By Calie Brummer
On Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, farmers across the region will welcome guests for the annual ASAP Farm Tour, hosted by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). The weekend event, which runs from 12–5 p.m. both days, offers guests a chance to sample farm-fresh fare, meet local farmers and learn how food is grown and raised in the mountains.
Guests can choose from more than 15 participating farms in the Western North Carolina region. Farm stops on the self-guided tour will offer foods, demonstrations, activities for children and more. All farms along the route are within an hour’s drive of Asheville.
Every year, ASAP introduces new farms on the tour and brings back old favorites, including creameries, u-pick farms, vineyards, flower farms and fiber producers. With a mission to build healthy communities through local foods and farms, the ASAP Farm Tour is a great opportunity for those interested in locally sourced foods to dive in and meet local producers.
“It’s all about the goats at Good Fibrations,” says Marcia Kummerle, owner of this Barnardsville farm that raises colored Angora goats and produces prime mohair, alpaca and Corriedale fiber products. “During the tour, visitors will have a chance to meet the goats and learn about the process that takes their mohair ‘from the goat to the garment.’ Learn what it takes to raise Angora goats and shop from a selection of yarn, scarves and shawls made from their mohair.”
The ASAP Farm Tour showcases a wide variety of farms, including fruit and vegetable farms, orchards, fiber farms and livestock farms. New farms on the tour this year include Greenshine Farms in Marshall, and Sideways Farm & Brewery and Terra Lingua Growers, both in Etowah.
“We are excited to be on the ASAP Farm Tour this year so that we can show visitors what is possible with hard work and a lot of dedication,” says Jessica Spiegel, owner of Terra Lingua Growers. “We are in our third year of production and well on our way to becoming a profitable small farm business, even after weather-related setbacks. We will have a number of items for sale including tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, specialty greens and cut flowers.”
This tour is a great way to experience the incredible diversity of farms in the WNC region. Guests can learn about unique growing methods, new products and techniques farmers are using to produce their goods.
During the tour, guests can purchase fresh produce, hand-made products and other goods. Several locations will offer u-pick experiences and the chance to interact with farm animals. The tour is a family- friendly event, and children are welcome to attend, as many farms provide immersive experiences that are suitable for visitors of all ages, abilities and interests.
The 2019 Farm Tour Guide, provided by ASAP, lists all the participating farms by location so guests can plan their trip ahead of time. The guide, providing a map of the farms, driving directions and tour tips, will be available at participating local businesses in the Asheville area.
Additional farms on the tour are Addison Farms Vineyard (Leicester), Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery (Hendersonville), Farm Fresh Ventures (Old Fort), Farm House Beef (Marshall), Flying Cloud Farm (Fairview), Franny’s Farm (Leicester), Hickory Nut Gap Farm (Fairview), Long Branch Environmental Education Center (Leicester), Mills River Creamery and Dairy (Mills River), North River Farms (Mills River), Round Mountain Creamery (Black Mountain), Smoking J’s Fiery Foods (Candler), Two Trees Farm (Canton) and Venezia Dream Farm (Candler).
Farm tour passes are $30 in advance per car, or $40 per car the weekend of the event. One pass admits a carload of visitors to all farms on both days. Volunteer opportunities are available in exchange for a free tour pass. To learn more, visit ASAPConnections.org.