It’s not often that many people have the chance to get up close and personal with a woolly pig, or eat pizza from a farm-side brick oven, but attendees of the 2021 ASAP Farm Tour will be able to do that this weekend.
Smoky Mountain Mangalitsa and Ten Acre Garden are the two Haywood County farms featured in this year’s ASAP Farm Tour “West Cluster.” ASAP, which stands for Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, organizes the annual self-guided tour, which draws around 1,500 people to more than 20 farms within an hour of Asheville, North Carolina. This year’s tour takes place Sept. 18–19.
ASAP Communications Manager Sarah Hart says the farm tour is a great opportunity for people to learn about where their food comes from.
“We live in a region where there are so many farms,” Hart said. “Any farm visit is a good opportunity to make connections and to reach folks who may not think about food on a regular basis.”
There will be plenty of opportunities to learn about food on this weekend’s tour. Each farm is selected to represent the diversity of agriculture in this area.
Danny Barrett, owner of Ten Acre Garden in Canton, is looking forward to showcasing new practices on his farm to visitors.
“We’ve changed the way we’re growing stuff,” Barrett said. “We’re switching to permaculture and thought it would be interesting for people to see that change.”
Although Barrett welcomes visitors on a regular basis, the farm tour is sure to bring more people out to the 150-year-old family farm. Visitors will be able to explore a handmade labyrinth and enjoy late summer offerings of flowers, peppers and tomatoes. And on Saturday night, Barrett and his team will be cooking up pizza in the farm’s brick oven.
There’s only one other farm in Haywood County — Smoky Mountain Mangalitsa in Waynesville. Former yacht captains Rick and Catherine Topel raise Mangalitsa pigs, a woolly heritage breed, for their unique properties. Dubbed the “Kobe beef of pork,” Mangalitsa pigs are known for their high fat content, which lends itself to some deeply flavorful meat.
Smoky Mountain Mangalitsa also offers agrotourism options and is excited to share their expanded “glamping” opportunities with visitors, Catherine said.
Unfortunately, due to road and property damage from Tropical Storm Fred, Sustainabillies/Two Trees Farm had to pull out of this year’s farm tour. The permaculture farm in Canton boasts a geodesic dome, flowers, vegetables, chickens, peacocks and a blacksmith shop.
“We wanted to make sure the farm was safe for everybody and didn’t feel like we could do that,” said co-owner Sara Martin. “We were heartbroken.”
Although Sustainabillies/Two Trees Farm will not be on the ASAP Farm Tour, Martin and her husband Dustin Cornelison can still be found at Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market on Saturdays. Martin said they also plan to host classes on the farm in 2022 and will be offering private farm tours in the coming weeks. ASAP Farm Tour attendees can receive a discounted price on private farm tours.
For anyone planning to embark on the ASAP Farm Tour this weekend, Hart suggests only trying to visit a handful of farms each day, to really soak up the experience.
“We recommend you plan your route based on three or four farms per day, depending on your stamina or if you have kids,” Hart said. “We want people to make the most of their time.”
Passes are sold by car and are good for both days. Visit asapconnections.org to purchase a pass, get driving directions and learn about all the farms.