Need an idea for a fun — and possibly educational — day trip for the family? Check out the Ag+Art Tour that runs Saturdays and Sundays throughout June.
Each week, a different cluster of counties will feature farms, farmers markets, local artisans and musicians on a free, self-guided tour. All you have to do is check out which locations you are interested in, pack a cooler, load up the car — and you’re off.
This weekend, June 17-18, Kershaw and Lancaster counties are on the tour.
For families with kids, check out Old McCaskill’s Farm with a variety of animals including lambs, ducks, pigs, cows, chickens and goats.
Goat Daddy’s Farm has emus, parrots and pot-bellied pigs, in addition to chickens, turkeys and goats. Homesteaders might enjoy demonstrations of goat milking, cheese-making and soap-making.
For the adults, just off I-20 at the Lugoff exit, is Gorget Distilling Company. This craft distillery produces small batches of rum, vodka, whiskey and bourbon from local grain. After a quick behind-the-scenes tour, Gorget’s tasting room is open Thursday through Saturday.
If you head out on Saturday, the Kershaw County Farmers Market runs 8 a.m. to noon. Bring a cooler for purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and mixes. Check out the artisans at the market and then rejoin the tour or head a couple of blocks into town and spend the afternoon wandering through Camden’s antique and thrift shops.
A little farther up the road in Lancaster, history lovers will enjoy Craig Farm, one of the few continually operating farms in Lancaster County. The original farm dates from 1773, before there was a United States of America. The almost 400-acre site also contains the Craig Farm House (circa 1800) and Kilburnie, the Inn at Craig Farm (1827); both structures are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Garden at the Native American Studies Center, part of USC-Lancaster, will feature garden tours, pottery demonstrations and arts and crafts sales. The center contains the largest collection of Catawba potters and artifacts.
Take a break from the tour and sample craft brews from Benford Brewery. The crisp taste of Benford’s beers can be attributed to water sourced from three springs on the property.
For June 24 and 25, take a drive through Fairfield, Newberry and Union counties.
Meadow Lou Farm in Winnsboro will have BBQ and hash on Saturday and kids can take home a pumpkin or sunflower plant, while supplies last.
The little ones might also enjoy the animals at REDS Farm in Ridgeway or Royale Blair Farms in Blair. Or, for an “agriculturally based entertainment and education” experience, swing over to Rosewood Farm and Agripark in Winnsboro where you’ll find hay rides, a petting zoo, Lipizzaner horse demonstrations, inflatables, bungee jumping and a rock wall.
When you’re done with all of the physical activity, have a cup of tea (hot or cold) and a snack or slice of cake at Cornwallis House Tea Company in Winnsboro.
For a spectacular view of the many varieties of orchids, stroll through the 15 greenhouses at Carter & Holmes Orchids, just outside Newberry.
Over in Union County, learn about cattle breeding at Fowken Farms in Jonesville or walk through the Piedmont Physic Garden in Union. The botanical garden was inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden in London and features plants with historical medicinal uses.
The Ag+Art Tour website features a more complete list of farms, markets and art and agricultural related attractions and events — in addition to maps that will make it easy to plan your trip.
Ag + Art Tour
What: A free, self-guided tour of farms in South Carolina featuring local artisans and farmers markets.
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays in June
Where: Each weekend in June features a different group of counties.
▪ June 17-18: Kershaw and Lancaster
▪ June 24-25: Fairfield, Newberry and Union
What: Live music, open studio, heavy hors d’oeuvres with complimentary bottle of Dixie Bee Honey, cash bar
When: 6-8 p.m Friday
Where: Bob Doster’s Backstreet Studio, 217 East Gay St., Lancaster
Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for children.
What: Farm to Table dinner. For part of the dinner, Chef Wes Fulmer, of Motor Supply Co. Bistro in Columbia, will be preparing a seared roulade of Bowers Farm chicken with handmade ricotta dumplings.
When: 7 p.m. June 22
Where: Waldrop Farm, 2396 Spearman Road, Newberry
What: Field-to-Fork dinner
When: 6-8 p.m. June 22
Where: Main Street Junction, 107 E. Main St., Union
Tickets: $25, available at Sanders Gardening Center, 101 Times Blvd., Union
Info: (864) 427-3367