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From the Field: Eastern Triangle Farm Tour

Doug Brown talks chickenThe Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) held its 4th annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour this past weekend. This year’s tour featured four AWA farms, including Dew Dance Farm, MAE Farm, Rare Earth Farms and Doug Brown of Fowl Attitude Farm, giving a presentation.  AWA staff members Julie Munk, Brigid Sweeney and Emily Lancaster were present at three of the farms and had a great time meeting everyone and sharing information about the Animal Welfare Approved program. If you missed the tour, read on for our reports from the field:

Brigid, reporting from Rare Earth Farms: If I’ve learned one thing from working my first farm tour, it’s that you never know what to expect.  I learned that cows hide in trees, Swedish families enjoy visiting North Carolina farms and it’s possible to have fun with bio-security. There was a hand washing station, complete with foot-shaped pedals! On the second day of the tour the cows seemed to be playing a little game of hide and seek.  They have so much room to roam freely that it took us a good 5 minutes of driving the flat bed truck around the pasture to find them!  They were hiding in the trees because they love to stay cool, relaxing in the shade. A wonderful time was had by all, thanks to all the great farm tour visitors and a special thanks to farmers Mann and Karl!

Julie, reporting from MAE Farm: I spent the two days of the farm tour at MAE Farm in Louisburg, NC. Farmers Mike and Suzanne Jones and their children were gracious hosts as Mike pulled the guests around the farm with his tractor and Suzanne greeted consumers and answered questions about their products. Sows had recently given birth and guests were delighted to watch them feed from their mothers. Other pigs were playfully wallowing in cool mud. At the end of the tour consumers were able to purchase a variety of Animal Welfare Approved pork products and one lucky winner won a raffle drawing of free meat! A baker from Lee Alan Bakery was also on the farm selling her delicious bacon ginger snap cookies made with AWA bacon straight from the farm. All of the guests enjoyed learning about the farm’s pasture-raised pigs, enjoying a valuable lesson about where their food comes from.

Emily, reporting from Dew Dance Farm and Doug Brown’s Chicken Walk: Chickens, sheep and llamas, oh my! Saturday I attended Doug’s talk at SEEDS urban garden in Durham, NC. He talked about how to raise chickens sustainably, and how the husbandry system affects the quality of the eggs. My favorite quote of the day was, “The more Animal Welfare Approved standards you follow, the better your eggs are going to be.” The Durham Herald-Sun was there and featured an article about Doug in Sunday’s issue. I spent Sunday at Dew Dance Farm, a beautiful fiber-producing farm in Sanford. Farmer Laura Young gave wool-spinning demonstrations while her husband George McRae led tours, showing visitors the sheep, chickens, guinea hens and even a guardian llama named Carwa!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and thanks for supporting your local farms and CFSA!

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