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ASAP'S Farm Tour this weekend celebrates local food, local farms

On June 24 and 25, people can experience how food is grown and raised in the Western North Carolina mountains, taste farm-fresh products, visit with farm animals, and meet the region's local food and fiber producers. (Photo credit: ASAP)

On June 24 and 25, people can experience how food is grown and raised in the Western North Carolina mountains, taste farm-fresh products, visit with farm animals, and meet the region's local food and fiber producers.

As part of this year's ASAP Farm Tour, visitors can explore over 20 family farms through guided tours, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.

Every year, farms on the Farm Tour provide unique hands-on experiences exclusive to Farm Tour attendees.

Spinning Spider Creamery in Madison County will offer visitors a chance to interact with their farm animals, including milking dairy goats and playing with the baby goats. Holly Spring Farm in Henderson County will teach visitors about caring for heirloom and conventional tomatoes.

"We grow many different vegetables that we sell at local farmers markets and restaurants," said farm co-owner Paul Shoemaker. "But we are best known for our tomatoes, which are our specialty."

Holly Spring Farm will provide educational tours on tomato pruning, preparation, planting, and harvesting methods.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is hosting Brews & Barns Dinner as an ASAP Farm Tour kickoff. The event is a four course, beer-paired, family-style dinner featuring ingredients from farms on the Farm Tour.

Happening Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. in Sierra Nevada's High Gravity Room, tickets are $100 per person with proceeds going to ASAP. Gratuity is included in the purchase of a ticket as is the opportunity to win a weekend Farm Tour pass, or purchase one at 50 percent off.

For more information about the dinner, contact taproomeventsnc@sierranevada.com or visit asapconnections.org.

Another way to support ASAP and local farms during the week of the Farm Tour is by shopping at Whole Foods Market and Greenlife Grocery on June 22, 2017. Five percent of the stores' net sales will go to ASAP as part of Whole Foods' 5 Percent Day. ASAP will be at both stores on June 22, answering questions and selling Farm Tour passes.

Farm Tour passes are on sale now for $30 at asapconnections.org. One pass admits a carload of visitors to all farms both days.

Passes can also be purchased the weekend of the tour from any farm for $40. Information about the tour can be found online as well as in the Farm Tour guide.

Tour guides include a map, driving directions, tour tips, and descriptions of participating farms.

ASAP is seeking volunteers for the tour. Volunteers spend one of the tour days welcoming visitors at a farm, and in exchange receive a pass to tour for free on the other day of the tour. Volunteers can sign up on ASAP's website.

To help visitors make the most out of their Farm Tour weekend, ASAP has provided tour tips including what to bring, wear, and how to choose which farms to visit on its website. Tour planning tips are also found on page three in the printed Farm Tour guide.


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