Lavender, Beer, and Rabbits

A diversity of farm tour experiences, through People-First Tourism

by Victoria Slone Dickson

Itineraries: People-First Tourism
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If you’re looking for a spontaneous and unique trip to Chatham’s many agri-tourism destinations, then look no further than our People-First experiences. People-First Tourism highlights Chatham’s own micro-entrepreneurs, allowing previous visitors to rediscover Chatham. Explore lavender, beer, and other working farms, along with local food and stunning natural scenery. Check out the full itinerary of events below:

Start your day at Bluebird Hill Farm in Bennett, a certified organic 22195680155_1a8949c915_ogrower whose fields feature unusual fruits and herbs you won’t find anywhere else in our region. They grow everything from native plants to medicinal and culinary herbs, and raise free-range chicken and guinea hen eggs too. Sign up for one of their many workshops, where you’ll learn new skills such as soap making and growing and using herbs. Afterwards, drive over to Willett Farm and hear owner Crystal Willett share her extensive experience on raising small livestock. The two-hour visit details the challenges and rewards of running a small family farm, and includes a tour of the hatchery and nursery, hen house, and several small coops. Visit Wally Butler, wine maker, at SilkHope Winery, which is one of the original wineries on the Heart of NC Trails.

Stop in Siler City for lunch and an afternoon of shopping. Find some hearty southern cooking at or Bestfood misc 002Cafeteria, or discover your favorite fries and shakes at Johnson’s, Crossroads Grill, or PC’s Cool Place. After you eat, shop around at one of Siler City’s many downtown shops. If you’re looking for gardening supplies, or just want to keep up the agritourism spirit, then definitely check out Farmers’ Alliance. Along with their unique gardening items, you’ll also find hoop cheese, coffee, glass drinks, and more. Enjoy dinner in town, or if you plan your trip accordingly, head over to Celebrity Dairy (where you’ll also be spending the night), and enjoy one of their third Sunday farm-to-fork dinners.

Wake up to a delicious breakfast from Celebrity Dairy. Some of their staple items incagritourism 073lude farm-raised eggs, fresh-baked breads and muffins, goat cheeses, and preserves. Then head on over to Cohen Farm, a family owned and operated farm specializing in organic, grain-fed meats, which they sell to many local residents and restaurants. Follow Esta Cohen as she explains the organic farming practices that make their pastureland and generous vegetable garden so successful. Along with a tour of the farm, you’ll also experience an up-close visit with the animals and lots of fun farm activities, making it a perfect outing for families. Your next stop is SilkHope Winery, where you’ll witness incredible views from their beautiful vineyards. Chatham’s first winery is constantly working on new and flavorful wines, which you’ll get to taste on your tour. They’ll also teach you about the wine-making process, as well as what grapes they use and what conditions are ideal for growing them.

Your last stop before lunch is Farm Boy Farms, a beer farm dedicated to providing quality, local brewing Jan12 047ingredients to microbreweries and expert home brewers. Since tours are by demand, you’ll have to call ahead of time to schedule your visit, and while you’re there, you’ll see the entire farm, including the hop yard and malt house. Plan your trip in the fall to participate in one of their harvest events, where you’ll learn about harvesting through hands-on farm work. Afterwards the farm owner will provide free pizza and beer for all participants. On your way into Pittsboro, stop for lunch at Natural Chef Cafe, and enjoy a sustainable, yet affordable meal. The restaurant uses locally farmed and sourced food to make carefully prepared dishes for their ever-changing menu. Call ahead of time if you’re curious about what they’re serving.

There’s a large variety of agritourism related businesses both inside and outside of Pittsboro. You can find locally grown produce and more at the Chatham Marketplace. The Crossroads_Grill 002local co-op is surrounded by a flowering pollinator garden where you’ll witness insects of all kinds buzzing around the grounds. Experienced and interested orchid growers alike will enjoy the Orchid Gallery. They carry thousands of hybrid and species orchids for retail or wholesale, and even offer repotting and problem solving sessions for those struggling with their plant. Everyone from market growers to home gardeners can find all the supplies they need for their next project at Country Farm and Home. Originally a farmers ex22008680029_8b2960af5f_ochange, this store has preserved many of the traditions that continue to make it a unique destination, including quality customer service, personalized service, and a friendly atmosphere. Finish your evening at Bella Donna, where they mix fresh, local ingredients with imported items like olive oil to make a scrumptious, authentic Italian meal. Enjoy a salad made with one of their homemade dressings, or their cut-to-order pastas, which they make on-sight daily. After dinner, head to Small B&B and stay in one of their unconventional, yet comfortable spaces.

Small B&B is the perfect place to savor a breakfast focused on locally sourced food and sustainability. Their specials change daily, but you can always count on having eggs and omelets, breakfast meats, smashed potatoes, baked goods, and French toast. Next you’ll visit Piedmont Biofarm, an environmentally conscious and unconvFeb13 023entional farm that utilizes soil conservation practices to better the nutrition and flavor of their produce. Because of they focus on the importance of education, Piedmont Biofarm hosts regular workshops and farm tours that share their passion for good food, farming, and the environment. Then pop into Angelina’s Kitchen, who partners with local farms across Chatham to bring you New Mexican inspired Greek cuisine. Their pitas, salads, and soups are perfect for when you’re on the go, so feel free to pick up your lunch and take it to Mezza Luna’s Lavender Farm. Grower/owner Lourdes Santos will lead you on a tour through their scenic yet intoxicating lavender fields. You’ll learn about various types of lavender and their decorative and health related uses. The farm also features a great selection of lavender products, including lavender ice cream!

After the tour, spend the rest of your afternoon at the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. Hike or cycle one of their many trails and loops, then enjoy swimming or fishing at the beach. Once evening approaches, feel free to drive back into Pittsboro and indulge in a farm-to-fork dinner from Oakleaf. Their seasonal menu includes appetizers and entrées made with locally grown and sourced food.

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