Category Archives: Sandy Mush Cycle to Farm

2nd Annual Sandy Mush Cycle to Farm October 11th…join the fun!

We are excited to be having our 2nd Annual Cycle to Farm Event in Sandy Mush.  Everyone had a great time last year, and we look forward to even more cyclists and more fun this year.  Our friends at Addison Farms Vineyard will once again host our start/finish and Fabulous After Party.  Come on out and join us and bring your friends.  Registration deadline is October 1st.  Cycle and meet your farmers of Gaining Ground Farm, Beulah Farm, Sandy Hollar Farm and Full Sun Farm.  After enjoying the beautiful ride along farm country with fall colors as the backdrop, cyclists will get an extra special treat at our Sandy Mush CTF because local potter, Matt Jones, and his intern are making lovely and useful bowls for you to enjoy your farm to table meal of Brunswick stew and to take home as a memento of your Sandy Mush adventure.

Learn more about how Cycle to Farm provides a positive impact to farming communities and about farmland conservation:

 

CTF-Poster-2014-FINAL

Cycle To Farm: Sandy Mush, NC

 

Advertisements

The blooming, buzzing adventure continues…

We are having a busy but good year on Bee Branch Farm, hence the lack of communication.  We doubled our veggie deliveries from last year, and I am taking on additional farm connected activities.  I am helping out with Cycle to Farm as it grows; there were four events this year with the final Cycle to Farm being in Sandy Mush October 11th.  I am also serving on the Farmer Support Cluster of the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council, and I am excited to soon have the opportunity to start serving on the Buncombe County Agricultural Advisory Board for Farmland Preservation.  As you all know, I am passionate about this.

As for the veggies this season, this is what makes all the long hours and hard work worth it.  A few comments our farm families have shared with us.  First of all, it does my heart good when I hear how much the children are enjoying their veggies.  We have children fighting over who gets the last bite of chard, asking for those french radishes, and loving  purple potato salad.  In the words of Finney,  “It is good to know your farmer.”   Our families have also shared stories of improved health and vigor, better gum health as noted by dentist and healthier skin.  Yeah for eating your veggies!

We are especially happy that we have a bountiful crop of tomatoes that haven’t succumbed  to late blight as they did last year, and we were able to stave off the rascally racoons who love sweet corn as much as we do, at least for the first couple of weeks and then while we were away for the weekend they figured out how to circumvent the electric fence.  I do give them credit for their tenaciousness.  It was also fun growing artichoke from seed for the first time.  I have let a few go to bloom, and they are stunning.  I enjoy seeing which bees are attracted to which blooms.  We have continued to incorporate beneficial zones in our garden to attract and nurture these insects, and we feel that it is one of the reasons that we have had good success without spraying even organically.

Life on the farm is a blooming, buzzing adventure…..

Sandy Mush Cycle to Farm a Success!

Farmers, cyclists and volunteers all agree that we had a fabulous time and our first Sandy Mush CTF was a great success.  Everyone is already asking about 2014!  A huge thanks to everyone who helped.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photo Journal of setting up for Cycle to Farm

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a lovely evening with much laughter.  We are ready!

Image

Meet your farmers for cycle to farm

Jen Billstrom, Cycle to Farm Event Director, and I made final pre-event farm visits this week.  Cyclists will have a fresh variety of food to sample and purchase:  fresh picked blackberries, homemade jam, pastured pork and turkey, beef as well as other tasty food, and Addison Farms wine.  Additionally, some of the farms will have their own crafted items for sale such as scarves, purses, hats.  The farmers are ready and excited to welcome the cyclists on Saturday the 28th.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gearing up for Cycle to Farm Sandy Mush

We are looking forward to a beautiful Saturday, September 28th for the cyclists who will be touring our lovely farming community and sampling products from area farms.  To learn more about the ride or to share with friends who cycle, please visit Cycle to Farm Sandymush.  Our friends at Addison Farms Vineyard will be hosting the event, and cyclists will visit Gaining Ground Farm, Beulah Farm, Sandy Hollar Farm and Reeves Homeplace Farm.  After the ride, we will have a farm to table meal, and live music by David Ray and Firefly.   

A special thanks to friends whose businesses are helping sponsor our first Cycle to Farm:  Sandy Mush Herb Nursery, Mountain Physical Therapy and Training Partners.  Thanks to all sponsors, but these three are dear friends who are great women and run highly recommended businesses.  Also, thanks to everyone who is volunteering to help out in any way.  Thank you all!  We are going to have a wonderful time and raise awareness about farmland preservation.  Only two weeks to go so register now.

CTF Sandy Mush Postcard

History and Harvest at Reeves Homeplace Farm in Little Sandy Mush…another farm story

I recently reconnected with and visited local farmer and not so distant cousin, Robin Reeves.  Glenn and I enjoyed some of Robin’s pastured, pork, turkey and chicken; I never knew turkey meatloaf could be so delicious.  While visiting the farm, we recalled our family connection, and I enjoyed a tour of her family’s historic pre-civil war brick farmhouse.

Reeves Homeplace Farm in Little Sandy Mush has been farmed by Robin’s family for over 200 years.  Robin was drawn back to this family tradition after a number of years away for college, and restaurant and agriculture business careers.  While growing up on the farm, Robin’s family farmed beef cattle, burly tobacco and tomatoes.  After her father, Burder, lost his leg due to diabetes, she and her son, Reeves, moved home to the farm to help her mother, Betty, take care of her dad.  During this time, she became interested in raising pasture raised chickens, ducks and turkeys, and she began building this farm venture over the course of three years while she continued her WNC Ag career and helped with her father’s care until he passed away.  By this time, Robin was seriously wrestling with the pull of coming home to the farm full-time; she struggled with this for a year before making the decision in 2011 to commit to farming full-time.  She is committed to the hard and rewarding work of raising healthy pastured livestock to provide her customers with beef, pork, rabbit, duck, turkey and chicken.  She also grows a few vegetables and sells eggs to round out her farm offerings.  You can drop by the farm, as I did, to pick up your meat or you can also find her farm offerings at the Leicester Tailgate Market and Madison Farms.

Additionally, Robin raises show turkeys that are shown at the NC State Fair.  That is Robin holding one in the photo.  Also strutting in one of the photos is Robin’s favorite rooster.  Robin was willing to let me relocate the other roosters to Bee Branch Farm, but I assured her that we and our hens are quite happy with the current status.

Robin and I share a common family ancestry through our Reynolds’ relations.  My great-great grandmother, Juanna Estalene, and her great-grandmother, Mary Cornelia, were siblings, and one of their younger brothers was AC Reynolds, the well-respected local educator.  I have a copy of a brief bio he wrote, at his daughter’s request, recording family history in which he details his accompanying his father, brother and others as they took a drove of turkeys and a drove of sheep to Asheville on foot; this was a three day trip round trip away from home probably in the late 1870’s.  He recounts his awe in first seeing the French Broad River, and how this trip opened up his world:  “Our world was no longer bounded by the mountains which stood upon all sides of our farm, but it reached twenty miles to the east and would soon cross the mountain and reach fourteen miles to the west.”

The farmhouse that Robin and her family live in was built by Malachia Reeves prior to the civil war; the one foot thick walls were built with bricks molded of clay from the farm, fired and put together with sand and lime Here is a little more history that I looked up in family documents that have been compiled by many diligent family historians over the years.  My thanks to you all!

In 1891, Cornelia (Nelia) married Robert Fillmore Reeves, son of Elizabeth Robeson and Malachia Reeves.  They lived in a log cabin behind the brick farmhouse until their first child was born and Malachia died of pneumonia; they lived in the brick farmhouse the rest of their lives.  Unfortunately, Robert’s life was cut short at the young age of 44.  Nelia had to see to the operation of the farm and rear the children, who were ranging in age from 2-18 by this time.  They raised cattle, hogs and chickens as well as food crops.  Nelia rode her horse to Waldrup’s store in Big Sandy Mush to sell eggs and chickens and to do her marketing.  Later a store was built on the Reeves’ property, which was run by Commodore Wells.  The store sold everything from suits and hats to chewing tobacco and cheese.  After 1918, when her son, Rosco (Ross), Robin’s grandfather, returned from World War I, Nelia managed the store with him, and a corn mill was built next to it.  Nelia was another strong and resourceful mountain woman who kept the farm going and continued to live an active life until her death in 1958 at the age of 89.  I am certain that she would be proud of Robin for her commitment to family and the farm.

I am excited that Reeves Homplace Farm will be one of our Sandy Mush Farm to Cycle stops on September 28th.  Many people will get to learn more about this family farming tradition, and help support farmland preservation which is near and dear to both Robin and my hearts.  Robin’s family is also working closely with Southern Appalachian Conservancy to protect their farmland for perpetuity.