#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!
Knowing where we come from is just as important as knowing where we are headed. The Barn at Lloyd’s Dairy in Efland has deep roots in agriculture. For over 100 years, the Lloyd family has been farming on land that dates back through the Revolutionary War. “Our family started this farm in 1922 in Hillsborough and moved to Efland in 1929,” said current owner Ben Lloyd. “We started as a dairy farm, that at one time was one of the highest producing in the area, and then transferred to growing row crops and focusing on agritourism.” Today, the family continues to grow a few row crops, but is largely focused on agritourism and educating people about the importance of life on the farm.
About five years ago, Ben’s children started opening it up to the public through their on-site wedding venue. “We have a beautiful barn that was, at one time, used to milk over 200 head of cattle,” said Craig Lloyd, Ben’s son. “Its got a rustic country chic feel to it, as my sister likes to say.” In addition to the wedding venue, they host a variety of events throughout the year that cater to all ages of individuals, including the Tarheel Balloon Festival, Halloween Haunted Barn, Battle of the Blues Polo Match and the Tarheel Antique Festival. “Whether young or old, people enjoy coming to spend the day here at the farm and we do our best to give them the best experience possible,” Craig said. Although they don’t offer generalized farm tours on a regular basis, they are always willing to show people around who are interested and request it upon their visit.
In March of 2019, the family started hosting one of their favorite events on the farm, the Tarheel Antique Festival. “Mike and Frank from American Pickers had come out to the farm to do a show with us and that’s really where the idea came from,” said Craig. “We credit it to Mike even though he really suggested an Antique Festival in general conversation. We thought about it after they left and realized that it fit perfectly with what we are trying to offer to the public here and the rich ties to history and agriculture that we hold.”
The Taheel Antique Festival takes place twice each year, in March and October. This year it will take place March 25th and 26th. During the Festival, around 200 vendors from all across the country come together to sell and auction off antique items. “Don’t be mistaken either,” Ben said, “this isn’t a junk sale. We have quality antique items that have been well taken care of and are available for people to purchase and take home.” Items range from juke boxes to vintage signs and jewelry. It’s $5 admission to get into the festival for each day. Visitors can have items appraised on-site, participate in live auctions, tour the farm with Mr. Ben and more. “Dad has become Facebook famous around here and people love to come out and talk with him about our family history, how our ancestors were involved in the Revolutionary War right here on this property, tour the farm and learn about what we do in agriculture today,” Craig said. “He is turning 93 this year, so it’s amazing to hear his stories of growing up on the farm and see him still at it today.”
In addition to the Antique Festival, the polo match held each year at the farm is between Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill and offers a fun time for fans to come out and cheer on their team. The Halloween Haunted Barn, which takes place in October, involves several local charities and caters to any and all ages looking for a scary good time! The Lloyd family is also looking into offering a Christmas Festival later this year, so keep an eye on their social media pages and website for updates on that event.
“We enjoy educating everyone who comes out here on the importance of farm life and why we do what we do,” Craig said. With a farm that has been in operation for over 100 years and is a member of the NCDA&CS Century Farm Family Program, they certainly have a lot of knowledge and passion to share. “We are blessed to be where we are today and to be able to do it together as a family,” Ben said. “I love teaching people who visit about this way of life and, hopefully, instilling a passion in them for it. Agriculture is vital to our way of life and it is up to us to ensure the future of this industry stays bright.” Mark your calendars for the Tarheel Antique Festival coming up at Lloyd’s Dairy and be sure to ask for a farm tour with Mr. Ben on your visit. We are honored to have them as members of the Century Farm Family Program and thankful for their contributions to N.C. Agriculture through the years!