Exploring Agricultural Heritage
Visitors can learn about the rich agricultural heritage of the Blue Ridge mountains and foothills in North Carolina by visiting a great variety of working farms, orchards, and vineyards as well as historic farm sites and museums.
The many vineyards and wineries in the North Carolina mountains and foothills can be found at visitncwine.com.
The Local Food Guide, published in print and online by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, leads visitors to family farms, farmers' tailgate markets, u-pick farms, apple orchards and bed & breakfasts in Western North Carolina that sell locally grown farm products. The guide is free and available throughout the region.
Among the hundreds of sites where visitors can experience the rich agricultural heritage of the North Carolina mountains and foothills, a number reflect a specific time or place in the region's history:
Carl Sandburg Home (Flat Rock, NC). Not only was Sandburg a man of letters, he also became a gentleman farmer on his North Carolina homestead, where his wife raised prize goats.
Cradle of Forestry (Brevard, NC). Truly the birthplace of modern forestry management, the Cradle includes an interpretive exhibit about the founding of the first forestry school in America.
Historic Johnson Farm (Hendersonville, NC). On this late 19th century tobacco farm now owned and operated by the Henderson County Public Schools, visitors have the opportunity to experience a disappearing lifestyle—the family farm.
John C. Campbell Folk School (Brasstown, NC). The school's one-acre "homestead garden" boasts heirloom peppers and tomatoes and other vegetables grown from seeds exchanged by neighbors, as was the custom in pioneer times.
Mountain Farm Museum (Cherokee, NC). Demonstrations by volunteers in period costume illustrate farm life in pioneer times.
North Carolina Arboretum (Asheville, NC). This lush and diverse 426-acre garden was a vision of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The grounds are laced with trails for both hiking and biking through incredible gardens.
Orchard at Altapass (Spruce Pine, NC). More than 3,000 old-variety apple trees are only part of the charm of a visit to this historic orchard, which today offers visitors a taste and tales of days gone by.
Hendersonville Apple Orchards (Hendersonville, NC). Visit Hendersonville apple orchards and farms where you can buy NC apples and locally grown farm produce at many roadside stands and farmers' markets August to November. You can pick your own apples in many of the orchards. Every April there are several Apple Blossom Tour routes you can travel by car to view the beautiful apple trees in bloom in Hendersonville Orchards. Sixty-five percent of the state's apples are grown in this area, making the county's Blue Ridge Apple Growers North Carolina's number one apple producers.