Rather than the crop-duster approach to farm tours — i.e., sprinkling in as many stops as possible in one weekend — the NC Foothills Farm Tour is trying a different approach this season, featuring two farms per month, a stop each in morning and afternoon, in agricultural Polk and Rutherford counties. Tickets for the July tour, which encompassed Looking Glass Creamery (a boutique cheese operation in Columbus) and C-Saw Hill in Rutherfordton (all-natural beef, pork, chicken, and honey), sold out quickly.
This month highlights two venues with a lot of four-legged attractions. Cherry Mountain Farm is home to a herd of Angora goats and other fiber animals, plus a bustling General Store specializing in vintage/industrial farmhouse decor. August’s second stop, New Beginnings Historic Farm, a heritage farmstead near Lake Lure, was brought back to life by John and Sheri Crenshaw. They’re known for keeping adorably shaggy Highland Cows. The Crenshaws also grow and sell lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, beans, muscadines, and other produce; sunflowers, dahlias, zinnias, and gladiolas; and eggs.
In its newest incarnation, the tour is managed jointly by Polk County Agricultural Economic Development Director Dawn Jordan, Rutherford Cooperative Extension Horticulture Agent Hannah Bundy, and Polk County Farm and Community Relations Specialist Erica Shanks. In a team quote, the trio says, ”One of our favorite aspects of visiting a farm is getting to spend some time with the farmers themselves, and really getting a close-up view of how their farm operations work. It’s all about the community connections we make.”
The NC Foothills Farm Tour happens Sunday, Aug. 15, with stops from 10am-12pm at Cherry Mountain Farm (3946 US 64, Rutherfordton) and from 2-4pm at New Beginnings Historic Farm (5370 US 64/74 A Hwy., Rutherfordton). $10 per person. To sign up, visit ncfoothillsfarmtour.com or see the tour’s Facebook page. Also see thegeneralstoreatcherrymountainfarm.com and newbeginningsfarms.com.