By Tamas Mondovics
Tennessee may be a popular summertime destination, thanks to a wide range of activities available to its visitors. Interestingly, one such activity involves the skipping of the crowds and costs of the usual tourist attraction to visit local farm instead. A recent article promoted by PickTnProducts.org emphasized that picking peaches, making soap, or taking an art class create great memories in a relaxed setting, which is the reason why any “agritourism” farms have sheltered areas for picnics, playgrounds for children, and areas to explore at a visitor’s own pace.
Destinations to tour in Johnson County Tennessee includes Johnson County FFA-AH Farming Center, 520 Fairground Lane, in Mountain City; Shull’s Farm and Garden Co-op, located at 4249 Roan Creek Road, Mountain City; Villa Nove Vineyards and Farm Winery, 1877 Dry Hill Road, in Butler, and the Watauga Lake Winery, 6952 Big Dry Run Road, in Butler.
“A trip to Watauga Lake Winery gives visitors a peek into Johnson County history,” said Linda Gray with Watauga Lake Winery. The winery is housed in the historic Big Dry Run Elementary School, and it gives way to a breathtaking 360-degree view of the mountain ranges that surround the vineyard.“You will believe you have arrived in Tuscany as you stroll through the vineyard or sit at the pavilion and enjoy a bottle of wine produced exclusively from the fruit grown at the vineyard. The vineyard produces approximately 75,000 pounds of fruit annually,” she said.
Other places on the list include The Farm at Spring Creek, near Greeneville, where farmers teach classes in traditional homestead skills. Guests can sign up for classes to make soap, jam, and even mozzarella cheese.
“We provide a walking or golf cart tour to see our livestock, which includes cattle, hogs, chickens, ducks, and other animals, and explain in detail how we farm,” said Kevin and Mikki Krause of Liberty Trace Farm near Hampshire.
Just outside of Memphis, Jones Orchard in Millington is a favorite destination for produce, particularly numerous varieties of peaches. Customers can pick and purchase their own produce, and even take home jams, jellies, and other foods from the orchard’s farm store.
When visiting any farm, make sure to call ahead and check the farm’s social media to ensure the farm is open for the day.
“We’re teaching people how to milk a goat this summer,” said Beth Bohnert of Mountain Hollow Farm near Knoxville. Mountain Hollow also has a country store featuring yarn, fine handcrafts, and goat’s milk soap. Visit the store to shop or just hang out. We always have a pot of tea on and chairs awaiting anyone who wants to knit, crochet, spin, or simply chat for a while.”
Find local farms and learn how to be a good farm guest with the Pick TN mobile app or visit www.PickTnProducts.org. Follow Pick TN on social media for seasonal updates, recipes, and farm-related activities.