Monday, April 26, 2010

Farm Tour / Celebrity Dairy

As you may know by now, I am a sucker for local, organic food. So when the annual farm tour comes around in the spring, we go. Although I have been in the past, this was the first year that we went with baby in tow. We modified our approach, and had a great time.

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's Annual Farm Tour is 2 days long and encompasses 40 farms in the Piedmont area. The slogan is "For Families, Foodies and Farm Lovers." Obviously, there is no way you are going to get to all the farms in 2 days. The point of the tour is to pick 2-3 farms to visit each day, and hit those. The farms are all over the Piedmont region and can be quite far apart in mileage. CFSA is trying to encourage people to get on the farms and receive an insider's look at their operations and learn different philosophies on farming, not encourage people to fly between places to get to as many as they can. So pick a few and concentrate, especially with children. The farms range from wildflower farms, dairy farms, vegetable farms, to creameries and all things in between so there is something for everyone.

We used this as an excuse to get in to Celebrity Dairy. Celebrity Dairy Farm is one of my favorite places to go, but has limited openings to the public. We decided not to even bother trying to get in other farms with C's schedule.

So on Sunday, a bunch of us parents and kids met in the countryside of Chatham County to picnic and pet some goats. Celebrity Dairy is a great size for kids. It only has chickens, barn cats, goats, and llamas, and is very manageable in size for wandering. You can touch all the animals, provided that the llamas get close enough and you can catch a chicken. And word of caution: don't feed the cats. The Dairy does offer guided tours but we had fun just going on our own.

The Dairy has goats as young as 7 days old that we were free to feed, pet, and hold. And then douse in antibacterial soap afterwards.

After giggling at and enjoying the animals, we then spread out a picnic blanket in the shade, bought some fresh goat cheese from the premises, and watched the children run after the chickens until they were ready for naps.

I imagine that kids would also get a kick out of many of the other farms on the tour. Spence's Farm is one of the stops. Just make sure not to get too ambitious. Part of the fun for us was just enjoying the leisurely pace of the farm and the beautiful Sunday.

  • You pay per car and it is $25 for all access to all farms or $10 to drive up and just visit 1 farm.
  • Watch the weather since this is about being outdoors.
  • Don't plan to bring strollers to any of the farms. If you are going to tour (and some stops are tours only, no space for lounging and picnicking) you must use a carrier or carry your child if they can not walk on their own yet.
  • Bring plenty of sanitation and extra clothes and shoes. Many farms make you wipe your shoes and/or cover them so as not to spread bacteria between farms. And changes of clothes are always good when out for the day with kids running through pastures and fields.
  • No pets allowed.
  • And bring a cooler to bring goodies such as farm fresh steaks, wines, butters, cheeses, vegetables and more home with you.
Outside of the Farm Tour, CSFA sponsors other events across our area that may be fun to try with your kids so stay tuned to their website.

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/

Celebrity Dairy & Inn
http://www.celebritydairy.com/

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