J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Good Neighbors Make for a Great Weekend

We had an ambitious day planned: morning meeting, Farm Tour, Bourbon Festival, volunteer, pho and study.  It was a long day but I'm glad I did it.  The Shelby County Good Neighbor Tour is officially one of my new favorite events!

We started the day early at the Shelby County Farmer’s Market to pick up our passport, maps and list of participating farms.  Unlike those in the city, the market is in an actually barn, reminding me of early morning markets in the Vietnamese country side.  Everyone was extremely friendly and the goods a lot cheaper than those in Louisville. $.75 for pears!  The visit was made more special when I found the pawpaw fruit, the largest native fruit in North America.

Our first visit took us to the Perfect Timing Alpacas farm where 12 friendly faces greeted us.  Cute, cuddly and friendly, the alpacas entertained us just by being their cute selves.  The family had a small display booth of all the alpaca products that were extremely soft.

Not too far away was our next destination, Vegh-Davis Vineyard.  We tasted wine and the owner gave us a personal tour of the vineyard.  She shared stories about the grapes growing process, wine production and a wine tradition that started in Hungary.  Lucky for us, the grape pickers were there for the harvest so we saw the process.  I signed up to be a grape picker next year, the pay ($5/hr) goes to a local charity.  A bonus for my city boy husband, it was his first time seeing grapes on the vines.

In a rush back, we had time for only one visit and decided that it was ice cream time.  The Cherrywood Dairy Farm was a short distance down the road.  The milking facility smelled of cow manure, feeds circled by flies and cow manure had its own pit. Here we see that farming life is not all rustic charm, ice tea on the porch and mason jars, but hard dirty work.  Hospitality of the owners was at full force, they treated us to milk, ice cream and freshly churned butter.

We didn't make it to the Bourbon Festival but that meant we had a little more time connecting to small local farmers and learning about their lives. I was charmed by their hospitality, country twang and openess.  We learned trivia things, like the silos keep the cow feeds, alpaca’s fur is hypoallergenic, that freshly churned butter is made with love and tastes like heaven.  But what we took away from our visit is a better understanding of the hard work, pride and dedication that goes into small family farms.