Farm Tour 2018
In our area of North Florida, there are plenty of farms. People raise beef cattle, chickens (for meat or eggs), vegetables, citrus, cotton, and of course the Glendower Farms Iberian pig operation. Every fall, we have the farm tour, an organized tour open to any local farm (even hobby farms) who would like to participate. The organizer, Millstone Plantation, puts together a booklet with details about each participating farm, and what they have to offer. On the day of the tour, farms are open to the public for education, leisure tours, food samples, and of course special sales. Before I was part of a working farm, I toured other farms and bought our Thanksgiving turkey, free range chicken or other yummy treats. This year was our first experience being one of the participating farms!
Of course getting ready took some preparation. We made sure that our property looked its best, our inventory was stocked and organized, and that each family member was prepared for their responsibilities during the tour. Some of us would take orders, some would collect meat to fill the orders, and others would give walking tours or drive the tractor for hayrides. We came up with special sales just for our visitors. Everything was set and ready to go! Then, the very week of the scheduled tour...hurricane Michael hit.
Nobody was sure what would happen. Certainly we couldn’t invite the general public to our farms when over half of them didn’t have power yet. The decision was made to postpone the tour two weeks. Again, we set out to clean up the debris Michael littered around the farm, and make sure all was ready. Then the day came.
It was a beautiful weekend! When people drove up, we were honored that they’d show interest in our work. When they walked to the pens to see mother sows and their piglets, we were delighted to answer questions and help people to see how much effort and care we give to keep our pigs happy and healthy, helping them to make delicious pork in return. There were fellow farmers and fellow rural folk visiting and asking educated questions, or commenting on our work design. There were also city folk visiting, excited for one of the few times they get to see happy pasture raised animals in nature. There were people who knew nothing about Iberian pigs, and people who had lived in Spain and knew all about them. Everyone tried samples. Most couldn’t resist buying more to take home.
At the end of the weekend, my husband asked what I thought about the entire experience. We both agreed it was a delightful experience to spend time with people who came from near and far, interested in our Iberian pork. We thought it was a wonderful way to entertain farmers and foodies alike, while welcoming adults and children of all ages. It was an incredible day outside to enjoy the beautiful scenery and animals into which we’ve all poured so much of our time and energy. We’d like to thank Millstone Plantation for organizing and publicizing the tour. We are definitely excited to participate again next year... but we’ll make sure to pray for no hurricanes a few weeks in advance.