Folks in Anson, Richmond, Moore and Montgomery counties got the chance on Saturday to take a closer look at 17 local farms, as part of the second Sandhills Farm Tour.
All 17 farms were located in one of the four counties, including four in Anson. The farm tour was started by the Cooperative Extension offices in Anson, Richmond, Moore and Montgomery counties as a way to bring more awareness to the buy local movement. It also helps local farmers connect with potential new customers.
The tour kicked off at the Sandhills Research Station in Montgomery County, which was established by N.C. State University in 1940 on 100 acres. The research station provides land, labor, equipment and management to support agricultural research. According to literature provided as part of the tour, some of the research going on at the site currently includes field crops like soybeans and cotton, horticulture such as peaches, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and ornamentals, and turf grass. Other research includes pest management, cultural crop management, plant-water relationships and crop nutrient utilization.
At Sandhills Research Station, H.L. Carpenter and his wife, Charlie Ann, of Polkton’s Honey Love Apiary gave a demonstration and talk on beekeeping.
Carpenter started off his talk by stating that settlers brought honey bees to the U.S. from Europe; they are not native to America. However, he said, today, the country is in danger of losing its honey bee population. “China does not have honey bees anymore,” he said. “We’re dedicated to making sure we don’t lose them here.”
Honey bees are not only good for making honey, Carpenter pointed out. They are also the biggest pollinators in the world. “Pollination is so important for animals and livestock,” he added.
Carpenter explained in detail how one goes about creating a hive and raising bees. He and his wife have been raising bees since 2008, he added.
The other Anson County farms on the tour included Bountiful Harvest Farm in Polkton, Peaches n’ Cream stand in Wadesboro, Red Barn Produce in Wadesboro and Pee Dee Orchards in Lilesville. Peaches n’ Cream and Pee Dee Orchards both offer peaches grown in local orchards, homemade ice cream, jams and jellies. Bountiful Harvest is a family-owned operation that produces heritage breed poultry and free-range farm-fresh eggs. Red Barn Produce offers summer vegetables, such as tomatoes, corn, peas, beans and potatoes.