Agritourism Sites Highlighted
From Frog Holler Organiks to Weeping Radish Brewery and Farm, North Carolina offers something to meet every taste in agritourism.
The proof is illustrated in Discover North Carolina Farms, the 2009 Guide and Map to North Carolina Agritourism Farms. The listing provides information on 213 farms, vineyards, orchards, ranches, apiaries, breweries, nurseries, hunting preserves, and museums across the state. These are places to pick your own produce, pet alpacas, traverse a corn maze, learn how wine is made and select your Christmas tree.
With only seven places in Moore County listed, the map is far from complete. Omitted are several of the county's best known agritourism sites, such as Auman Orchards in West End, Richard Pressley's farm and Lewis Ring farm.
Taylor Williams, a farm agent with the Moore County Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, says the map is incomplete because participation was voluntary and some farmers never got around to filling out the form for submission to the Agritourism Networking Association.
"It does what it's supposed to do," Taylor said. "It shows many of the farms that are open to the public."
The full color fold-out is lavishly illustrated with scenes from farms and related sites from Murphy in the western tip of the state to a sliver of the Outer Banks.
Each of the 213 sites is twice listed in alphabetical order with one listing of address, telephone numbers, directions, e-mail addresses along with a number keyed to the accompanying map. The other listing uses a key to describe characteristics of each site, such features as hayrides, mazes, barnyard animals, pick your own, walking and riding trails.
This key also includes information about accessibility for groups, tours, food, lodging, camping, picnics and the handicapped.
The map shows the general vicinity of attractions but is not geographically accurate except for the county.
"It's hard to use as a map, but it does give you a view of attractions in North Carolina," Williams said.
However, the separate listings include directions to each site.
Many attractions that didn't make the map/guide are available on the state agritourism Web site. Not only are some Moore County farms missing, but the map is also short in a number of other counties. The map shows few attractions in the eastern part of the state, and Richmond County is not represented at all.
A scan of the brochure is entertainment in itself, even if one just reads the names and diverse services available to agritourists.
Among the more colorful examples are the all-a-flutter butterfly farm in Guilford County, Billet-Doux Farm at Yadkinville, Cloud 9 Farm in Buncombe County, Four Ladies and Me Farm in Yadkin County, Grapefull Sisters Vineyard in Columbus County, Owl's Eye Vineyard and Winery in Cleveland County, Potbelly Acres -- Therapets in Rutherford County, RagApple Lassie Vineyards in Yadkin County, Rock of Ages Winery in Person County, Toad Song Farm in Johnston County, Tobacco Stick Hunting Preserve near Biscoe in Montgomery County, and Whispering Dove Goat Ranch and Apiary in Onslow County.
The Weeping Radish Brewery and Farm is in Currituck County, the Frog Holler Organiks in Haywood County.
Moore County attractions listed in the brochure are limited to Bruton Vineyard, C.V. Pilson Farm, Crystal Pines Alpaca Farm, Kalawi Farm, LighterWood Farm, Pine Lake Strawberries and Ken Chappell Peaches and Apples.
The 2009 map and guide is similar to the Sandhills Agriculture brochure published a few years ago to focus on agritourism attractions in Moore, Montgomery, Richmond and Anson counties. Williams was actively involved in developing this publication, which was produced by the Sandhills Agricultural Tourism Board.
The board secured a grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation to cover most of that expense. Also supporting the project were the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Moore County, the Richmond County Arts Council and the Cooperative Extension Service through N.C. State University.
Williams said another grant was not available through the foundation to continue the publication effort. The foundation is one of three nonprofits formed in North Carolina to administer the insurance settlement fund secured from major tobacco companies to compensate communities adversely affected by the loss of tobacco income. North Carolina was one of 46 states sharing in the $246 billion settlement in 1998.
Funding support for Discover North Carolina Farms came from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, a sister agency of the Golden Leaf Foundation.
Information about other farms and agritourism attractions not featured in the brochure is available on the state agritourism website, www.visitncfarms.com.
Copies of the agritourism brochure are available at the Chamber of Commerce in Southern Pines and the Extension office in the Agriculture Center in Carthage.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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