Farms That You Can Visit in Madison County, North Carolina
If you are looking for a family farm to visit, Madison County in the Blue Ridge Mountains has a wide range of agricultural options for your experience. Goats and sheep which can provide the yarn for spinning is one choice, or, in the case of the goats, wonderful goat cheese. Then, we have shitake mushroom farms, bee farms, medicinal herb farms and a wide range of organic fruit and vegetable as well as landscape plant growers. We even have a vineyard–the first to start in Madison County. Grass-fed and free-range methods are used on several farms which raise beef, chickens, lamb. Many of the farmers use natural, sustainable farming and permaculture methods. Or, how about a hydroponic greenhouse? Or artisan breads? You can find almost every type of the new methods of natural farming here.
Appleberry Cove Farm and School
If you are looking to visit a small family farm that offers workshops, tours, hikes and demonstrations, here it is! This homestead-type farm is comprised of vegetable, herb, and flower gardens, fruit orchards and berries. Learn about registered LaMancha and Nubian dairy goats and a menagerie of other animals including llamas peafowl and chickens in their natural habitat. They raise medicinal and edible herbs and wild plants. Call or email for more information.
Buffalo Ridge Farm
After retiring to the mountains of North Carolina, Rob and Melanie Kraft elevated a hobby to a business and now have a herd of grass-fed beef. They welcome you to their farm where they know the breeding stock cattle “by name.” Located on 100 acres in the Revere area of the county, the Krafts love to showcase their farm. Farming in the western North Carolina mountains is a challenge, but it is balanced by the beauty of the Laurel River that flows through their property. Buffalo Ridge Farm sells some of Madison County’s finest Black Angus cattle raised with no growth hormones or antibiotics and grass-fed. Call for your farm tour and delight in the experience. Or, call them to purchase some of the tasty cuts of beef.
You might feel as if you have time-traveled back in history when you visit this farm. Andy Bennett operates this draft-horse powered family farm. Their draft horses assist with the many services and products offered. Those range from vegetables in the summer to molasses in the winter. Check during the fall months to come visit the “sugar shack” and watch the process of sorghum syrup making. Also offered are milling services for firewood and other lumber needs. Apprenticeships can be offered seasonally. Let them take you back through the history of farming. Call for appointment to visit this multi-faceted farm.
Eagle Feather Organic Farm
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this farm is a haven for herbalists and naturalists. Madison County has some of the highest quality and most potent ginseng in the world. The Eagle Feather Farm has classes, apprenticeships and tours that further teach and address the natural ways of growing such beneficial herbs as Ginseng, Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, Gotu Kola, and Echinacea. The farm maintains a sustainable environment and, since the plants are grown in their own habitat, there is no need for tractors. Robert Eidus creates final products from wild ginseng and cultivated goldenseal which provide native medicinal plants, seeds and rhizomes. An NCDA nursery, Robert also operates Southern Applachian School for Growing Medicinal Plants.
East Fork Farm
This family-owned and operated farm welcomes and encourages people to visit the farm because they want to share their commitment to health and the living earth. Come see for yourself the difference a free-range, pasture-based life makes for the animals! Stephen and Dawn Robertson employ sustainable farming practices by producing not only superior tasting and healthy meat products, but also preserving and enhancing the ecological health of their farmland and water. You’ll see hens with bright, healthy combs; animals on full display — sheep munching lush orchard grass on sustainable, rotation-based pastures that ensure both the health and vigor of the animals and of the earth itself—wholesome goodness passed along locally. Call first for directions.
Carolyn and Mike Bradley raise black Angus cattle are grown on 130 acres of lush green pastures where Carolyn grew up. Because they care about the land, they do not use antibiotics, hormones or pesticides. Their farming techniques include pasture management using rotational grazing. And, they restore the pastures with the use of limestone, clover and winter annuals to replenish nutrients into the soil. Come and visit to see these farm practices, visit with the cattle and learn from this generational experience.
Nestled in a small cove in Madison County, Finally Farm is a woman-owned farm, offering blueberries and asparagus beginning in May. You might also find greenhouse grown culinary and medicinal herbs as well as perennials and fresh veggies. Visitors can come to the farm to buy directly from the field. Call for your tour today.
Jarvis Japanese Gardens
Jack Jarvis, the landscaper and gardener, teacher, and proprietor at Jarvis Gardens, grew up on the family farm outside Mars Hill. He “learned” landscaping by working on his family’s and neighbors’ homes with native plants. Diverted for a time from his love of landscaping, he farmed corn, tobacco, vegetables. But a big break came in 1986 when a Madison County resident commissioned him to transform her homestead into a Japanese garden. He, then, worked on his own property which is now open for the public to visit. Take a walk through beautifully landscaped paths and a special bonsai display. Call ahead to arrange for a tour led personally by Jack.
Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard
GPS: 35°46’42.71″N, 82°39’25.28″W
Marshall, NC 28753
Who would have thought that Madison County could be a place where you could start a vineyard? Well, Chuck and Jeannie Blethen did! The soil and the weather conditions are perfect for native cold-hardy muscadine grapes and so, you can now visit a vineyard here just north of Asheville. These organically grown grapes have a better taste and make better wine. The state of North Carolina ranks seventh in wine production in the United States and tenth in grape production and the Blethens are hoping that Madison County can be one of the top grape producing counties in the state. Call them for directions to visit Jewel of the Blue Ridge.These rural roads are beautiful but sometimes internet mapping directions don’t work and this is one of those cases. You can use the GPS coordinates above or call the Blethens.
Leaning Willow Farm
Have you seen an Olde English Baby Doll sheep? Leaning Willow Farm is a registered breeder of this magnificent animal and usually have lambs available from June through September. They also raise a variety of heirloom vegetables, oriental greens, plant and herb starts and farm fresh eggs which they sell to Madison County restaurants and our local tailgate market. It’s a locavores delight! (Add a new word to your vocabulary: The locavore movement is a movement which exhibits an interest in sustainability and eco-consciousness in eating. Those who are interested in eating food that is locally produced and which is not moved long distances to market are called “locavores.”) Call for your tour today.
Let It Grow Organic Gardens
Let it Grow Organic Gardens offers a vast cornucopia of quality vegetables. Heirloom vegetables and over 100 varieties of medicinal herbs and flowers and select annuals and perennials are offered at Let It Grow Organic Gardens. The unique pitched roof greenhouse promotes plant health and allows the growth a wide range of varieties Farm tours available upon request. So call to visit today!
Love’s Organic Farm
This certified naturally-grown sustainable family farm has reservation-required tours which are held every Sunday at 2:00p.m. Using organic and permaculture methods and the farm specializes in micro-greens, sprouts, culinary herbs, edible flowers and education. Some of those specialty products include: sun grown sprouts, sunflower greens, buckwheat lettuce, wheatgrass and numerous salad mixes. If you are looking for a workshop to learn more about these practices, call today for your specialized tour at a minimal cost. In all cases for tours, reservations are required.
The whole Mackey family works this farm year round. Why year-round? The hydroponic greenhouses are the reason. Come and experience this unique method of farming and see several varieties of lettuce grown hydroponically as well as winter squash, cane, corn and cabbage. In the fall and winter months molasses is a commodity. The area school systems and the local hospital purchase produce from our farm. Visit for educational tours of hydroponic greenhouse and pastures where the animals graze. Call for appointment today.
Mountain Harvest Organics
It all started when Carl and Julie visited the Appalachian Mountains with hopes of finding a small piece of property that could be their weekend getaway from a fast paced software development lifestyle. They turned this weekend getaway into a full-time productive organic farm. The majority of the production is in vegetables (with about 4 acres of summer squash, sweet corn, green beans, edamame, potatoes and many, many more)–growing about 200 different cultivars. You can see a few herbs among the crops, too. They also share what they learn with apprentices and anyone who wants to visit. Call today for your opportunity to visit this beautiful farm.
Mudluscious Pottery and Gardens
Cindy Trisler and Rod Bowling have approximately two acres in cultivation and grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables using natural, organic methods. A flock of 50 or so hens (along with 3 or 4 roosters) have free range over the property, making the yolks of their eggs richly orange and full of vitamins and minerals. In addition, Rod and Cindy are certified beekeepers raising bees without chemical pesticides (IPM) or food supplements. Their honey is truly pure and natural. They love to showcase the property as well as Cindy’s ceramic pottery studio. So, call for an appointment
If grass-fed, with no hormones or antibiotics, is your choice, please visit our black Angus cattle farm. Nathan Beachey raises his animals humanely with free-range grazing and is willing to share his knowledge and experience. You can have an up close and personal experience with the cattle. Call today for an appointment or to spend a night on the farm.
Rice Family Farm
Madison County is the largest producer of shitake mushrooms in North Carolina. And if you want to visit a farm that specializes in intensive shiitake mushroom farming, you can find it at Rice Family Farm. The family also has a booth on Sundays at Marshall Farmers Market. We offer tours of our mushroom growing operation. Please call today to set up your appointment to learn more about these delectable mushrooms!
Spinning Spider Creamery
Spinning Spider Creamery is a farmstead goat dairy nestled in a mountain cove on Bailey Mountain in Madison County, NC. The high elevation, the pure air and water is reflected in the vitality of their goats. And the production of milk reflects the essence of their unique environment. Chris and Jeff Owen’s entire family participates in the operation of the creamery. The end result is a variety of handcrafted artisan cheeses, brought to their fullest complexity of flavors through care and attention to detail in an old world style. Offered are farm tours, cheese making workshops and educational activities. Call today for a schedule.
Sunswept Farm was born out of the back-to-the-land movement of the early 1970s where many of those who moved to Madison County recognized the need to reestablish a connection with our planet and a sustainable lifestyle. Since that time, the owners of this family farm worked to grow and collect delicious food naturally whether berries, branch lettuce or fish. Here you can find some of the freshest homegrown food available. The farm is also “off the grid” in its use of solar and micro hydroelectrcity. Farms tours are available, so call today to experience this beautiful farm.
Three Graces Dairy
Located in the Shelton Laurel area of Madison County, this state-of-the-art dairy operation is the dream-come-true of a mother and daughter team. Roberta Ferguson and her daughter Sacha Claire Alford raise goats, cows, and sheep (the derivation of the name plus a little Greek mythology thrown in) to produce their wonderful and unique milks which create their exclusive cheeses. Their farmstead cheese embodies the idea of what farming means to them. “Farmstead” means that the cheese must be made from milk from the farm’s own herd. Three Graces takes this feeling one step further and strongly believes in employing local people and in offering not only tours but classes in making cheese.
Wake Robin Farm Breads
Smell the aroma of fresh baked bread European style and whole grain breads from a wood fired oven. Wake Robin Farm has been farmed by the family since the early 1900s. Their wonderful breads are made with local ingredients, using time honored artisan techniques. Using a wood-fired, brick oven, Gail Lunsford and Steve Bardwell bake a variety of artisan breads: whole-grain loaf breads, French-style hearth-baked bread, and dessert breads. If you don’t make it to the farm, you can buy fresh bread at local tailgate markets. If you want to learn how to bake bread in this unique way, call about classes or just call us for a tour.