This week is National Travel and Tourism Week and a great time to highlight North Carolina’s agricultural tourism. The number of North Carolina farms welcoming visitors has skyrocketed in the last 10 years, increasing by 89 percent. Moreover, the diversity of agritourism-related activities has increased. There are still plenty of pick-your-own strawberry fields and corn mazes, but today’s farmers also are offering weekend farm stays, weaving workshops and even goat yoga to entice visitors to their farms.
North Carolina’s rich farm-to-table culture, bucolic beauty and growing craft distillery industry was recently a focus of the Visit NC’s First That Last campaign. Watch the video below to see Zac and Tomo from Queens visit North Carolina’s central region and experience N.C. agritourism at its best.
With summer vacation right around the corner, and with more than 1,000 agritourism farms in North Carolina, it is easy to incorporate on-farm activities into your summer vacation plans whether it’s a quick day trip or a week-long escape. “There is no better way to learn about our state’s $85 billion agriculture industry than by meeting the farm families that make it so great,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
Below is a selection of agritourism activities by region. For more farms and activities visit www.visitncfarms.com. Before visiting, guests are encouraged to contact the farm to confirm hours of operation and costs associated with specific events.
Western North Carolina
- Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk will host its Knitting with the Alpacas series on June 9, July 14 and Aug. 11. Visitors are encouraged to bring their knitting or crochet projects for a relaxing morning outdoors in the orchard with the farm’s alpacas and llamas.
- Catawba Farms Vineyard & Winery in Newton will host yoga and live music at the farm Saturdays through Oct. 27. Yoga sessions will be held at 11 a.m., and music will start mid-afternoon.
- Emerald Gate Farm in Waynesville will host an Open Farm Day on Sept. 15 starting at 4 p.m. The event features live music, a potluck, draft beers, fishing and dancing. Emerald Gate Farm also offers farm stays and ongoing personal tours of its one-man subsistence farming operation.
- High Mountain Meadows Farm & Creamery in Hayesville will host a farm party on June 9 from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors can hold baby goats, meet Henrietta the turkey and Sophie the donkey, and enjoy a farm dinner of locally grown foods. The farm also offers tours throughout the summer as well as cheesemaking classes in July and September. Call 828-506-5566 for more information.
- Lady Luck Flower Farm in Leicester grows more than three acres of flowers and medicinal herbs. The farm will offer workshops on cut flowers and floral design throughout the summer season. In addition, the farm will host a dinner party on June 23 to celebrate the grand opening of its event space.
- Old Suthern Soul Farm in Creston offers weekly farm suppers and a variety of events throughout the summer.
- Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery in Ronda is the only winery in the state that produces exclusively Italian varietals. The winery will host food trucks, live music and more this summer.
- Triple BBB Vineyard in Shelby offers pick-your-own muscadines starting in September.
Central North Carolina
- 1870 Farm in Chapel Hill offers summer camp programs for children ages 3-15. Other kid-friendly workshops are held throughout the year.
- Almond Farms in Albemarle will open its Christmas tree farm June 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a special event featuring blackberries and barbecue June 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests can pick their own organic blackberries and enjoy hickory-smoked barbecue.
- Clover Trails Farm in Yanceyville offers week-long summer day camp sessions from June 4 to Aug. 11. Children will have opportunities to explore the farm, visit with farm animals, and enjoy creek activities and hiking trails.
- Davis Boxwood and Daylily Nursery in Lowgap invites the public to visit and view more than 800 varieties of daylilies during peak bloom season, June 20-30.
- Denton FarmPark in Denton will offer several summer events including the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass Festival May 10-12 and the Southeast Old Threshers’ Reunion June 30-July 4. The FarmPark property is home to 15 restored buildings including a tramping barn, general store, grist mill and blacksmith shop. The park also has a full-size steam train that circles a 1.5 mile track.
- Fickle Creek Farm in Efland provides monthly farm tours of its livestock and vegetable operation on the first Sunday of the month at 1 p.m. The farm also operates a Farm Store, which is open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
- Gentle Harmony Farm in Lexington will host its Small-Scale Organic Medicinal Herb Farm Workshop June 1-3. The educational event is perfect for those who have been thinking about growing their own herbs to sale.
- Hickory Flat Farm in Denton is a beef cattle farm by day and a hootenanny-hosting dance hall by night. The farm will host the Down of the Farm Barn Dance May 12 and the Hickory Flat Hootenanny on June 2.
- Keats Point Farm in Manson offers cabin rentals and RV stays on the farm, which sits on Kerr Lake. Accommodations are available throughout the summer by the day or week.
- Merry Hill, a bicentennial farm in Mebane, will host a Mother’s Day Plant and Flower Sale May 11 and 12.
- Millstone Creek Orchards in Ramseur will have several special events throughout the summer growing season. Things kick off May 26-28 with the orchard’s 14th Birthday Bash. They will also host a Father’s Day weekend, June 16 and 17; Very Berry Celebration June 23, 24, 30 and July 1; Peach Days of Summer July 21, 22 , 28 and 29; and AppleFest 2018 Sept. 1-3.
- Old Mill Farm in Durham specializes in education and personal farm experiences for children of all ages, and will offer hands-on workshops and classes throughout the summer.
- Patterson Farm Market and Tours in Mount Ulla offers a variety of homegrown fruits and vegetables throughout the summer, and hosts birthday parties and summer camps. In addition, the fourth-generation farm will have Pappaw Carl’s Barnyard & Playground Experience Summer Fun this year with barnyard activities for children of all ages.
- Plum Granny Farm in King will co-host the Northern Triad Farm Tour on June 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. The free tour includes a variety of farms in Forsyth, Stokes and Surry counties.
- Sandy Creek Farm in Lexington will host its Bee Yard Day Educational on May 26 and a Blueberry Fest on June 30. In addition, the farm will offer you-pick blueberries and blackberries during the season.
- Thistledown Farm in Graham offers visitors the chance to pick their own flowers starting Memorial Day. The farm also sells a variety of grass-fed lamb, pastured chicken eggs and KuneKune pigs.
- Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly is celebrating its 35th year in 2018. Tour the 6,000-square-foot gallery, homestead, packhouse, blacksmith shop, one-room school house and tobacco barn. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. On the second Saturday of the month, the museum hosts its Stepping into the Past Series featuring heritage arts and crafts.
- Toms Creek Nursery and Landscaping in Denton will host Hydrangea Mania June 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free class will cover a variety of topics including soil types and preparation, pH levels, varieties of Hydrangea, environment and care, and proper pruning.