The 5th annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour was this past weekend, featuring a record 24 sites. While the Piedmont Farm Tour is larger, the Eastern version is growing yearly. Both are sponsored by the hard-working folks at Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
This year’s tour included eight new farms, and I volunteered at one of them, Prodigal Farm in Bahama/Rougemont in Durham County. It was a fun but tiring way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. I kept thinking, wow, if I’m this pooped after four hours, how in the world are the farmers holding up? Prodigal owners Kathryn Spann and Dave Krabbe led tours for about 125-plus people over the course of each day. That’s alongside their usual farm chores (which include milking 65 goats twice a day), selling at two farmers’ market, and doing all the other things farmers do. I get exhausted just thinking about it.
We volunteers checked in visitors, led them to the dairy, and stationed the cheese sample and sales area. Two were farmers themselves, Johnny and Robin Blakley of Buffalo Creek Farm north of Winston-Salem, who make goat milk soap.
My favorite duty was walking people from their cars to the dairy, some three minutes away. My spiel went something like this: Farmers Kathryn and Dave moved here three years ago from New York City, though Kathryn grew up in Durham. They bought this old tobacco farm — it’s 97 acres. There’s the original farmhouse, from the late 1800s, which they plan to fix up some day. And here’s the old tobacco barn. (Imagine me pointing.) They bought a few goats to clear the brush and poison ivy and fell hard for them.
There’s the dairy and cheese-making building. They just got their license to sell cheese two weeks ago, so they’re pretty excited. You’ll get a tour there and you get to visit with the goats. (This is when the kids get really excited.) We also have samples of goat cheese and some for sale. (This is when the adults get really excited.)
The last hour I worked the sample/sales station with Kathryn. By then they’d sold so much cheese that only a few choices were left — marinated feta and a chevre containing sweet and sour curry along with heirloom pear preserves. It was spectacular. Also available was her amazing chocolate goat-cheese cake. Delish.
You can find Dave and Kathryn at Midtown Farmers’ Market at North Hills in Raleigh and the Hillsborough Farmers’ Market at the Home Depot. Look for Prodigal Farm cheeses in restaurants soon, as well. Eventually the farmers plan to hold some regular public tours. Until then, there’s always Eastern Triangle Farm Tour 2011.