Over the weekend, my crunchy friends invited me to tag along on the 6th annual Know Your Farms Tour, a 2-day fest featuring 15 diverse farms in the greater Charlotte area. Y’all know I love the farmers’ market!
We only did the vegan/veggie farms because Kelley is a vegetarian. I’m not fancy enough to be buying my meats straight from farms and whatnot, so that was fine by me. Our first stop on Saturday afternoon:
The Dover family turned lemons into wine after a “pyromaniac cousin” burned down their late grandparents’ home and barn. Rather than selling the land off, 29-year-old Elizabeth (a horticulture major who’s studied winemaking in New Zealand) decided to develop a 4-acre vineyard and 1.5-acre uncertified organic farm. Look at that pretty lettuce!
They had samples of wine available, only reds for now while the white grapes continue to mature. The whole endeavor is fairly experimental, which is cool to see. I got all kinds of caught up in the farm stand with Elizabeth’s mom, who urged me not to be shy with sampling the jams and jellies on offer. J. Garcia, who makes them from the farm’s produce, helped me find his freshest jar of Strawberry White Wine Jam. I can’t wait to slather it on a turkey & brie sandwich! They are having an open house on May 31 that sounds like it’ll be worth the trip up the road. Next stop…
I’m familiar with Barbee Farms’ produce because so many of the really great farm-to-table restaurants and trucks buy from them. Visiting, it’s easy to see why. First of all, the farm is huge and diverse — they grow everything from asparagus to zucchini and harvest honey to boot. They’ve operated for over 100 years continuously, shifting crops with the times.
While waiting for the tractors to come back from tours, we headed to the samples. There was a smorgasbord of freshness just right there for us, mostly centered around the most delicious strawberries I’ve ever had in my life. IN MY LIFE. I can’t remember the chef’s name, but I believe he’s executive chef at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
I bought some pretty yellow cauliflower and a batch of berries in hopes of recreating those taquitos and cauliflower mash later this week. Then we ate some more. We ate so much that we missed the next tractor. So we figured, might as well eat while we wait for the next one.
Farm manager Brent Barbee was the guide for our tractor ride. He answered questions and I learned tons about not only this farm but food cultivation in general. Barbee Farms isn’t 100% organic, but Brent explained that sometimes the most organic solutions aren’t always, in his opinion, the safest. At one point he said that he wanted us to “trust me to grow your food.” I do. It’s delicious.
After grabbing a couple more plates of quinoa salad, we closed out the day and headed back to the big city. My biggest takeaway was that I need to expand my farmers’ market shopping. Right now, I usually go to Yorkmont Rd., sometimes Atherton Mills and King’s Drive. There’s a whole world that I’ve been missing out on in Davidson and Concord.
Later I’ll write about Sunday’s tours and share how we went farm-to-table with our finds!