UNION COUNTY — It’s already stopped in seven other counties including Horry, York, and Fairfield but this Saturday and Sunday Union County will be the next stop on the 2016 AG+Art Tour.
The tour, which has been held every weekend this month, is a “Free Farm+Art Tour” that this year involves a total of nine South Carolina counties. A leaflet advertising the event states that it “is the largest free, self-guided farm tour featuring artisans and farmer’s markets. During this month-long event visitors will have an opportunity to see first-hand where their food comes from, watch artisans in action, purchase something special, and learn more about rural life.”
While the tour itself doesn’t get under way in Union County until Saturday, it will get kicked off Thursday with a “Farm to Table Dinner” from 6-9 p.m. at the lodge at the lodge in Veterans Park.
The Farm to Table Dinner costs $25 per person and will feature fresh food provided by all participating farmers and prepared by GR8plates Catering Company. The event will also feature music by Freddie Vanderford.
For tickets and information for the dinner contact Sanders Garden Center, Times Boulevard, Union, 864-427-3367.
As part of the AG+ART Tour there will be a “Watermelon Cutting” at the Farmers Market, 529 E. Main St., Union, at 10 a.m.
A leaflet advertising the event states that the Farmers Market will be open from 6 a.m. with the season kickoff and the watermelong cutting at 10 a.m. and the public is urged to come support local farmers.
According to the AG+Art Tour website (www.agandarttour.com) the tour will be held in Union County Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The tour will include the following locations:
• Cross Keys House Historic Garden
Located at 163 Old Buncombe Road, the Cross Keys House is a historic (c. 1812-14) plantation house, is a two-story, five bay, brick Georgian Colonial style dwelling. On the property are several out-buildings including an antebellum log cabin, a blacksmith shop, a barn, a kitchen and carriage house. Cross Keys House features an authentic heritage garden, managed and maintained by students from Union County High School under the supervision of Cleveland Jackson, UCHS Horticulture Teacher.
Special Activities: House and building tours ongoing throughout the weekend. Antique tractors, carriages and wagons to view. Artists and craftspeople demonstrations with items for sale.
Steven’s Bee Farm, Beekeeper. View a beehive model!
Artisan on Site
— Will Sprouse (Union County Museum), Storyteller
• Hereford Hills Ranch
Located at 1141 Pineland Road, Union, Hereford Hills Ranch is a working cattle ranch that raises Hereford Steers for our grass fed meat program and Mini Herefords for our breeding program.
Learn about our beef and breeding programs. Purchase our Certified SC products at our country store. There will also be an animal education area and petting zoo with demonstrations at the top of every hour to be followed by a hay-ride. Raised bed garden. Chicken coop. Musicians and crafts people on site with items for purchase. Enjoy a purchased picnic lunch at our picnic sites down by the creek. Bring the kids for a great country experience! South Carolina brewed craft beer tasting.
Artisans on Site
— Gary Farnsworth, Leather Craftsman
— Libby Oliver, Mixed Media Artist.
• Jackson Farm Garden
Located at 400 Foster Street, Union, on the early 1900s Nicholas Estate, this garden is planted on a 3-acre plot of ‘plastic- cultured’ land managed by the Jacksons. Basil, tomatoes, greens, onions, sweet potatoes, cabbage, okra and more. Several beehives producing honey. Be sure to check out the John Deere Tractor!
— General discussion about the Nicholas family and the garden area from 9:15-11 a.m. Saturday.
— Garden Tour from 11:15 a.m.-2 Saturday, June 25 and from 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
— Beehive Demonstration and Discussion from 2-5 p.m. Saturday.
Artisans on Site
— Za’Kyah Jeter (Sims Middle School — 7th Grader), Musician
— Cedric Jackson (Buffalo Elementary School — 5th Grader), Musician.
• Olivia’s Way Gardening
Located at 2434 Santuc Carlisle Highway, Union, Olivia’s Way Gardening invites you to come see how fresh vegetables are grown from seed to harvest! Learn how to grow family-sized gardens both ground and hydroponic as well as how to set up and maintain a backyard chicken coop. Walk the fields to see crops where questions and answers can be exchanged about living a homesteader’s lifestyle and operating a chemical-free garden!
Artisans on Site
— The Rowdy Ravelers Crochet Group, Quilters
— Larry Rouse, Woodworks, Custom Sawmilling
— Alice Riddle (Sumter National Forest).
• Piedmont Physic Garden
Located at 301 E. South Street, Union, the Piedmont Physic Garden is a botanical garden featuring plants with historical medicinal uses. Inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, this nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing horticultural and environmental-based learning programs to multi-generations. The mission is to exhibit and promote the medicinal, economic, cultural and environmental importance to plants to the people of Union County and the surrounding Piedmont region of South Carolina.
Special Activities: On site discussion about medicinal plants and herbs.
Artisans on Site
— Amanda Kingsmore, Mixed Media Artist
— Shannon Farr, Painter
• Union County Farmers Market
Located at 529 E. Main Street, Union, at the Union County Farmers Markert there will be fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade food items, arts & crafts by local farmers, artists and craft-persons for sale and music for the entire family’s enjoyment.
Special Activities: Wild game and vegetable cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend.
• Simple Times Farm
Located at 651 New Hope Church Road, Cross Anchor, Simple Times Farm allows you to step back in time and experience the farm the old fashion way. Here at Simple Times Farm we offer colonial art presentations of a blacksmith molding metal into something exotic and a spinner taking the wool from the sheep and making durable, colorful yarns! Also an organic garden, beehives and nature trail, plus attention-loving dairy cows, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, emus, peacocks, and so many more!
— Cow milking demonstrations Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.
— You can also try your hand at the potter’s wheel or make a candle!
— Donkey cart rides and horseback rides are also available!
Artisans on Site
— Alexander Eubanks, Metalworks (Blacksmith)
— Melissa Crenshaw, Quilter (Spinner)
— Jenessa Eubanks, Potter.
• Three Horse Milling Company
Located at 3257 River Road, Union, the Three Horse Milling Company makes steel-cut grits and cornmeal by using actual horse-power. The apparatus that runs the grinding mill is a homemade creation using an old school bus rear-end, and various belts, pulleys, and gears. This horse-powered mill is one of only two (known) in the country. Our products are SC Certified and will be available for purchase. The will also be ongoing demonstrations by artists, musicians and beekeepers. J & J Farm Fresh Eggs will be on site with their farm fresh eggs!
Special Activities: The mill will be operating over the weekend of the tour.
Scheduled grinding mill demonstrations:
— Saturday, 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
— Sunday, 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Moonshine still demonstration will include sample tasting.
Union County Beekeepers will have an observation hive, hive components, honey extracting, soap making, and candle pouring (products and supplies for sale)
Artisans on Site:
— Catherine Casey (Sedalia Soap Company), Soap Maker
— Nannette Jenkins, Painter
— Sally and Friends, Musicians
— Dr. Dan O’Shields & Mr. Robert Grady, Authors/Storytellers
— David Turner (Union Carving Group), Woodworks
— Frank Pennas (Union County Bee Keepers), Beekeeper. View our observation hive and bee keeping equipment.
How To Enjoy It
The tour is free and self-guided and the website offers the following tips on how to enjoy it.
Step 1: Choose several tour sites below to visit, being aware that you might not be able to see everything in one day. You can start anywhere — the tour is self-guided and there is no admission charge!
Step 2: Load up your car with your friends and family and begin your tour! Bring a cooler and pick up some fresh veggies, let your kids enjoy a hay-ride and barnyard animals, watch our artists in action and enjoy a day in the country!
Step 3: Visit our Ag + Art Tour information table at your first tour stop to sign-in. You will be counted at each tour stop you visit but you only need to sign in at your first stop. Be sure to use #agandarttour in all of your social media check-ins!
Step 4: Don’t forget to check out farms and artisans in other participating counties!
The tour is also taking place in Chester County this weekend.
For more information about the tour go to the website at www.agandarttour.com.
This story courtesy of the 2016 AG+Art Tour.