Summer Favorites: WNC’s Family-Friendly Farms

Baby goats at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. / Photo by Fay Grant

The sun is shining and local farms are bustling with life and growth. Every day brings something new. From the excitement of the daily harvest to the birth of piglets, memories are made and the local community prospers. There is no better way to reconnect with the land than to spend summertime on the farm.

Not only is a trip to your local farm easy and affordable, it helps kids have a better understanding of where their food comes from, and gives them a deeper respect for animals and the sustenance they provide. Snack on berries straight off the vine, play in the dirt, and shake hands with the farmers that work hard to bring our community together with their locally grown fruits, vegetables and grass-fed meats. Round up the kids and embrace the joys of summer with a day trip to one of WNC’s beautiful family-friendly farms.

Hickory Nut Gap Farm

This 90-acre farm in Fairview, North Carolina is open to visitors year-round and sits just 20 minutes away from Asheville, Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure.

Why go now: Enjoy u-pick organic blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, visit the baby farm animals, take in beautiful mountain views, and enjoy farm fresh sandwiches and local sodas from the farm store kitchen.

Break time: Exhausted from all the fun? Relax and sip a local brew while you watch the kiddos play by the creek.

Don’t miss the fun: All summer long you can participate in evening barn dances at the farm. Perfect for all ages, from Two-Step to Swing, they’ve got something for everyone.

When it’s hot: Hop in the car and take a short drive to Cane Creek Creamery and indulge in some local handmade ice cream. You can even watch their cheese being made while you wait for that hand-scooped creamy goodness.

Pick your own flowers: Visit nearby Flying Cloud Farm and create your very own floral bouquet! Surrounded by butterflies and gorgeous mountain views, it’s a great place for children to get a true hands-on farm experience.

Franny’s Farm

Located 10 miles from downtown Asheville in Leicester, North Carolina, Franny’s Farm is dedicated to family, sustainability, and giving their visitors a place to learn, explore and relax.

Why go now: Home to everything from goats to pigs, Franny’s Farm is a magical farm experience for the whole family. Take in the beautiful scenery, pet the friendly animals, pick blueberries, hit the slides, or paddle in the pond on a warm summer day. If you love it so much you don’t want to leave, you can even pitch a tent or plan a future stay in their family-friendly eco-cabins.

Kids can’t get enough? Sign them up for Franny’s Farm Summer Camp. They’ll learn to care for farm animals while participating in farm projects, eco-scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, building activities, leadership skill building, and much more.

Come back for: Yoga with goats. Yes, you read that right. During select weeks in July thru September, join Franny’s Farm and Far Out Farmstead for an interactive yoga class with baby goats! Beginners are welcome, and be sure to bring your own mat.

Raise a glass: After an exciting day on the farm, visit nearby Addison Farms Vineyard and pick up a bottle (or three) of their award-winning wines and take in the magnificent views. You deserve it after a fun day of chasing your kids around.

Darnell Farms

Our family owns the land, but the land is for everyone. We are so blessed, and we want to share it…to make everyone feel at home. – Jeff Darnell 

Located along the banks of the Tuckaseegee river in Bryson City, North Carolina, Darnell Farms offers breathtaking views, farm fresh produce and plenty of outdoor entertainment for the whole family.

Why go now: Strawberries! They’re ripe and ready to be picked.

Best place to have a picnic: Pack a bite to eat and end your u-pick adventure with a picnic on the Tuckaseegee river. Let the kids play on the seesaw and climb trees while you sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor (pun intended).

Bonus: You’re minutes away from downtown Bryson City, a small mountain town with plenty of restaurants, shops and museums. Wind down with a sweet treat and a laid-back stroll, and if you’re missing the farm experience already, swing into Nantahala Brewing Company and try their Dirty Girl Blonde with Strawberries, featuring local strawberries from yep, you guessed it: Darnell Farms.