Support local farmers: Take the tour

Sep. 20, 2013 @ 05:08 PM

Where does your food come from? Do your kids know what an apple tree looks like? Have you ever seen a cow milked? And what goes into making a winery work?

This weekend provides two great opportunities to answer to those questions and gain a greater understanding of our local agricultural scene.
Person County is holding its second farm tour. Among the stops are Rock of Ages Winery, Abanitu Organics and Cross Creek Dairy. In addition to farms that specialize in produce, dairy, tobacco and beef, tour goers can visit farms with more untraditional fare, including ones that grow turf grass, flowers, firewood and buffalo. Along the tour, you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, farm-raised meats, flowers, hanging baskets, honey and more.
“This is a great opportunity for folks to see where and how their food is produced,” Kim Woods of the Person County Cooperative Extension Center told The Herald-Sun’s Laura Oleniacz. “Farmers are looking forward to talking to customers to show and explain what is involved in the production of various foods.”
It’s a great way to learn more about how food gets to our tables. And, particularly for families with kids, it’s a great way to expose children to how agriculture works and nature.
If you aren’t heading north to Person County on Saturday or Sunday, then consider heading to the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour, which has stops in Wake, Durham, Granville, Franklin and Chatham. You can pet livestock or talk to a chicken expert or on this tour.
Both farm tours showcase the breadth of agriculture in our area. And they may take you into beautiful areas you haven’t visited before.
Both tours have a wealth of information online about the farms being featured, as well as ticket information (farmtour.personcounty.net and http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org). It’s a great way to spend a weekend day, traveling at your own pace and picking the places that interest you most to visit.
Farming is an important part of our heritage that has seen significant changes.
American Farmland Trust reports that 91 percent of American’s fruit and 78 percent of vegetables are near metro regions, much like our farms here. The United States is losing an acre of farmland every minute. Supporting local farmers can help stem that tide.
We are, as we proclaim time and again, a foodie town, and have many loyal patrons at our farmers’ markets. But there is no substitute for taking time to visit farmers on the job and seeing what they do firsthand.