What it is: The Piedmont Farm Tour happens every April and just so happens to be the largest farm tour in the country, so we are very lucky to have it right here in our backyard. Each year, the farms participating open up their farms to the public for two afternoons. People can buy tickets (one per carload) for $25 in advance at Weaver Street Market and $30 at the farms on the day of. That will get you admittance to as many of those farms as you want to visit, and trust us, there's far more than you can visit in a weekend, especially with kids. We made it to five this year over the course of two days and we were exhausting.
Our first farm was Avillion Farms which was about a half an hour away from Durham. There we were able to pet some sheep and rabbits, see goats and sheep dogs, and watch a yarn spinning demonstration. Next, we headed to Iron Gate Winery as a little stop for the adults. However, it was not just for adults because in addition to a wine tasting (which was free with the tour) we went on a hay ride where we got to tour the vineyard and see their fainting goats (which were not fainting at the time). Finally, we headed up to Sunset Ridge Buffalo Farm where we were able to take another hayride around the farm, this time seeing the actual buffalo and some of the equipment used to take care of them. We also were able to purchase some delicious buffalo meat which you can fortunately also purchase at the Durham and Carrboro Farmers Markets. It was delicious, especially the brats!
The next day we had two more farms in another region to check out. They divide the farms up into regions so that you can better plan your days and they recommend that you stick to one region a day. In addition they have icons on their map so you can tell which farms have kid-appeal, food, or bathrooms. Our first stop on the second day was Spence's Farm. This one is actually a farm that is geared toward kids on a daily basis. Once there we fed chickens and turkeys while wandering in their pen, held baby chicks, and got to ride on a pony! We were also able to pick some of our own vegetables from their garden to take home and play on the playground. Spence's Farm is a great place for kids. They used to have a weekly toddler time however I'm not sure if they still have it. They also have summer camps which we would have loved to sign up for if they weren't full day in addition to after school activities and other programs.
Our next stop was Chapel Hill Creamery which was just down the road from Spence's Farm. There we were able to get another hay ride, see some cows, and sample and purchase some delicious cheeses (which you can purchase at Carrboro Farmers Market). We also could have toured their milking parlour and more, but our little toddlers would have none of it. We were a bit on edge at this farm, however, because all of their fences were electrified and within close reach of toddler hands.
What we liked: We loved the whole weekend. We loved sampling and purchasing goodies from all the farmers and seeing what was going on at their farms. We also loved how our kids were able to see where their food comes from. We can't wait to check out some different farms next year! So, hopefully we've been able to give you an idea for next year and given you some information on some great local farms and how to sample their wares!
What we would change: The driving distances were a bit far, but that's okay because it gave the kids a little time to decompress between each farm.
Website and other important information:
Dates: The 2012 dates were April 28, 29 1pm-5pm
(pony for pony riding)