#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!
A passion for agriculture and a love of teaching collide at The Farm in Dobson. What originally started as a wholesale produce farm has transitioned into a popular agritourism destination for this rural part of the state. “I didn’t grow up in the agriculture industry, but my husband, Josh, has loved it since he was a kid,” said Mayghan Watson, co-owner and operator of The Farm. “He had an agriculture teacher in school that taught him how to grow and harvest his own produce, which led him to harvest his first tomatoes during the summer of his junior year of high school. It’s been history for him ever since.” Today, The Farm continues to grow a variety of produce, including half runner green beans, watermelon, tomatoes, blackberries, cucumbers, apples, pumpkins, and peaches. They are open year-round and host a variety of events to excite both children and adults across the state!
After stepping away from her life as a third-grade teacher to be a stay-at-home mom, Mayghan realized her passion for the farm and a desire to share it with the community in fun and unique ways was born. “In 2017, I woke up one morning with a desire to start a corn maze and pumpkin patch on this farm,” she said. “We wanted to expand our name and our footprint throughout the community, so we started small and have grown every year since.” With events every season, Mayghan and Josh cater to a wide audience. In fact, they are currently planning to add peach and blackberry picking as well as pond fishing next year.
This fall, The Farm will be hosting one of its most popular events every weekend between September and October, their fall festival. “Our fall festival is really where it all began,” Mayghan said. “It started with the corn maze and the pumpkin patch and has evolved to include a variety of other activities like pick-your-own jack-o-lantern, bounce houses, hayrides, a pizza garden, food like hot dogs and funnel cakes, a kid’s train and more. It’s become a yearly tradition for many families.” At $14 per person, it’s an event you simply don’t want to miss, and kids get one pumpkin for free! All other purchases, such as gem mining, merchandise, and food, cost separate.
You may recognize one of the pumpkins on the farm during fall festival as Spookley the Square Pumpkin! Spookley is the “Official Spokes-Pumpkin” for bullying prevention. As a square pumpkin growing up in a patch filled with round pumpkins, kids learn how to embrace one another’s differences and treat people kindly through his story. “We are all unique and have different talents,” Mayghan said. “Spookley teaches kids to show love to one another despite our differences.” Spookley not only has his own puppet show at The Farm in the fall, but also an inflatable pumpkin, walk through story maze and merchandise. “We love watching children learn about the importance of treating others the way they want to be treated while also learning about agriculture,” Mayghan said. “Spookley is a big drawing card in agritourism for that reason. He often gets people out to the farm, and once they are here, we are able to then teach them about our state’s number one industry.” Spookley can be found at The Farm every weekend of fall festival.
Following fall festival, The Farm is open for Christmas with Santa Claus, a lighted hayride, food, hot chocolate and more! The hayride is 20 minutes long and features a walk-through maze of Christmas lights. The farm animals are also out and about for individuals to learn about their purpose on the farm and enjoy petting through the fence. “We have a variety of animals, including pigs, goats, dairy cows, ducks, chickens and a mini horse,” Mayghan said. “It’s always fun to watch the kids interact with them and learn about how they are important to the agriculture industry.” The Farm also offers summer camps and field trips for kids that want a more in-depth or educational view of the farm.
Products from The Farm in Dobson can be purchased at their farm stand on-site during the summer months or at the Pumpkin Station during the fall festival. They also host a CSA program where people can subscribe to receive a box of produce from the farm on a regular basis. Mayghan hosts a Facebook page where she provides classes and recipes to help assist people in using the products or canning them to make the box last longer.
Although she loves working alongside her family every day, Mayghan’s favorite part of offering agritourism events at The Farm is being able to teach children and adults alike about our state’s number one industry and the importance of farming. “I left a career in teaching, but I haven’t had a chance to even miss it because I get to do it every day on the farm,” she said. “It’s incredibly rewarding and so much fun to watch people learn about where their food comes from, see their eyes light up as they pick fresh berries from the field or pet a cow and hear their laughter as they enjoy the many different events that we host out here during the year.” She also takes pride in watching their three children, 9-year-old Lilly, 7-year-old Ella and one-year-old Maggie, enjoy and grow up on the farm.
By attending events at The Farm, people can learn about all aspects of agriculture, including strawberry prep and harvest, irrigation, animal care, soil and water, beekeeping and more! In fact, their local soil and water conservation office comes to the summer camps to teach kids about their importance in the industry, as well as the Surry County Beekeepers. “We try to encompass as many aspects of NC Agriculture as we can because this industry is something that everyone needs to understand and support,” Mayghan said. “It’s not only important for us now, but it is what will keep us going in the future.” So, start planning to attend their upcoming fall festival and mark your calendar for other events through the end of the year. We are so proud of all that they are doing to blaze the future for NC Agriculture and Agritourism!