One of the goals of Stony Woods Estate is to curate a list of enjoyable area experiences for our guests and their families. There are activities in the greater Asheville area that visitors will find with or without our help (Biltmore House, anyone?). We want to help locate fun places to visit that might be less well-known but still worth a visit. With this in mind, we signed up for the 2019 ASAP Farm Tour, an economical way to visit a large number of farms over the course of a weekend.
On Day 1, we focused on Madison County (our neighbors!) and West Asheville, which made an easy drive. Our first stop was Greenshine Farms in Marshall, just a quick drive from our place. (A shout out to them for giving us a tour even though we inadvertently showed up more than an hour early!) Greenshine is an example of a family literally homesteading their property and creating and developing the tools they need to successfully provide fresh micro-greens to area markets and restaurants. This is an active working farm. I don’t think tours are a regular part of their business, so they won’t appear on on our curated list; however, we loved their spirit and interest in teaching others to homestead. They welcome volunteers and potential homesteaders to their property to learn more about their experience. They also have a YouTube channel where they share their lessons learned. Check it out to see more than 40 videos on their experience.
From Greenshine, we headed over to Farmhouse Beef, also in Madison County. We were a little early there as well – at least as far as the cows were concerned as they were hiding out in the shade of the forest. We spoke with the owner and learned a bit about herd rotation. We were also excited to see that they are actively selling grass-fed beef in quantities less than a whole cow. They don’t regularly offer tours at this point, but they will make our local supplier list for sure!
Our next two stops will make our curated list. In fact, they are close enough to be visited on a single trip. We dropped in on Addison Farms Vineyard. Our timing was perfect since it began to rain. (What a hardship! Stranded at a wine tasting.) Their property was beautiful as some of our pictures managed to capture. They regularly offer vineyard tours and tastings. The young woman who guided our tasting was very informative on each type of wine and preferred pairings. They also offer an elevated tasting at midday on Saturdays, which includes the sampling of their wines plus a local charcuterie and cheese plate. The staff advised that they also arrange private catered parties upon request. It would be a great local experience for retreat participants, family reunions, or business groups.
As of May 2018, they have six varieties in the vineyard: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Petit Verdot, and Petite Manseng. They have produced a variety of award-winning wines.
We dodged raindrops after our tasting and headed over to Franny’s Farm, a well-known local organic farm that is home to many animals such as highland cows (aren’t they cute?!), chickens, pigs, goats and a donkey. There are vegetable, fruit, flower, bee and pollinator gardens as well as a u-pick blueberry hill. The sky decided to open up and drop buckets of water while we were there, so we donned boots and raincoats to see what we could see. We’ll head back that way during better weather to see what we missed (and visit the cows – did I mention how cute they are?)
Franny’s has also become synonymous with area hemp farming and CBD oil since they also have several stores, Franny’s Farmacy, in the area. If you are interested in understanding this growing trend, Franny’s is the place to learn more. In addition to their farm tour and hikes throughout their property, kids can visit with the animals, and Franny’s is happy to schedule private events including goat yoga sessions (yes, really. We might need to do one of these.)
If we were planning an outing, we would pair Addison Farms and Franny’s, then head over to White Duck Taco Shop in Asheville or Universal Joint on Haywood Road, or Bonfire Barbeque on Patton Avenue. We encourage our guests to try something new when it comes to food. Don’t eat something you can easily get at home. When visiting a Food-topia like Asheville, it is often well worth stepping out of your comfort zone.
Stay tuned for Farm Tour – Part Two, when we explore Fairview and Mills River. Good news – rain boots were NOT required.