#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!
As a little girl, Christina Gordon fell in love with dairy goats on her great aunt and uncle’s farm in Georgia. “The goat seed got planted in me at a young age and, from that moment, I knew that agriculture and farming was the path for me,” she said. Today, Christina and her husband Bill are the owners of Fun Frolic Farm in Burnsville where they not only raise dairy goats, chickens, and pigs, but offer a variety of workshops and farm tours throughout the year to get the public involved with life on the farm.
Fun Frolic Farm was started in 2014 with two dairy goats but has been constantly growing ever since. “Right now we have six dairy goats on the property and we are normally milking anywhere from 3 to 5 at the time, but the number is always fluctuating,” Christina said. “We also have laying hens, two pigs, barn cats and farm dogs.” One year after the opening of the farm, Christina started inviting people onto the property through hide-tanning workshops. “Hide-tanning is an Appalachian and Native American tradition that is sadly dying out,” she said. “I learned how to do it as a teen and have been teaching workshops ever since to get other people involved. I’ve tanned over 300 hides personally since I began tanning twenty years ago, and have taught this process to over 150 people directly.” The hide-tanning workshop is a three-day long process where participants create a beautiful hair-off buckskin leather. The workshop costs $400 per person, with a discounted rate or no charge for indigenous people or people of color, and takes place seasonally throughout the year. “Anyone regardless of race or ethnicity is welcome to contact us about discounts,” Christina said. “We want this knowledge to be accessible to everyone.” Learn more and sign up today on their website at www.funfrolicfarm.com. In addition to hide-tanning, Christina offers farm tours, soap and salve making classes and a cheese making workshop for interested individuals.
Farm tours kick off in early spring at Fun Frolic Farm with baby goats! “Our goats start making their arrival around late February or early March each year,” Christina said, “so, the first farm tour that we offer, or Baby Goat Play Dates, is for people to come and experience our baby goats and spend time with them. They love to be fed treats and loved on.” Directly following the Goat Playdates are the Goats and Gardens farm tours that are held from late spring to late August each year. These farm tours features a variety of activities from feeding and socializing with the farm goats to learning about wild and native plants on the farm. “I work very hard to tailor our tours to the interests of the group,” Christina said. “I start by asking what people are most interested in learning and seeing on the farm that day and then we go from there. This makes the experience more interesting and unique to each group.” Farm tours typically cost $25-45 per person and last anywhere from one to two hours. Group size normally ranges from two to six people based on interest and availability. Farm tours can be reserved on the website!
Fun Frolic Farm also partners with their local community college, Mayland Community College, to host goat soap and salve making workshops as well as mozzarella cheese making workshops throughout the year. “My workshops are also referred to as brain dumps, because I teach people everything I possibly can in the slotted amount of time,” Christina said. There are two cheese-making workshops available, one that serves as an intro to cheese making and the other that is done the traditional cultured way. The intro or Easy Cheese Workshop lasts about four hours and results in delicious cheese for making pizza. The Cultured Mozzarella workshop lasts for seven hours and explores more of the in-depth process that Christina and her team use at Fun Frolic Farm. It also results in a delicious product for people to take home and enjoy.
The Soap and Salve workshop is an outdoor class that lasts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The day starts by making soap out of goat’s milk and, while you wait on that to finish, blossoms into a plant hunt and harvest to make a healing salve. “We learn all about the plants that are grown here around the farm, both wild and domestic,” Christina said. “We then harvest those plants and teach people how to use them in making a healing salve.” The next Soap and Salve making workshop will be held on June 10th. Space can be reserved for you and your family on the Fun Frolic Farm website under the Learning tab, or on the Mayland Community College website.
In addition to owning and operating Fun Frolic Farm, Christina is also the President of her local farmers market, Yancey County Farmers Market. This year they began offering scholarships for youth in FFA to help them pursue a career in agriculture. “We are very passionate about ensuring that the next generation for our industry is educated and set up in a way to succeed,” she said. “In fact, that’s one of my favorite parts of offering tours on the farm. I love being able to share my experience and my knowledge with other people because knowledge is more valuable when it is shared.” Products from Fun Frolic Farm can be found at Fun Frolic Farm’s vendor booth at the market.
Attending events at Fun Frolic Farm will not only open a window to the fun world of agriculture, but will also educate on many aspects of farming and involvement in the agriculture industry, including homesteading skills, plant harvest, animal husbandry and how to raise livestock. “I actively try to build relationships with the people who come and visit the farm because I want them to know that we are people they can come to with questions about growing their own food or raising their own animals,” Christina said. “I let them ask questions and educate them on the hard work that goes into this lifestyle. You must have a passion for it to do it correctly, but it’s so rewarding in the end, and we need people to step up and take the mantle when the time is right.” Visit Fun Frolic Farm’s website to sign up for your tour or workshop today and start learning about the ins and outs of a dairy goat farm in our state. We appreciate all the hard work of Christina and our team in furthering our state’s agriculture industry!