Last Saturday, my part of the country was hit with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Thankfully, everyone I know is okay, although some of my loved ones are facing property damage and a lot of tree removal. It was a scary, windy, grey day and we were all grateful when the storms broke up and moved off. Then on Sunday, we had the kind of beautiful, sunny, clear skies that often follow such weather – a perfect day to leave the shelter of our homes, give thanks that we were still here and so was our house, and embark on the Piedmont Farm Tour.
The tour took us to four farms near Cedar Grove, NC. The local, family owned farms we visited included Whitted Bowers biodynamic farm, the Captain J. S. Pope sheep farm, Maple Spring Gardens, and Coon Rock Farm. We saw heirloom tomatoes, long rows of flowers being raised for the farmer’s market, lambs being raised for meat and wool, and we learned more about the differences between organic and biodynamic farming. Some of the farmers practice organic farming techniques but are not able to afford to go through the lengthy and expensive process of becoming certified organic. One farmer was forced to sell his old farm and buy a new one in order to get away from neighbors who did not share his organic, sustainable ethics, and who were contaminating his farm’s water supply. He made sure that his second farm has an enclosed watershed, so that he can control what gets sprayed onto his crops and into his water.
The farmers we met were dedicated, hardworking people, some with highly scientific explanations for why they farm the way they do, and all with deep convictions about sustainability and best farming practices. We spent a beautiful, long, sunny day exploring the farms, and I took a lot of pictures. Here are some of the highlights!