#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!
If heading out to an N.C. farm seems too overwhelming, why not bring an N.C. farm to you?! Sixth generation family farm, The Pint Sized Pasture in Sanford, has taken agritourism to a new level by offering their mobile petting farm and other “farm off the farm” services.
Growing up on a tobacco farm, Patrick Kelly swore he would never return to the family farm once he set off for college. However, life has a funny way of turning our nevers into forevers. “My partner Katelyn told me that she had always dreamed of having a little farm,” he said. “Living on our family farm it was hard to say no, so we started out with mini pigs and expanded.” Today, the Pint Sized Pasture is home to a variety of mini animals, including pigs, donkeys, horses, cows, goats and chickens.
Rather than simply raising farm animals, Patrick and Katelyn wanted a way to involve the community and embrace agritourism in a new way. “We wanted to still be able to have a steady revenue stream,” he said, “but also allow the community, and the state at large, to engage with the farm.” The Pint Sized Pasture offers agritourism events both on and off site. They host traditional farm tours throughout the year, both for private groups and classroom education purposes (ie: school groups). They also host volunteer days where kids and adults alike can come out to the farm and learn what agricultural life is all about. “People get to see the good, the bad and the ugly on these weekends as they basically help us take care of the animals and complete chores on the farm,” Patrick said. “It is a great way for people to experience the hard work that happens on farms across the state and gain appreciation for the work that we do.”
Another on-farm event that they host multiple times throughout the year is Farm Day. In fact, they have one coming up on April 2nd, so mark your calendars to attend! Farm Day is a crowd favorite in the community and features the adorable animals, inflatables, food trucks, outdoor yard games, a cow train, hayrides, tractors, music and more. The event costs $5 per person at the gate and lasts from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They also partner with Phillips Farm on many events throughout the year, including their annual fall festival.
If you can’t make time to visit the farm in Sanford, Patrick and Katelyn will bring the farm to you! Whether a birthday party, anniversary celebration, school event or Saturday afternoon, you can book the mobile petting farm to visit your area. Unless otherwise requested, a variety of each animal on the farm is brought to your event for entertainment. The mobile petting farm is $250 for the first hour and then $150 each additional hour. They will adapt the setup and animals to any party theme, including unicorns and western. “We love bringing the farm to people because it allows them to have fun and interact with the animals in an environment that is comfortable for them,” Katelyn said. The mobile petting farm will travel anywhere as long as travel fees are accommodated. So far, they have travelled to many areas of North Carolina, including the coast, Virginia and South Carolina.
Other events offered on the farm throughout the year include goat yoga, both on the farm and off-site, rent-a-bunny and llama grams for Valentines Day. “Most parents have heard their kid begging for an animal, promising to take care of it forever,” Katelyn said, “but once the animal has been at a home a couple of months, suddenly the responsibility falls permanently onto the parents.” The rent-a-bunny program allows families to take a pet rabbit home for one week and care for it. The Pint Sized Pasture provides all the needed materials, including food, treats, toys and a cage, for the families. “We also allow teachers to participate in the program, utilizing the bunnies as class pets,” Patrick said. “Our goal is to one day establish this with our incubators as well so that kids can raise the eggs in the classroom and watch them hatch.” Learn more about this program on their website to determine if it is a good fit for your home or school.
The Pint Sized pasture also participates in the Harvest Host Program, which allows individuals from all over the world to stay on the farm property in their personal RVs. “Through this program, we have met people from Canada, Wisconsin and other areas,” Patrick said. “I have loved being a member of the program not only because I got to meet these individuals and learn about their way of life, but I also get to educate them about our way of life at the farm and introduce them to the world of N.C. Agriculture.” Visit the Harvest Host website to learn more about this program, including how to become a member.
“Our farm is focused more on agritourism than anything else,” Kelly said. “We love educating people about the different animal breeds on the farm and how they help those across the industry each and every day.” By attending events on the farm or hiring the farm to come to you, a variety of lessons can be learned, including how to bottle feed calves, the purpose of each animal on the farm, how to raise farm animals and more. “We appreciate the support of the community around us and enjoy building relationships that last a lifetime,” Patrick said. “We are honored to be here and do what we do, so having the support of people around us through these agritourism events means more than we can possibly put into words.” Be sure to check their website and social media pages for the latest updates and events. Mark your calendar now for their next Farm Day on April 2nd and enjoy the fun memories to be made at The Pint Sized Pasture.