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Celebrate Earth Day by touring small local farms

By Amy Eller
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006

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Carrboro, NC - Spring brings the opportunity to visit local farms on the 11th annual Piedmont Farm Tour. The rising cost of shipping food long distances and concerns over food safety make getting to know your local producers a great idea—and the Piedmont Farm Tour is the ideal time. It takes less gas to get local food to you, and knowing exactly how your local farmers produce your food can allay food safety issues. Five new farms and two new vineyards and wineries on the tour this year attest to the strength of our local agriculture. Children will be delighted with the chickens, goats, pigs, cows, and horses, while Mom and Dad can learn from the farmers how to grow veggies and flowers in their own backyard.

Farming by the sun, moon, and stars, Heirloom Devon cows, quality baked goods, converted tobacco fields, baby animals, grass-fed cattle, and free-range chickens are just some of the things you’ll see and learn about on our five new-to-the-tour farms: Castlemaine Farm, Braeburn Farm, Infinity Farm, Matzah Rising Farm, and Castle Rock Gardens. Horizon Cellars and the Benjamin Vineyards & Winery add an exciting new vinicultural element to the Farm Tour this year. Now’s the time to learn about this wonderful new trend in North Carolina agriculture—or returning trend, for those of you who know your pre-Prohibition North Carolina history.

Discover once again the importance of farmland to the health and life of our community. Organized as a fundraiser for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA), the Piedmont Farm Tour will draw thousands of visitors to the farms. The CFSA is a membership-based organization of more than 750 farmers, processors, gardeners, businesses, and individuals in North and South Carolina who are committed to sustainable agriculture and organic farming. Last year alone, the tour raised over $14,000 with over 6,000 visitors to the farms. Weaver Street Market and CFSA partnered 11 years ago to bring the Piedmont Farm Tour to the community so that folks could connect with where their food comes from, and as an expression of their commitment to local, sustainable agriculture.

To take the tour, load up your car with family and friends, buy your ticket (a button), and plot a course on the map provided. The map indicates where there are bathroom stops, who’s selling what, and what will interest children. The tour dates are Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23 from 1 to 5 pm. The cost is $30 per car for all 31 farms, or $10 per car per farm on the days of the tour. You can pick up a map and purchase your button for all farms in advance for $25 at the following locations: Weaver Street Market in Carrboro; Weaver Street Market at Southern Village and Niche Gardens in Chapel Hill; the General Store Café, Fearrington Farmers’ Market, and Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro; Durham Co-op Grocery and the Seeds booth at the Durham Farmers’ Market; Maple View Ice Cream Store in Hillsborough; Harmony Farms and Triangle Nutrition in Raleigh; Deep Roots Market in Greensboro; Benjamin Vineyards & Winery in Graham; and Horizon Cellars in Siler City. All proceeds benefit the CFSA. The farmers request that you do not visit the farms outside the posted hours. The Piedmont Farm Tour is co-sponsored by the CFSA, and Weaver Street Market.

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