Ever wonder what happens on a daily basis at Polk County Farms? Or ever had the desire to chat with the farmers whose foods you purchase at local farmers markets?
The chance to learn more about local farms and farmers is available this year through the N.C. Foothills Farm Tour and its series of intimate tours. Once a month, from June to October, there will be a day of activities with a farm tour in the morning and another farm tour in the afternoon.
The events begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 19 at San Felipe Farm in Polk County, which is home to a flock of more than 25 Katahdin sheep, a cow/calf operation, and more than 50 laying hens. You’ll learn how the husband-wife team manages the whole farm. They’ll also show their garden space, honey bees and shiitake mushrooms. This tour ends at noon.
Then, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the tour moves to Buttercup Cottage in Saluda, which is known throughout the area for its sauerkraut, jams and jellies, relishes, fruits and vegetables. Tourgoers will be amazed at this urban garden setting and how much is produced in a small footprint. The garden is a high-intensive garden with Drip irrigation, companion planting, planting in plastic mulches, and automated fertilizing of the garden through an irrigation system.
These farms and others are often visible at local farmers’ markets for local residents to purchase items. If you aren’t aware, here are the times and days for Polk County’s markets.
- Saluda Tailgate Market is set for 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Fridays, June-October on West Main St in Saluda (located in the public parking on West Main St., just before crossing the railroad bridge)
- Columbus Farmers’ Market is open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, May-October and is held on Courthouse St in downtown Columbus
“The Columbus Farmers’ Market and the Saluda Tailgate Market have both been open for more than 10 years serving community members in Polk County and the surrounding areas,” said Polk County Agricultural Economic Development Director Dawn Jordan. “Both markets offer locally grown and crafted products that include produce, meats, value added items such as jams, jellies and dog treats.
“The Columbus Market also offers handmade crafts by local artisans. When customers shop at these local markets, they are supporting family farms and small businesses here in their own community. It is a great way to build resilience and sustainability, while receiving a quality product. Besides, going to the market is a fun event.”
The farmers markets are a collective effort between several groups, Jordan said.
“Polk County Local Government would like to thank the Town of Columbus and the City of Saluda for partnering with the County in support of the Farmers Markets,” she added. “We would also like to thank the Polk County Community Foundation for their financial support of the Saluda Tailgate Market through the Saluda Community Fund.”
In addition to the fun that happens at the farmers markets, the farm tour adds more fun as residents have the chance to see how local farmers work the land and serve the community.
Tickets for the farm tours are $10 per day, per person and there are a limited number of tickets available to keep the tours intimate.
Similar events will happen on the following Saturdays:
- July 31 – Looking Glass Creamery and C-Saw Hill farm
- August 15 – Cherry Mountain and New Beginnings Historic Farm
- September 18 – TK family farm and Subtle Seed farm
- October 23 – Belflower Farm and Colfax Creek farm
Want to make a full day of local fun? Add lunch at a local restaurant or visit a local winery at the end of the tour. Go ahead, enjoy everything that Polk County has to offer.
For more information, check out the N.C. Foothills Farm Tour website at http://www.ncfoothillsfarmtour.com.
Tickets for each tour can be purchased through Eventbrite by following this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/nc-foothills-farm-tour-33486676293.