#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!
Starting a new adventure is always exciting, especially when that adventure is in agriculture. George Trask, owner of Trask Family Farms in Wilmington, never dreamed of owning and operating a farm but fell in love with life on the tractor. “Our family lives on a decent plot of land with great soil for growing fruits and vegetables, but we never really grew anything besides sweet corn for deer hunting,” said Angie Trask, George’s mother. “At 22 years old, George came home one day in need of a mental break from school and hopped on the tractor. That’s when this dream fully came to life for him because a new passion was awakened.” Veteran farmers from across the state, including Galloway Farms, have helped guide George to where he is today. The farm continues to grow sweet corn as well as tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, field tomatoes and wildflowers. In addition, they have started hosting agritourism events on-site to interact with the public and bring the farm to them.
Last year, George initially opened the farm to the public with his fall corn maze. “We worked with a company in Idaho to design it in the shape of UNCW, since that is our hometown university,” Angie said. “The response of the community was absolutely amazing, and it was so special to see their support for George and this farm.” In addition to the help of his parents and siblings, George hires high school students and rising college students to help with work on the farm. “It’s really neat to see because it’s a new generation of farmers rising up and being successful in this profession,” Angie said. “They are living proof that agriculture is still a viable career path.” The farm does plan to offer another corn maze this fall. Ticket prices will be announced closer to time but will be similar to last year’s pricing of $12 per person.
In Wilmington, it’s rare for families to have local agritourism events to attend. Many farms across our state are in the piedmont or eastern parts of the state simply because of the soil quality. So, the demand for agritourism is high in Wilmington, presenting a wide array of opportunities at Trask Family Farms. For that reason, George is opening a brand-new event to the public this year with the Sunflower Maze!
The Sunflower Maze opened on June 20th and continues to be open to the public for a couple more weeks. The farm worked with the same company in Idaho to design the maze, but George and his staff planted and grew the flowers. “We planted them in blocks because we want the sunflowers to last longer than the typical two weeks,” Angie said. “For every sunflower maze ticket purchased we are giving away one free sunflower. After that, people are welcome to purchase more, including some of our wildflowers, to create a beautiful bouquet.” Ice cream will be available at the event and families can also have their pictures taken in the maze with the flowers. “We have centered this maze on the idea of capturing photos,” Angie said. “Sunflower pictures are often a tradition for families and friends, so the maze is a fun way to get a variety of photos with the flowers and enjoy an agricultural adventure.” Early bird and sunset options can be reserved on the farm website for individuals seeking optimal lighting times. Maze tickets can be purchased at the door or online!
Products from the farm can be purchased on a seasonal basis at their roadside stand, which is open on Saturdays. “We only sell what is picked fresh out of our field, so it’s the best that you can get,” Angie said. They also sell to local restaurants in the area, so be sure to look for dishes and drinks that incorporate their watermelons, tomatoes and corn.
George is very proud of what his farm is providing to the community both through fresh produce and on-site events. By attending the current farm events, individuals can not only learn to enjoy the outdoors and experience agriculture together, but also see how viable of a career path agriculture truly is. “People learn by coming to us that produce doesn’t grow in a grocery store, which is a vital lesson for many in our area,” Angie said. “They also have the opportunity to see how George and his friends work hard at this farm and the pride that they take in it, which could inspire someone else to do the same.”
Although he loves being on the tractor, George’s favorite part of farming is seeing the satisfaction that it brings to members of the community and hearing the appreciation of his customers. So, buy your tickets today for the sunflower maze and show your support for his hard work. We are looking forward to seeing how agriculture will continue to flourish at Trask Family Farms!