Monday, June 28, 2010

Family Farm Tour (ASAP)

The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project's Family Farm Tour in Western North Carolina included a diverse mix of small local farms in the counties surrounding Asheville.  The farms range from CSA and market garden producers such as Flying Cloud Farm, small homestead farms like Elk Knob and Sunswept Farm Conservancy, and dairy goat operations (Round Mountain Creamery), which were among the farms that we visited over the weekend (there were 26 on the tour).

Growing fall vegetables for transplant at Flying Cloud Farm in Fairview, North Carolina
These folks are willing to invite us 'farm tourists' to see what they're doing and ask (sometimes) naive questions about raising animals, processing milk, and packing vegetables (but isn't that the point?)
Organic cherries at Elk Knob Farm
Flying Cloud Farm produce packing shed (note washing sinks and cooler)
Produce cart at Flying Cloud Farm

The tour helps interested consumers understand a bit better about local small farms, and encourages us to support them at local farmer's markets and at the farm.

We finished the tour with a fresh awareness of the day-to-day work that it takes to raise livestock and grow fruits and vegetables.

I have an appreciation of the produce side of things, but actually thinking about what's required in a small-scale dairy goat operation to keep sanitation standards required by USDA for commercial operations -- it's definitely more involved.

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