Conventional wisdom advises that habits are ingrained after 21 days of repetition. If that theory holds true, then the eat~play~shop local habit requires time and effort to develop. Each month I’ll be sharing “21 Days” of some event, place or organization in the Triangle, enabling (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible) your inner Localista to come out and join us. This month it’s all about local food, farmers markets and farms.
Where agriculture and tourism intersect, one finds agritourism, an opportunity to connect the public more directly with farms, vineyards, corn mazes and orchards. In the Triangle region, five counties joined forces to create a central website for information about agritourism opportunities year round at TriangleGrown.com.
In Orange County, VisitChapelHill.org lists venues where one can experience farm life and farmers’ markets, including Maple View Agricultural Center and Maple View Farm Country Store in Hillsborough. Durham Convention & Visitor’s Bureau highlights Elodie Farms (a family-owned farmstead offering goat cheeses and more) tours, cheese-making classes and dinners on the porch. VisitRaleigh.com covers the greater Wake County area and favorite spots likes Historic Oak View County Park, a 19th-century historic farmstead with a mission to interpret North Carolina’s agricultural heritage and rural history via educational programs, special events and exhibits.
In Chatham county the Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau invites us to explore the Heart of North Carolina Wine Trail, a collection of five wineries where visitors can taste award-winning wines, talk with the wine makers and tour the vineyards. Chatham County is also home to Celebrity Goat Dairy where late Winter Open Barn Days allow visitors to get up close and personal with the newest “crop” of baby goats in scenic country landscapes at a historic inn known for its local food dinners and chevre.
Just east of the Triangle, the Johnston County Visitors Bureau reminds us that they have the largest number of working farms in North Carolina and leads the nation in production of cash crops, including sweet potatoes. Where tobacco was once pervasive, visitors can tour the Tobacco Farm Life Museum that chronicles the everyday life of Eastern North Carolina farm families and see the depression-era homestead including the kitchen, packhouse, and tobacco barn.
As the weather turns warmer, take some time to peruse the Triangle Grown website for family-friendly activities to explore this Spring, Summer and Fall.