Yippee! It’s finally here ... the very first Midlands Farm Tour is this weekend.
So what? Well, this is the perfect chance to go out and meet those farmers that you see or buy produce from at the various farmers markets around town. On. Their. Own. Turf.
Put a face to those veggies ... and eggs ... and chickens, etc.
It’s very important that we support these folks because local and organic food is not only good for you, but it’s good for the local economy (spend the money where it stays, in the community). I’ve been on the Upstate Farm Tour before (scheduled for June) and had been hoping that eventually there would be a tour around here. It’s fun to get out and see where the farmers live and how they work and what makes them so special to us all.
So ... who’s on the tour?
There are 11 stops on the tour, sponsored by Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Whole Foods Market. Here’s a brief idea of what you’ll see:
City Roots , 1005 Airport Blvd., Columbia, (803) 254-2303, www.cityroots.org
Take a look in the greenhouses and learn about micro-green production or check out the state-of-the-art aquaponics system that reuses water from the tilapia pond to grow edible flowers and watercress.
USC Community Farm & Garden, 1216 Wheat St., Building C, Columbia, (803) 777-0833, www.artsandsciences.sc.edu/greenquad/garden
Located at the Green Quad, this new in-town farm produces herbs for campus dining halls and boasts both greenhouses and outdoor permaculture areas.
NOMA Community Garden, 2700 River Drive, Columbia, (803) 545-3100, www.columbiasc.net/communitygardens/491
NOMA stands for North Main and is the largest of the 20 community gardens in Columbia. Gardeners rent 5-foot-by-20-foot raised beds to grow vegetables and flowers with compost and water supplied by the city.
Terra Kotta Farms, 2412 Lewie Road, Leesville, (803) 580-9642
This small farm uses only water collected from rain barrels. Learn about the process of rainwater catchment and meet the heritage breed chickens.
Heritage Fields Farm, 10350 Broad River Rd., Irmo, www.heritagefieldsfarm.com
Heritage Fields Farm uses low-impact farming methods, beehives for pollination and the hydroponics system in the greenhouse allows for year-round lettuce crops.
Doko Farm, 2101 Cedar Creek Rd., Blythewood, (803) 873-7739, www.dokofarm.org
Family-owned since the mid-1800s. Features heritage breed chickens, pygmy goats and produce. Tours of the farm and pastures every hour on the hour.
Crooked Cedar Farm, 1464 Lawhorn Road, Blythewood, (803) 786-4841, www.sites.google.com/site/crookedcedarfarmsc
Raised-bed vegetable production, free-range chickens and perennial flowers and daylilies
Paradise Acres Farm, 374 Gettys Road, Elgin, (803) 427-6943, www.paradise-acres-farm.com
Tour the farm and feed the free-range chickens and turkeys, learn about guinea hens, check out the goats, the raised bed gardens and the new fruit orchard. Home-baked gluten-free pies and cookies and pulled pork BBQ for sale.
Wil-Moore Farms, 1916 Three Branches Road, Lugoff, www.wil-moorefarms.com
Check out the cattle, Tamworth hogs and free-range chickens – all raised on certified organic pasture. Sample some of the products and let the kids have fun at the children’s station.
Carolina Bay Farms, 5301 Lower Richland Blvd., Hopkins, (803) 422-4929, www.facebook.com/carolinabayfarms
Heritage breed chickens, turkeys, quail and guinea hogs roam land that was part of a 1760 land grant from the King of England. Fresh seasonal produce.