Forever Young, But Growing Old

A travel and lifestyle blog for Baby Boomers

Two days, seven farms…priceless lessons from A.S.A.P. in North Carolina

DSC02159

North Carolina’s politics might be sketchy but a growing number of farmers, concerned with the state’s environment, is making up for it. The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (A.S.A.P.) is a nonprofit that supports local farmers by providing training and marketing support, connecting farms to local chefs for authentic farm-to-table dining, as well as “creating healthy communities and thriving local food economies.”

DSC02412

Each year A.S.A.P. hosts a farm tour in the Asheville area with several clusters of family-owned farms, vineyards and creameries opening their gates to the public for educational journeys through the life of local cultivators, ranchers and agriculturalists. It’s an eye-opener to see the kind of hard work that goes into running and maintaining a successful farm, whether it’s raising cattle, pigs and hens, to growing berries or harvesting sheep’s wool.

This one wanted attention by screeching at us

This one wanted attention by screeching at us

Learning to milk a goat

Learning to milk a goat at Spinning Spider Creamery

With the help of A.S.A.P., organic farming is becoming a mission for young people striving to give back to the environment by cultivating their crops in an agriculturally responsible manner, thereby guaranteeing fertile land for generations to come. We were encouraged to meet millennials starting their own farms or continuing the family tradiiton. The young couple at Big Ivy Little Farm are a testament to the concept of giving back to the environment and community. Nick and Hitomi’s belief in “Big taste from a little space,” through regenerative and permaculture models of farming, prove what can be accomplished on just 2 acres of land.

DSC02323

Shitake mushrooms

Shitake mushrooms

Big Ivy Little Farm

Big Ivy Little Farm

Farm or Barn weddings are a big deal in North Carolina, providing extra income on the weekends. Several, like Franny’s Farm, offer cabins for family members, providing a total immersion into country-themed nuptials.

A lot of farms receive extra income from hosting weddings

A lot of farms receive extra income from hosting weddings, Franny’s Farm

We were impressed with Paul’s solution to the berries being raided by bears at Long Branch Environmental Education Center. No guns needed, just raise a ruckus with pots and pans to scare them off. Sustainability is their mantra and the blueberries date back decades to the mother plant by taking cuttings and creating daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter plants, providing fruit for generations to come.

Paul educating us at the Long Branch Environmental Education Center

Paul educating us at the Long Branch Environmental Education Center

DSC02237

Either use the compost toilet or pee in a bush

Either use the compost toilet or pee in a bush

DSC02227

Renewable energy - a no-brainer

Renewable energy – a no-brainer

We'll be back in a few weeks to pic when ripe

We’ll be back in a few weeks to pick when ripe

This year the grandkids got to sample cheeses, cuddle bunnies, milk a goat and enjoy a hayride to the top of a hill overlooking a cattle farm. Two days and seven farms later, their heads were full of useful knowledge about what it takes to get a carton of eggs, beef for burgers or lettuce and tomatoes to market for their consumption. Learning about sustainability, living off the grid and taking personal responsibility for the preservation of the environment, are good lessons to take home to Florida.

DSC02315

2 Comments

  1. You must be the coolest grandmother around by taking your grandkids on this tour! What a great summer activity for them!

    Reply
    • Thx, Terry. Actually, the other day they called me American Ninja Gma since I was leading the pack during a hike and deflecting the spider webs!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>