#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!
Who doesn’t love highland cows? Crooked Creek Highlands in Hamptonville was started because of a strong love of these adorable animals and a dream to move back to family property. “This land that the farm sits on has been in my family for over 200 years,” said co-owner Megan White. “My husband, Evan, and I really wanted to raise our children here, so after living in Charlotte for many years, we settled back on the farm in the fall of 2022.” Megan and Evan started out by purchasing two Highland cows and fell in love with their demeanor and mannerisms. Today, the farm is home to 13 Highland cows plus a variety of other farm animals, including Nigerian Dwarf goats, black angus cattle, donkeys and a horse.
In March of this year, Crooked Creek Highlands launched its agritourism program with Highland cow mini sessions. These mini sessions featured Jolene, an adorable red Highland cow calf, and a professional photographer. “Individuals, friend groups or families can pay for one of these time slots and come out to take photos with our little girl,” Megan said. “We also offer sessions throughout the year that feature some of our other cows, including the adults.” In a few short months, Evan and Megan have added a variety of events to involve the community with their farm, including educational farm tours, Highland cow paint parties, and soon, yoga with the cows. They will also travel to events where feasible.
The Highland Cow Paint Parties gained traction very quickly at Crooked Creek Highlands because they are a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the farm with friends and family and create something new to display in your home or office. This two-hour experience, give or take a little depending on the painting, allows participants to sit amongst the highlands as they learn how to paint from a qualified instructor. Depending on the class, participants can expect to take home a canvas painting, decorative door hanger or wood art. Snacks and drinks are always available at these events and are often highly dependent on the time of year. “I like to theme the snacks with what people are typically in the mood for that time of year,” Megan said. “For example, we’ve had coffee and donuts in the winter, apple cider and cookies in the fall and cupcakes and tea in the summer. It’s a fun way to tie in the seasons with the farm activity.” Each class costs around $35 to attend, depending on the type of painting and materials needed for that artwork. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for upcoming classes to sign up!
Educational farm tours are also offered throughout the year at Crooked Creek Highlands. Evan and Megan enjoy the teaching aspect of the farm as well, not only because it gives them a chance to show off their farm animals, but because it presents an opportunity for them to discredit the myths about Highland cows. “Typically, our tours start with the Nigerian Dwarf goats because they are in the front pastures. We talk about the animals and allow people to brush and feed them,” Evan said. “Throughout the tour we work with all the animals and learn a variety of things about farming and agriculture, including animal care, growth, breeding and safety. It’s a true behind the scenes look at how the farm works.” Highland cows often fall under a lot of misconceptions and get purchased by individuals who simply think they are cute. Megan and Even work hard to educate against that type of thinking through their farm tours. “These animals deserve to have a home where they are well cared for and where the owners understand their needs on the front end,” Megan said. Farm tours start at a flat rate of $100 for four people. Any additional party members will be charged $25 per person. Tours can be booked online through their website!
Products and merchandise from Crooked Creek Highlands can be purchased on-site at each event they host or online through their website portal. Be sure to check out their adorable t-shirts to show off your Highland love!
Although Megan and Evan love their adorable animals, nothing brings them more pride than watching kids come out to the farm and learn about a life in agriculture. “It’s nice to see kids and their families getting invested in agriculture, including our kids Evy and Beckham,” Evan said. “We love to educate them about the farm and how they can also pursue a career in agriculture if they want too. It’s rewarding to see their eyes light up as they learn more about our state’s number one industry.”
Keep an eye on their social media pages for the latest news and upcoming events, including Highland cow yoga. With fresh eyes on agritourism, there is no telling how far Megan and Evan will take Crooked Creek Highlands. We are excited to be alongside them through the journey and look forward to seeing the impact that they make on N.C. Agriculture!