Farm City Day 2020 Virtual Ag Tour

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farm city day logo 2020

Farm City Day, an annual agricultural awareness fair started in 1955, celebrates rural traditions, introduces the urban population to some common farming activities, and allows farmers to meet their urban customers. In normal years, this FREE event utilizes approximately 70 acres of Jackson Park for urban, rural, and educational displays, antiques and modern farm equipment, and crafters from many generations.
The event has only been canceled twice since 1955; once for a hurricane and second for COVID-19 in 2020. People who wanted to attend Farm City Day can still learn about agriculture in Henderson County in 2020. An opportunity for increasing anyone’s agricultural awareness about Henderson County’s farming community is available.
Farm City Day fans can take a ‘virtual ag tour’ of Henderson County. In cooperation with AgHC the county’s agricultural business development organization, the Farm City Day Committee is pleased to be able to offer these videos as a meager substitute for the agricultural awareness mission of Farm City Day. We hope you enjoy!

Henderson County Virtual Agricultural Tours 

golden apple picking

Agricultural Education
Farm City Day, started in 1955 and hosted by the N.C. Cooperative Extension,
Henderson County Center, celebrates our rural traditions and introduces the urban population to the county’s agricultural heritage. The Farm City Day event is scheduled for the first Saturday in October annually. The event is located at Jackson Park, Hendersonville, NC, and begins at 10:00 a.m. continuing until 4:00 p.m. This FREE event utilizes approximately 70 acres of Jackson Park for urban, rural, and educational displays, antiques and modern farm equipment, and crafters from many generations. A special youth area features many hands-on activities including petting farm animals, old-timey craft demonstrations, and a fishing pond. Enjoy many children’s games and stay for a wagon ride though the park. Planned entertainment includes two stages of musicians performing throughout the day. Food vendors and displays cover two fields.
Historic Johnson Farms is a heritage education museum owned by Henderson County Public Schools. It is managed by volunteers and the Historic Johnson Farm Foundation, Inc 501(c)(3). It offers school field trips, historic home tours, nature trails, picnic tables, animals, and 10 historic structures on 15 acres of forest, fields, and streams. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a North Carolina Cultural Treasure.
Apple Orchards and Agritourism
Stepps Hillcrest Orchard  For nearly 50 years, The Stepp Family has been inviting guests to pick their own apples on their 70-acre working farm and apple orchard in Hendersonville, NC. They invite families to visit the farm to experience fun, family-friendly farm activities in a beautiful country setting on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina near Asheville. People can pick their own apples and pumpkins or select from varieties of pre-picked apples. Kids can navigate their 5-acre corn maze or try hitting a target with the apple cannon. Parents can visit their Country Market for a delicious cup of apple cider or an apple cider slushy. Enjoy apple cider or pumpkin donuts, fresh from our own bakery. Bring a lunch to enjoy in the picnic area beside the orchard.
Skytop Orchard  The mountains of western North Carolina are full of pick your own u-pick orchards. In addition to a long list of apple varieties, visit Sky Top Orchard and you’ll enjoy panoramic mountain views, orchard ponds with ducks and geese, a barnyard area with sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, and more, a bamboo forest to explore, lots of picnic areas and, of course, a mountaintop of fragrant apple and fruit trees. When you purchase a bushel of apples, a wagon load of pumpkins, or a cooler full of apple cider you’ll take home more than the makings for delicious fall recipes, you’ll take home a mountain of memories too. And don’t forget our famous apple cider doughnuts. They’re an autumn tradition. We bet you can’t eat just one.
Granddad’s Orchards  Visit Grandad’s for the day and enjoy a variety of fun activities on a 100-acre family farm located in Hendersonville NC near Asheville. Select pre-picked apples fresh off the trees daily from our bins inside the store or venture out in the orchard to pick for yourself. In Grandad’s pumpkin patch you will find pumpkins and jack o’ lanterns in every size and shape. At Grandad’s Barn and Country Store, you will find a great selection of fall harvest decorations, apple peelers, apple bakers, and other apple gifts. They also have apple turnovers, apple bread, caramel apples, and a whole lot more. And, don’t forget to try a refreshing cider slush or some hot cider! Visit their bakery where they have hot cider donuts all day along with apple pies, apple cider slushies and so many other apple goodies to eat!
Justus Orchards  The Justus Family has been growing delicious NC Apples in Hendersonville for more than Four Generations, their Fifth generation is now an active part of Justus Orchard as well. At the NC Apple Orchard, you will find U Pick or We Pick Apples, Blackberries, and Pumpkins  Whether you choose to U Pick or We Pick, you can sample, mix and match to make sure you go home with your favorite apples for eating or cooking. You’re invited to experience picking your own NC Apples, enjoy a day in the beautiful Western North Carolina Mountains, there is something for everyone and all ages. Tour the orchard picking apples, stop by the pond to see the ducks, visit the farm animals, let the kids take a ride on the Cow Train through the orchard, visit Apple House for pre-picked Apples, Honey, Jams, Jellies, and Preserves and other homemade goodies. Visit the Bakery which offers famous homemade Fried Apple Pies, Apple Cider Donuts, Apple Cider, Cider Slushies, Caramels, Apple Bread, and more! You can also find fresh Mountain Cabbage, Sweet Potatoes, and other local fall vegetables.
Johnson Family Farms is now offering Veg-Out baskets which come in three size options. The largest basket is made up of 16 pieces of vegetables, the medium is 10 pieces, and the small comes with 6 pieces. These pieces are completely up to you- you create and customize your veg-out basket each time you order. You can also add honey, pork, beef, apple butter, cheese, and more for an additional price!!!
Cider and Wine
Bold Rock Cider is proud to say they’ve won more than 100 awards, and their cider can now be found throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. But all of this growth hasn’t sacrificed quality. Dedicated cider makers crush and craft locally picked apples to create a variety of crisp and refreshing hard cider styles. That’s true of the two cideries they built and established at both ends of the Blue Ridge, including their flagship timber frame Cider Barn in Nellysford, Virginia, as well as their facility in the western North Carolina mountain town of Mills River. As more people continue to enjoy their freshly crafted cider, they are committed to preserving Bold Rock’s founding ideals: Real Apples. Real Craft. Real People.
Burntshirt Winery  The legend lives on to this day on the majestic land that is now Burntshirt Vineyards, a family-run wine company with a dedication to craftsmanship spanning 80 years. What started primarily as a grape growing operation evolved into the idea of a winery when owners Lemuel and Sandra Oates, recognizing the quality of their fruit and the opportunity to be a part of the thriving North Carolina wine industry, decided to embark on production of their own premium, estate wines. The Oates family of Hendersonville, North Carolina remains true to the spirit of producing high-quality products with wines of unique character for all who visit their beloved community to enjoy.
Parts of Henderson County are now designated an American Viticulture Area. The designation now establishes approximately 215-square miles in Henderson County as the AVA named “Crest of the Blue Ridge Henderson County.” For a wine to be labeled with an AVA name, at least 85 percent of the wine must be derived from grapes grown within the area represented by that name.
Saint Paul Winery/Appalachian Ridge Cidery was the first commercial vineyard in Henderson County. They are a family owned winery, located on acreage that has been in the family and farmed for more than nine generations. Their tasting room includes both indoor and outdoor seating with spectacular views of our vineyards. Saint Paul wines are made from 14 varieties of grapes grown in two locations at elevations of 2,300 and 3,000 feet, the highest in Henderson County, and some of the highest in the state. Saint Paul wines are produced and crafted by a full-time winemaker, a graduate of California Polytechnic University with more than 14 years of experience in producing wine in Sonoma, California before coming to North Carolina. They offer a wide variety of venues, indoor and outdoor, for your wedding or special event. Their tasting room is open year round.
Economic Development
AgHC  Henderson County is fortunate to have a county staff member who specializes in agriculture economic development. Mr. Mark Williams has been very successful over the years bringing new agricultural businesses to Henderson County. With more than 250 existing farms and agribusinesses, Henderson County has been the perfect fit for many businesses.
Highly diverse in ag-production and unique growing climate with rich soils, warm days, cool mountain nights, ample, high-quality water, with a strong agricultural infrastructure for growing, storing, processing & distribution, Henderson County has a lot to offer agricultural operations. From greenhouse production to cider production and distribution to cutting edge farming technology, learn why these Agri-Businesses chose Henderson County as their home!
Biltmore Cattle Farm  The animals you see grazing when you drive through Biltmore are not just decorative—they play a major role in continuing George Vanderbilt’s vision of a self-sustaining, working estate. Black Angus cattle, White Dorper sheep, chickens, and even guard donkeys contribute to keeping Biltmore a working farm.
At Mills River Creamery and Dairy, they use their own herd of Jersey Cows to make a number of milk products that are available to commercial and individual consumers.
Bradley Johnston is a third-generation dairy farmer from the Avery’s Creek area of Buncombe County. He grew up working at his family’s dairy farm, Tap Root Dairy, which relocated to Mills River in 1975. Bradley knew from a young age that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and work at the dairy, which is where he worked until Tap Root Dairy stopped producing milk in 2017. Bradley wanted to continue in the Dairy business and in August of 2014, he and his partner, Nancy Waycaster, opened Mills River Creamery at the corner of Hwy 280 and Hwy 191 in Mills River using milk from Tap Root Dairy. That August of 2014, they bottled their first cream line milk and began to offer it to the community through the Creamery. In 2016 he purchased an old dairy farm off of Hwy 191 in Mills River, and Mills River Dairy was born.
Organic Produce
Hendersonville Community Coop began as a buying club in 1978 with a group of 15 families who were interested in buying wholesome food at discount prices. In 1983, HCC became incorporated. During its history, the co-op has had several locations before arriving at their present one on South Charleston Lane. In the years leading up to 2016, they went through an expansion process to move their store to its new expanded location. Several of the founding members are still active in the co-op and during this time our membership has continued to rise. Approximately 3000 families and individuals share ownership of the co-op. The mission of the Hendersonville Community Co-op is to provide organic and wholesome, natural foods, supplements, and health care products, and to encourage informed choice through education and exceptional service to their customers and community.
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) is a nonprofit based in Asheville, North Carolina, serving the Southern Appalachian region. Their mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. ASAP has three primary program areas:
  • The Local Food Campaign drives public demand for local farm products, builds farmer capacity to access market opportunities, and creates connections within the food system. Programs include Asheville City Market, the Local Food Guide, Appalachian Grown certification program, ASAP’s Farm Tour, and the Business of Farming Conference.
  • Growing Minds Farm to School Program provides training and resources to educators, health and wellness professionals, and others to create positive local food and farm experiences that promote health and education for our children, farms, and communities.
  • The Local Food Research Center studies and communicates the impacts of localizing food systems.
Rowcrop Farming
North River Farms  Jason Davis has been farming in Mills River, North Carolina, since 1999. On their operation, North River Farms, which spans nearly 1600 acres, Jason and his wife Chae produce row crops, vegetables, forage, and livestock, in addition to his agritourism endeavors.
While production is important to Jason, so is having folks out to the farm to learn about agriculture and reconnect with nature. “We’re excited to bring people to the farm. We teach them about where their food came from as well as about our natural resource management initiative here,” Jason said.
By way of his agritourism, Jason started DB Bar D Outfitters. It offers guided and semi-guided hunting and fishing excursions in North Carolina, as well as other outdoor experiences. Jason and his team are dedicated to promoting, preserving, and protecting natural resources so future generations can continue to enjoy the outdoors.
Turf and Ornamentals
Supersod  With 7 farms and 13 stores, Super-Sod can provide you with unmatched availability and selection of grasses. We ship throughout Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Turf Mountain Sod At Turf Mountain Sod. Inc., are focused on providing quality sod with highest levels of customer satisfaction; they will do everything they can to meet your expectations.
Linda’s Plants & Shrubs is a family owned and operated nursery and garden center serving Western North Carolina since 1984. Their greenhouses and main retail operation are located 4 miles east of Hendersonville, NC. They have been in business providing exceptional plants for some of WNC and upstate South Carolina’s most beautiful gardens. Over 35,000 square feet of annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, vegetables, herbs, trees and shrubs are grown and sold locally. They also produce crops of apples, pumpkins, gourds & winter squash for your fall harvest and decorating needs. They are open year round  at our Hendersonville location and seasonally at the WNC Farmers Market in Asheville, NC.
Garden Jubilee Festival attracts over 100,000 people to Henderson County. Over 600 vendors sell gardening supplies. Most local green industry businesses are represented.
Local Agricultural Agencies
The Henderson County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) works with federal, state and local partners to provide educational, technical and financial assistance to conserve soil, improve water quality, and enhance the natural resources of Henderson County. The District accomplishes this by assisting local farmers with conservation plan designs and best management practices to keep soil in the fields and out of waterways. SWCD also serves developers and homeowners requesting assistance with managing their properties in an environmentally friendly way. Lastly, the vibrant education program offered by SWCD supports local teachers in their environmental education efforts with engaging in-school and out-of-school lessons. Recent SWCD projects include the installation of farm ponds, restoration of urban streams, building of agricultural chemical handling facilities, and creation of virtual education content, to name a few. The District exists to serve the citizens of Henderson County and is excited about continuing to develop and implement beneficial conservation programs. Check out the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts webpage to learn more!

If you have questions, please contact:

Steve D. Pettis
Commercial and Consumer Horticulture Agent
100 Jackson Park Rd.
Hendersonville, NC 28792
office – (828) 697-4891