#EscapeWithNCAg is a year-long series that will focus on agritourism across North Carolina. Many farms, wineries and other agricultural businesses in our state offer events such as tours, yoga, educational classes, pick-your-own events and festivals, to entertain the public and teach them about our state’s number one industry. Each Thursday, we will feature a new site for you to visit with friends or family. Stay tuned and learn how to escape the stresses of life by diving into agriculture!
Nestled in the heart of Rutherford County, just 50 minutes shy of Asheville, lays a farm full of adorable, fun and friendly animals. Cherry Mountain Farm and General Store is home to 19 goats, two kunekune pigs and two livestock dogs, all of whom are ready to welcome you and your family with lots of sniffs, nibbles and licks!
In 2015, owner and operator Debbi Stanfield, along with her husband Craig, opened up the farm to the public for year-round tours. All you have to do is call, text or email to book a reservation! “These tours are a combination of fun and education,” Debbi said, “but kids and adults alike love them because everyone gets to meet the farm animals and learn about their purpose here at Cherry Mountain Farm.”
Angora goats are well-known for their mohair that is commonly used to make clothing items, like socks. After taking a class where she learned to spin fiber, Debbi fell in love with these animals and uses them today during the farm tours to teach the public about shearing, spinning and how mohair is used to make socks, hats and other items. She also shows examples of the different stages of production. “Our goats are sheared twice a year and typically we open up the farm to the public for our annual ‘Help Clean Fiber Day’ when they can learn how to clean the goat hair that will be used in our products,” she said.
The typical farm tour lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour and consists of a variety of activities, including feeding and brushing the animals. Afterward, customers are invited to visit the farm-store on site where socks and yarn from Cherry Mountain Farm are sold, as well as products from other farmers and artisans in the area, and the ever-popular, Case Knives. The general store is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. For small groups, farm tours are $5 per person and they also accommodate school groups as well.
The farm also offers 3-night to 3-week stays for individuals wishing to delve a little more into the agricultural escape. “We have a beautiful guest house on-site where families or friend groups can stay and enjoy the farm for a few days,” Debbi said. “We have many people who come to stay and actually help us around the farm during their time here. I have a little girl who stays each year with her parents, and she loves to help me feed the animals in the evening. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the world of agriculture for a few days and truly learn the process behind it.” The guest house is dog-friendly for any four-legged family members, sleeps five and includes a personalized farm tour for the group. The house can be booked online at their website or by contacting Debbi directly.
The farm is currently working on developing self-guided tours for people who happen to stop by and visit the farm without making a reservation. “Anyone who stops by can walk around and look at the animals, but they can’t go in the pens or anything without me,” Debbi said. “However, we are currently working on signs and other objects to engage those individuals and teach them about the animals even if they are not on a tour.”
Coming from a life in the city and falling into a retirement career that she never knew she could love so much, Debbi’s favorite part of it all is meeting the people that come out to the farm and seeing them learn about a life immersed in agriculture. “Seeing a child who has never visited a farm suddenly warm up to the pigs or the goats and ask questions about them is extremely rewarding,” she said. “I love being able to share what has become my biggest passion in life with others.” The farm pigs Frick and Frack are waiting for you, so call and book your reservation for a farm tour today!