about! From this spot, we can also overlook the entire garden with all of its diversity of vegetables, flowers and cover crops growing and the many birds and beneficial insects flying through the garden at at all times throughout the year.” – Keith and Kate

Chatham Oaks Farm | Pittsboro | Rachel & Justin Clark

What to Expect: Chatham Oaks Farm is a serene, rural retreat located in Southwest Chatham County. Complete with a gambrel-roof barn, sprawling white oak tree, and picturesque berry fields, Justin and Rachel offer a lovely landscape for picnics, and family photos. In addition to featuring some local snacks, Chatham Oaks will also be opening their you-pick strawberry patch for the spring season. Upon joining their tour, expect to learn about what it takes to run a strawberry farm, have a go at using some of the farm equipment, and- weather permitting- even pick your own strawberries!


Favorite Spot: “Our favorite spot on our farm in the shade under the grand white oak tree in front of our gambrel roof barn. This spot is what drew us to the property to begin with and it remains our family’s favorite place for playing, having a picnic or jumping in giant leaf piles in the fall.” – Rachel & Justin Clark

Fireside Farm & Sawmill | Saxapahaw | Lisa Joyner & Randall Williams

What to Expect: Fireside Farm & Sawmill is an often unexplored realm of agriculture that Randall is excited to share with the Triangle and beyond. Since 2011, they’ve been helping landowners turn their trees into barns, homes, and furniture with their mobile sawmill and at their newly established permanent facility. Visitors will get to see two sawmills in action: one super-fast mill that produces 1000 board feet per hour and one that cuts 72” wide logs. Expect to learn all about healthy forest management, harvesting timber, farmer-friendly wood markets, and one of the world’s largest production chainsaws. You’ll even have the opportunity to buy some unique local lumber and raised garden bed kits, so make room in your trunk!


Favorite Spot: “My favorite spot at the new sawmill facility is standing beside an old-growth log. I get a lot of logs from 100+ year old trees that have died from natural causes, and my clients want to honor the tree in some way. So, when you make the first cut, you’re opening up the tree’s story– the rings tell about its growth rate and its adversities. I find evidence of people’s interaction with the tree over a century– electrical conduit, eyehooks for laundry lines, bullets from the Civil War.” – Randall Williams

Full Plate Farm |  Snow Camp | Matt Ballard

What to Expect: Full Plate Farm is the place to be if you hold an interest in doing things the collaborative way. In addition to being a regenerative produce farm with all the fixings- a variety of annual market crops, newly established blueberry and blackberry beds, and integrated pollinator hedgerows- Matt is going above and beyond to work with his fellow farmers to build a tool share library and foster equity of crop revenue. While touring with Matt, expect to learn about these explorations in addition to how he’s farming with both ecological benefits and human efficiency in mind.


Favorite Spot: “One of my favorite spots on our farm recently, during winter and spring, has been overlooking the main annual crop field toward the western sky during “golden hour”… when the sun’s indirect, fading light seems to make its last effort and shines through each leaf with such brilliance… And then within an hour, the dim light scatters and everything becomes a silhouette, especially the defoliated, hardwood trees in the backdrop. As the sunlight grows each day past the winter solstice, there’s a sense of disappointment on farm tasks left undone but also the anticipation of longer light to bask in.”

One Soil Farm | Cedar Grove | Meredith Cohen & Molly Zimmerman

What to Expect: One Soil Farm is a small-scale Jewish farm with a mission to provide the Jewish community (and everyone!) of the Triangle with local, sustainably grown vegetables through CSA programs. Beth El Synagogue, the Jewish Community Center, and Kehillah Synagogue are all part of One Soil’s CSA program to help carry out their mission. Expect to learn about their strong commitment to building personal relationships, offering Jewish education, and connecting the Jewish community with their agricultural heritage and deep rooted connection to the earth. Saturday will be fully dedicated to farm tours, and on Sunday, they’ll be opening up their fresh veggie stand and plant sale (featuring tomato and parsley plants just in time for Passover)! And if you still want to know more, One Soil Farm still has spaces left in their 2024 CSA, starting April 17 – check it out here!


Favorite Spot: “My favorite spot on the farm right now is what we like to call our “backyard” – a cute little area behind the greenhouse where we have our rain garden, our new blueberry patch, picnic tables and umbrellas, and some raised beds where we grow flowers and fun experimental plants for chefs and visitors! It’s so fun to have a place on the farm that’s not in larger scale production, that we can just make beautiful and relaxing for ourselves and for guests. It’s a great spot for a picnic or a cute family photo shoot at the farm!” – Meredith

Screech Owl Greenhouses | Sanford | Ralph “Screech” Sweger, Jr. & Cameo Strifler

What to Expect: Screech Owl Greenhouses is a prime example of farmer innovation and resourcefulness. From the use of hydroponic systems to beneficial insects for pest control, expect to see and hear about a wide variety of growing methods not often used for commercial farming. While touring with Cameo or Screech, you’ll get to witness the great potential that just a few greenhouses can possess and the incredibly tasty crops that they produce. If you’re lucky, you might even glimpse one of the several fur babies that call this place home.


Favorite Spot: “My favorite spot on the farm is the cool bot at the end of the day… I think the best place to take a selfie is in the lettuce house with the rainbow of lettuces. ”

– Screech & Cameo

Wolfberry Hawthorn Farm | Durham | Jason Bzdula

What to Expect: Wolfberry Hawthorn Farm is a produce operation growing a wide variety of herbs, vegetables, flowers, house plants, and more, all on less than two acres! Always trying to think outside the box, Jason is a dedicated experimental grower who is always finding new ways to push the boundaries of can be grown in central NC. Not only can visitors expect to learn about this year’s round of crop trials- including Jicama and papayas- but they can also explore the plant nursery, greenhouse, orchard, and herb & native plant gardens. There’s even a possibility to spot local wildlife such as songbirds, turtles, and the geese that nest on the pond!


Favorite Spot:  “[The pergola] is an area on the farm that might be great for people to sit for a bit and relax or take pictures… with a brick patio and some seating surrounded by a variety of fruiting shrubs and various herbs and flowers.” – Jason

Check out the other farms on the 2024 tour, where you can meet the whole list of farms participating and see where everyone is on the map!

 

 

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by Angie Lavezzo, CFSA Communications Coordinator | Thursday, April 14, 2022 –

There are many good reasons to encourage pollinators on our farms and gardens. Without stewarding pollinators and insects as a whole, we cannot truly participate in a sustainable growing system. Supporting pollinators is the very definition of a mutually beneficial relationship. We help them survive, and they help increase our crop yields due to their handy pollination. Without them, our jobs would be a lot more difficult.

To attract and keep pollinators in our environment, we need to provide three basic needs: food in the form of plants, a place to raise their young, and a water source to sustain them. Encouraging pollinators gives us more than just added beauty. Who doesn’t love watching a butterfly flit from bloom to bloom?

Inspired by the 25th anniversary of the Piedmont Farm Tour, which happens annually during Earth Day weekend, we’ve compiled a list of 25 ways to help our pollinator friends survive and thrive.

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by Ashley See, CFSA Communications Coordinator | Friday, Apr. 5, 2019 – 

With three weeks until the 2019 Piedmont Farm Tour kicks off, we want to highlight as many of our 40+ sustainable farms as possible.

As an annual event – 24 years and running! – our number of participating farms ebbs and flows with the seasons. With life changes, attending market, or crop shifting, farmers are constantly balancing many factors in order to open their barn doors to the public each April.

This year, we’re thrilled to welcome six new farms–two are dairies, four are certified organic, one is an incubator/training farm, and one has a cidery!

As folks buy passes and plan their tour stops, we want to introduce these new farms to help you know all the options.

 

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by Cindy Flowers, CFSA Intern

Bronwyn, Holland and Bobby Tucker. Photo by Bronwyn Tucker.

Bronwyn, Holland and Bobby Tucker. Photo by Bronwyn Tucker.

 

The Farm in Silk Hope

From the road at Okfuskee Farm, you see a modest farm house, a packing shed, a double green house, a freshly planted shade house and grass growing across gradually terraced fields dotted with young trees. What you may not see, at least not from a passing glance, are the animals Okfuskee Farms is known for–their sheep and pigs.

You’ll have to spot them among the dense grass, where young farmers, Bobby and Bronwyn Tucker have put them out to graze intensively, methodically moving them around the property. The Tuckers see the livestock and the crops at Ofkuskee as tools in the farm’s holistic soil management plan, and, second to that, as part of the farm’s offerings.

This was not always the case. Bobby started farming this 20-acre plot of land in 2008 using permaculture and sustainable practices to raise mostly pigs and market crops. Even though he was using sustainable farming techniques, the long, hard hours had Bobby close to a burnout when Bronwyn came into the picture. She brought the idea that their quality of life should be part of Ofuskee’s well-defined farm vision even if maxium output was not achieved. These days Bobby and Bronwyn focus more on producing lamb and less on growing crops which gives them a better work life balance.

“Being a happy, financially solvent family farm seems like a great mission,” she adds.

Photo by Cindy Flowers

Photo by Cindy Flowers

 

 

Okfusksee Farm’s Holistic Management as Innovation

Holistic Management is not a new concept but, as Bronwyn explains, it has become the “planning and decision making framework that guides both our farm and personal lives.” Their holistic plan has helped “simplify and connect major ecosystem processes with the tools of grazing, animal impact, rest and human creativity, all while minimizing the use of technology.”

Okfuskee Farm pasture. Photo by Cindy Flowers.

Okfuskee Farm pasture. Photo by Cindy Flowers.

Today, the farm implements simple, low-impact technology: specialty hand tools for digging, pruning and grafting; no-till planters; a wood chipper; a flail mower; portable electric fencing; and GIS and CAD for planning and designing grazing and planting patterns and well as computer based record keeping.

Bobby and Bronwyn think about farming at Okfuskee farms as “building an ecosystem above and below the soil.”  “In our climate,” the Tuckers explain, “we can often get away with a ‘less is more’ approach to land management.”

As a part of their Holistic Management plan, the farm boasts native fruit and nut trees, planted alongside berries, and standing over lower-lying native plants like yarrow and dandelion, chosen for their climate-specific hardiness and planted with the curve of the land in a Keyline design to optimize water retention. The over 400 woody plants have been selected based on what would be optimal for the soil and climate.

“Holistic management helps us effectively make decisions as a family across the spectrum of social, environmental and financial perspectives,“ said Bobby.

Photos by Cindy Flowers.

Photos by Cindy Flowers.

Some of these plants aren’t for the market either, but grown for the livestock to graze. The rest, especially the onions and greens grown year around in the greenhouse, are for the market.

Farmer as Activist for Small Farms

Okfuskee Farm has been lucky to take advantage of government grant programs, like the New/Beginning Farmer Cost Sharing grant through NRCS’s EQIP program to install a solar well and water distribution system. This system allowed the farm to optimize livestock and crop rotation, capitalizing on their Holistic Management plan with a deep focus on efficiency and conservation. “The payback from this investment is immeasurable.”

Because of his experiences as a new farmer, including his experience with government grant programs, Bobby participated alongside 30 other farmers in a “fly in” trip to DC to lobby on behalf of small-scale farmers. Bobby said he “was able to personally attest to the first-hand benefits provided to our farm through programs supported in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (CFSA is a partner) bills as well as discuss the challenges faced as a new farmer.”

The trip was sponsored by NSAC with travel assistance from the policy wing of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Bobby advocated for the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act.

Bobby positively recalls his experience meeting with Representatives, and now focuses his activism toward the local level of government. He is pursuing a Holistic Management Certificate in hopes that he and Bronwyn can consult beginning farmers on land, soil and water management. “We want to pioneer new ideas for both preserving and helping to improve the viability of farms in our community.”

Where can you find Okfuskee Farm Products?

Okfuskee Farms participates in a multi-farm CSA, sells their produce to Terrastay, a local farm aggregator, and sells their meat directly to Rose’s Meat Market, Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe and Sethi’s Restaurant. Okfuskee Farms also hopes to supply lamb to First Hand Foods, a North Carolina pasture-raised meat distributor, in the coming season.

What will you see on the tour?

Photos by Cindy Flowers.

Photos by Cindy Flowers.

Follow @OkfuskeeFarm on Instagram and Facebook for an exclusive preview since this is the farm’s maiden year on the Piedmont Farm Tour, April 22-23 from 2-6PM. The farm has a walkable gravel drive that makes for easy viewing of all the farm has to offer, including:

  • An active double green house with rain water retention system,

  • A newly planted shade house,

  • Momma pigs and piglets (yes, PIGLETS!),

  • Holistic farm tools like a no-till planter, prepping roller and a three point hitch wood chipper that is used for agroforestry management and mushroom production,

  • An old Ford Tractor,

  • Water retention pond,

  • Solar panels,

  • And more!

Make sure to look down at the grass! You won’t see any sheep here. The sheep grow on a neighboring 20-acre pasture and are finished on the farm’s fields. The first round of sheep will move onto the farm’s fields in the summer.

Okfuskee Farms is one of 7 new farms on the 2017 Piedmont Farm Tour. The 2017 #Piedmontfarmtour is April 22-23 from 2-6pm, advance tickets are $30 per car for all farms, all weekend; day of registration is $35. Click here to see the full brochure.

Cindy Flowers, former Marketing Director at Deep Roots Market in Greensboro, is a graduate student in the NC A&T School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and intern for the 22nd Annual Piedmont Farm Tour. She has a certificate in Sustainable Livestock Management from CCCC and is a long time advocate for sustainable farming, small producers and North Carolina’s local foods system.

by Laura Fieselman, Writer and Folklorist

Cates Corner Farm

Photo: https://catescornerfarm.com/about/

“We really believe in good food.” That’s Jonathan Ray of Cates Corner Farm on why he and his family choose small-scale sustainable agriculture. “And we’ve got a strong attachment to the land, I reckon,” he says.

 

Together with his wife, Audrey, Jonathan is reviving his family’s historic farm in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Under Jonathan and Audrey’s direction, Cates Corner Farm grows over 40 varieties of fresh produce for sale at an on-site farm stand, at the Carrboro and Southern Village Farmers’ Markets, via a Community Supported Agriculture program, and at Weaver Street Market.

 

Farms sales grew organically out of Jonathan’s return to the farm in 2009. “I had a feeling I wanted to do some farming,” he says, “but I didn’t think it would turn into a full-time thing.” It began with a small garden while Jonathan was working as a stone mason, and in short order Jonathan had excess produce on his hands. The Rays started selling the produce and slowly scaling up their operation. In 2015, things changed: “I put down the trowel and picked up the shovel and the pitchfork,” says Jonathan of his commitment to farm full-time.

 

Cates Corner Farm barns

Photo by Jonathan Ray

Life on the farm is not new to Jonathan. He grew up on this land, and tells stories about tumbling out of the school bus and in to the barns. Fishing in the farm ponds is a favorite memory of time with his father, and time in the dairy with his mother, Betty Cates Ray, is another. “She had me sitting in the corner watching her milk,” Jonathan says, describing his after-school hours.

 

Cates Corner Farm traces its history through Jonathan and his mother to his grandfather, John Cates, who operated the farm as a dairy. John Cates was married to Ada Long, the youngest daughter of James Daniel Long. The Longs were part of the long family line that farmed this land at the corner of Arthur Minnis Road and Union Grove Church Road in southern Orange County. Their story goes back to an 18th century land grant from the King of England; read the full family history here.  The North Carolina Department of Agriculture has recognized Cates Corner as a NC Century Farm, positioning it as one of 1800 farms in the state with 100+ years of continuous ownership.

 

Cates Corner Farm historyJonathan and Audrey are the eighth generation to work this land, and though farming runs deep in their family, success in the 21st century doesn’t come easily. The hardest part of farming these days, reports Jonathan, is keeping up with technology. “I’d rather have my hands in the dirt,” he says of the digital communication that pulls him away from time on the land. But the family is committed to keeping up with technology; Jonathan takes photos during day on the farm and Audrey (who works as a dental hygienist by day) scrolls through them in the evenings, picking her favorites for the farm’s beautiful Instagram feed, @cates_corner_farm. It’s a popular feed, and the couple appreciates that their social media channels enable customers to feel connected to the farm.

 

Coming soon to Cates Corner Farm is a series of new additions. The couples’ five-year expansion plan includes an acre or two of pick-your-own blueberries, plus livestock and poultry. Infrastructure developments will include a high-tunnel and a walk-in cooler; in combination the tunnel and cooler will diversify the farm’s options for growing and harvesting produce. And the most exciting addition of all? The beginning of the ninth generation of this family farm – Jonathan and Audrey are expecting a little girl this summer!

 

Find Cates Corner Farm on the 2016 Piedmont Farm Tour. Cates Corner is one of three outstanding farms on the Piedmont Farm Tour Adventure Trail 6. The 2016 #PiedmontFarmTour is April 23-24 from 2-6pm, advance tickets are $30 per car for all farms, all weekend; day of registration is $35; discounts for CFSA members. Jonathan is busy sprucing up the farm for the tour now: “It’s not going to look perfect,” he says, “But heck, it’s a farm none-the-less!”

by Stephanie Campbell, CFSA Outreach Coordinator | Apr. 7, 2015 – 

The first Piedmont Farm Tour, 1996

The first Piedmont Farm Tour in 1996

Twenty years ago, Betsy Hitt of Peregrine Farm in Graham, North Carolina, had an idea that continues to bear fruit today.

She had heard about an open studio artist tour and thought a farm tour would be a great fundraiser for CFSA. After the very first CFSA Fundraising Committee meeting, Betsy walked across the street to ask Linda Fullwood if Weaver Street Market, a cooperative grocery store in Carrboro, NC, would co-sponsor the farm tour. With Linda’s enthusiastic “yes!” Weaver Street was on board as a partner, and the Piedmont Farm Tour was born.

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