Farm Fresh North Carolina by Diane Daniel is a comprehensive guide to some of the state’s stellar farmers markets, wineries, dairies, and CSAs. Below are a few of our favorite finds from the book. To order, go to www.farmfreshnorthcarolina.com.
By Elizabeth Crowder
Mountain Farm (Burnsville): The drive up to this farm is spectacular enough to earn this location a spot on the list. The spectacle doesn’t end there; features include naturally grown lavender, a lavender labyrinth, dairy goats, and a U-pick blueberry patch. Check out the “Happenings” section on page 46 for information on the farm’s summer Lavender Festival. www.mountainfarm.net; 828-675-4856.
Apple Hill Farm (Banner Elk): While alpacas are the darlings of this Boone farm, llamas, donkeys, and goats are also residents of Apple Hill’s beautiful barn. Owner Lee Rankin sells fresh produce, goods made from alpaca fleece, and goat-milk soap. 828-963-1662; www.applehillfarmnc.com.
Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream: This featured recipe comes from Jackie and Louie Hough of Raft Swamp Farms. Incorporating spices such as cinnamon and allspice with local sweet potatoes, this decadent dessert is the perfect way to enjoy your veggies in the summer heat.
Sky Top Orchard (Zirconia): Daniel describes this Henderson County orchard as an “apple-picking heaven.” It serves as a great destination for families on the weekends in the fall, when hayrides and a barnyard accompany the fruit picking. Be sure to savor a taste of their famous cider donuts. 828-692-7930; www.skytoporchard.com.
Sleepy Goat Farm (Pelham): Guests to this Pelham farm can spend the day learning to make goat cheese. Baby goats also provide an adorable distraction. 336-388-0703; www.sleepygoatfarm.com.
The Inn at Celebrity Dairy (Siler City): Farmer and innkeeper Brit Pfann encourages guests of his original 1800 cabin to join him for either morning or evening rounds of feeding and milking dozens of goats. Pfann also makes guests breakfast from fresh eggs and goat cheese made on the farm. 919-742-5176; www.celebritydairy.com.
Shelton Herb Farm (Leland): Just west of Wilmington, this family farm grows more than two dozen types of basil alone, not to mention more than 100 varieties of other herbs. 910-253-5964.
Pee Dee Orchards (Lilesville): Peaches are one of the quintessential summer fruits, and this farm stand along Highway 74 in Anson County can quench any beachgoer’s peach cravings. Fresh peach ice cream is also available. 704-848-4801.
Grapefull Sisters Vineyard (Tabor City): No need for a designated driver when visiting this coastal vineyard. This location boasts a tasting room as well as an on-site bed and breakfast and campground. 910-653-2944; www.grapefullsistersvineyard.com.
Ashten’s Restaurant (Southern Pines): This restaurant epitomizes the concept of a local gourmand, serving such dishes as Artichoke Heart Pops, an appetizer of artichokes stuffed with local herbed chèvre, local tomatoes, and fresh herbs. 910-246-3510; www.ashtens.com.