Family Farms In Western North Carolina

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole world. –Hafiz

You’ll find these words by mystical 14th century Persian poet Hafiz painted on an interior barn wall at Philosophy Farm in Madison County, and they say a lot about the philosophy of farming practiced there by Steve & Krys Crimi.

Other farms on the recent Family Farm Tour organized by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project may take a more prosaic approach, but there are undoubtedly still elements of beauty and mystery in the most mundane farm tasks. Here are the highlights of my farm tour experience:

Farm-fresh. Homegrown. The metallic zing of milk squeezed straight from the goat into a pail. Vegetables with rich, black dirt still clinging to them.

Great spiky red heads of bee balm, like fireworks in the garden

Rock salt packed around an ice cream churn that’s sweating as much as the strong-armed soul who’s been set the task of churning. Chickens. Rabbits. Alpacas wearing sweaters-to-be on their unsheared backs.

Members of the Allium family keep an eye on the barn

Black raspberries hanging heavy on the vine; jars of homemade jewel-toned jam studded with seeds. Lavender. Feathers. Tailings of wool snagged on barbed wire and clouds of sheep drifting across the field instead of the sky.

White flower-tower with fuzzy seed pods

Dreams wrapped in hard work. Hopes cupped in weathered, capable hands. Mint, manure, and mystery; salvia, sweat, and time.

Bumblebee on a bolted stem agains a blue lattice

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