Full Circle

I had grand plans for all the farms we would visit during this past weekend’s CFSA Farm Tour.  But we got stuck at the first one.  We spend the entire day (5 hours) at one farm, Woodcrest Farm in Hillsboro.  I picked it to start the day because it had something for everyone in the family.  Silly me.  I grossly underestimated the lure of the forge.

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Blacksmith apprentice

 

Farm owners, Chris & Allen Green, were very generous opening their property to the public.  Mr. Green demonstrated blacksmithing, working the entire day in front of his blazing forge.  Spaghetti was more than a little star struck.  But he & Paul quickly jumped at the chance to participate, assisting, and ultimately producing a pretty good steel hook.  Spaghetti’s take home treasure.  He worked in Mr. Green’s blacksmith shop hammering, grinding & toting water for a good 2-3 hours.  He was invited to return for a local ABANA meeting of blacksmiths.  Nirvana.

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Kidding around

Sauce & I were busy roaming the beautiful 1850’s barn taking in the milking parlor (sigh) and animal care areas (ducks!)  I had set goals for myself to research on the tour: duck waterer, poultry housing, wildlife protection.  Check off the duck & poultry line items.  I learned that the combination of poultry drinkers & an old open bucket provided for the ducks while keeping mess to a minimum.  Sauce was

 

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Photo by Holly Henderson Bourne

enamored with the kids – both other children and baby goats, that is.  (Baby goats, sigh.  Some day.)

 

 

 

The Greens’ farm model was of great interest to us – direct sales via on farm store with diversified offerings: Dexter beef cattle, heritage pork, rabbit meat, pet milks, and produce.  All done on 11 acres.  Inspiring!  Over the course of the day, we discovered that some of the bloodline of the heritage Dexter cattle breed came from our farm’s previous owner, John Clouse.  This connection gave us pause to think about the importance of provenance.  It was a special day for us.

 

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Formal Garden

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Tiny house model!

 

Sunday, we managed to visit 2 additional farms: Harland’s Creek Farm & Piedmont Biofarm in Pittsboro.  Harland’s Creek was a beautiful plantation farm whose tiny house made me fall in love.  It was the perfect model for our future place!!  They also have a beautiful formal parterre garden full of fruit & pollinator flowers (euphorbia in bloom).  Not to mention the acres of organic produce fields.

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Piedmont Biofarm’s serious eats

We were overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of produce coming from an unlikely place at Piedmont Biofarm.  These business partners were growing astronomical amounts of gorgeous produce on less than 2 acres.  I was awed & inspired.  Chef Geoff topped of the tour with a taste of the gardens.  I watched the boys gobble up his preparation of white radishes (which he munched whole as we chatted).  Both boys sucking down a pile of stewed stems & roasted radishes.  “Oh wow.  This is so good!”  Really?????  Sign me up.  In addition to produce, the farm offers regular on-site field to fork dinners under the stars.

This visit motivated me to retool my mini market garden.  Paul was motivated to get the tractor fixed so we can finally get the bee flower forage and summer veggies in (and off my porch).  Busy weekend ahead.

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Mini eats

The farm tour was both humbling and uplifting.  These farmers are very generous with their time & treasures.  It’s a daily commitment to preserve their land and produce the finest food the old fashioned way.  And we as a community are really blessed with a selection of quality foods grown by local folks who believe so passionately in what they are doing.  “We feel like we have a calling here,” said Chris Green. “We want to show people the importance of taking care of this land.”  We returned home with great encouragement & ideas (old and new) from these places.  We are excited to ratchet up the work of revitalizing our farm and bringing its growth full circle.

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