“We want to get people involved, show them what agriculture is and what it adds to the county,” Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Agent for Agriculture Libby Yarber said.
The county Cooperative Extension group is orchestrating Farm City Week this week, with a pancake breakfast on Tuesday, a meal in Denver made completely from local foods tonight and a farm tour on Friday to close out the week.
Tonight, about 85 attendees are estimated to meet for the “Dine in Denver” event from 7 to 8:30 p.m., to be held at the Denver Farmers Market at Rock Springs Elementary. This is the first year the meal, catered by Harvest Moon Grille, will be offered in the eastern part of the county. Two local farmers own the Charlotte-based restaurant, and bring in produce and other goods from their farm in East Lincoln. Cassie Parsons and Natalie Veres run Grateful Growers Farm — a 10-acre property in Denver — and specialize in pasture-raised pork.
The last three years the event was held in Lincolnton, but Yarber hopes the move to Denver will get folks in other parts of the county involved with the agricultural side of the area, she said. The Denver Farmers Market will be open on Wednesday night, which was also a factor that lent the venue to the event.
“Our biggest goal is to show that we have a lot of local food available here,” Yarber told the Times-News Tuesday. “We are a diverse county as far as demographics, and agriculture is important to all of us; we all have to eat.”
Yarber’s goal for the week is to educate the area’s residents on the importance of buying local and using those bought ingredients to make meals for their families at home later, even if it’s just one side dish, she said.
Along with dinner, attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a table-decorating competition. Some tables will be available, but blankets may also be brought for decorating.
The market will be open for concessions at 5 p.m., where patrons can purchase items from the vendors and meet other residents and farmers before and after the sold out-dinner at 7 p.m. — the last event before the tour on Friday.
The farm tour will give those attending the opportunity to see what is going on in local farms, rather than just driving passed and wondering what’s going on over there, Yarber said.
She put the four-stop tour together, hoping to present those interested with an array of farm types to view, from dairy to livestock. Participants will also make a stop at a 4-H’ers home, where 11-year-old Regan Mitchem will talk about her history of livestock exhibitions at competitions and her family’s livestock farm.
“You will get to see a spectrum of farms, or at least a good portion of Lincoln County agriculture,” said Kevin Starr, county extension director.
Dairy, grain production and fruit farms are among the other stops the van and carpooling followers will be visiting.
Yarber said there are still a handful of spots left on the extension’s van, but after those fill up, participants are welcome to follow behind in their own cars or ride with other tour goers.
Starr and Yarber are excited about the youth turnout they are expecting on Friday — the future consumers of the county who will need to understand how important it is to stay local, Yarber said.
A light breakfast will be served before the tour gets under way at 8:30 a.m. Bring comfortable shoes that are able to get dirty and prepare to return to the Citizen’s Center around 1 p.m.
The stops on the tour this year:
Piedmont Jerseys, 4399 Ritchie Road in Lincolnton.
L.F.R. Farm, 2952 Lou Hoyle Lane in Newton.
Mitchem’s Farm, 400 Davids Chapel Church Road in Vale.
Knob Creek Farm, 6471 Fallston Road in Lawndale.
For more information, call (704) 736-8452.