Ag + Art Festival Kick Off Friday

UNION — Residents of and visitors to Union County will get an advance look at an upcoming tour of local agriculture and art during the 2015 Ag + Art Kick Off Festival Friday evening.

The 2015 Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour, is a free, self-guided tour of South Carolina’s Catawba Region’s Farms featuring local artisans and farms and farmers markets. During this weekend-long event participants will have the opportunity to see first-hand where food comes from, watch artists in action and purchase their works, dance to the melodies of bluegrass and folk songs, and learn more about rural life. The tour is the largest free farm tour in the nation with over 16,000 visitors participating since 2012.

The Ag + Art Tour originated in York County in 2012 it expanded into Lancaster County in 2013. Chester and Fairfield counties began participating in 2014. This will be Union County’s first year participating. The county’s participation is designed to give local artisans and farmers a chance to showcase their talents and farms.

To publicize the county’s participation in the event, the Union County Tourism Commission is sponsoring the 2015 Ag + Art Kick Off Festival from 6-9 p.m. Friday. The kick off will take place in the center block of Main Street in downtown Union.

In an address to the Union Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon, Rotarian and Union County Chamber of Commerce Director Torance Inman said that the kick off festival will feature musical entertainment by local performers and booths for local farmers and artisans. Inman said there will be BBQ, ice cream, peanuts and drinks for sale. He added that there will also be a dunking booth featuring several local officials who will be allowing themselves to be dunked and a cornhole tournament.

Wine Tasting

Taking place in conjunction with the festival will be the 2015 Wine Tasting hosted by the Union County Arts Council at its Art Gallery on Main Street in downtown Union.

The Wine Tasting will feature wines supplied by “Enoree River Winery.” In announcing the Wine Tasting festival, the UCAC stated that, located in Newberry, Enoree River Winery “has been described as, ‘A place to go when you want fabulous wine made with love and precision, beauty and peace, all in a rustic environment.’ The winery houses several different wines, including many seasonal ones.”

Tastings will begin at 6 p.m., running every hour, for the duration of the Ag & Art Kick Off Festival.

Tickets are available at Union County Arts Council for $10.

Ag + Art Tour

The Ag + Art Tour will take place Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 and according the Ag & Art website ( the locations in Union County taking part in the tour will include:

• Jackson Farm Garden, 400 Foster St., Union.

The website states that Jackson Farm Garden is located on the “historic Nicholas Estate.” It further states that “this farm invites visitors to see a variety of vegetables and bee hives.”

Viola Za’Kyah Jeter will be the “Artisan on Site” at Jackson Farm Garden during the tour.

• Olivia’s Way Gardening, 2434 Santuc-Carlisle Highway, Union.

The website invites tourists to “come see how fresh vegetables are grown from seed to harvest! Learn how to grow and irrigate a small scale garden, set up and maintain a backyard chicken coop for a small family, and learn how to set up and maintain a family-sized hydroponic garden. Walk the fields to see crops being grown! Take a tour of our organic garden & greenhouse where questions & answers can be exchanged about living a homesteader’s lifestyle and operating a chemical-free garden!”

Concerning “Special Activities” at Olivia’s Way Gardening, the website states that “self guided tours are available throughout both days of the tour. Local artisans include metal workers, representatives from the forestry service, saw millers & beekeepers! Products from the artisans will also be available for purchase.”

• Piedmont Physic Garden, 301 E. South St., Union.

The website states that “The Piedmont Physic Garden is a botanical garden featuring plants with historical medicinal uses. Inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, this new nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing horticultural and environmental-based learning programs to multi-generations.”

• Simple Times Farm, 651 New Hope Church Road, Cross Anchor.

The website invites tourists to “Step back in time and experience the farm the old fashion way. Reenactors recreate Colonial life on the farm and you get to join in the fun as you milk a cow make butter, dip candles, learn how to make wood shingles, watch blacksmithing, spinning and woodworking. Feed the animals, pet a turkey, tour the organic garden, or walk the forest trail. Buy organic produce or artwork from local artists. There is so much to see and do at our Family Farm. Small fee for some activities.”

Special Activities at Simple Times Farm during the tour will include:

— Self-guided farm tours all day. Guided tours at the top of the hour, every hour.

— Blacksmith demonstrations: all day

— How to process a chicken: 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday

— We will have a potters wheel for anyone to try their hand at the craft!

The “Artisans on Site” at Simple Times Farm during the tour will be:

— La Ruchala A. Murphy, Paintings, handmade jewelry, and recycled crafts created by Amyrrh Designs.

— Delbert E. Murphy, Blues, jazz, and rock ‘n roll music played on the harmonica and acoustic guitar.

• Three Horse Milling Company, 3257 River Road, Union.

The website states that the Three Horse Milling Company “Makes steel-cut grits and cornmeal by using actual horse power (connected by an old school bus axle). Certified SC Products (grits and cornmeal) available for purchase.

Special Activities at Three Horse Milling Company during the tour will include:

— Moonshine tasting from Carolina Moon Distillery

— Mill demonstration with the horses: (Saturday: 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 am; 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) (Sunday: 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.)

— Union County Beekeepers will have an observation hive, hive components, honey extracting, soap making, and candle pouring (products and supplies for sale).

The Artisans on Site at Three Horse Milling Company during the tour will be:

— Dan O’Shield’s, Storytelling

— Union County Arts Council, “plein air painters”

— “Sally and Friends,” Musicians

— Local Wood Carvers

• Union County Farmers Market, 106 Lakeside Drive, Union (next to YMCA).

The website states that the Union County Farmers Market will be open “only the entire tour weekend!” Tourists are invited to “come and experience all the local fare. There will be in-season fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, nuts, grass fed beef and pastured pork as well as other delights. There will also be local artists on-site.”

• Union Oil Mill Farm & Garden, 421 N. Pinckney St., Union.

The websites states that Union Oil Mill Farm & Garden invites tourists to “Come visit our green house where we grow our vegetables, flowers and other plants.”

• Woodson Enterprises, 1314 Meansville Road, Union.

The website invites tourists to “See how furniture is made from on site sawmill to the finished product.”

In addition to seeing how furniture is made, the website states the Special Demonstration at Woodson Enterprises during the tour will be “Making old timey ‘pea ridge ’ BBQ sauce, the proper way.”

• Union County Fairground Aquaponic Farm, 120 N. Kirby Street, Union.

The websites states that the “Clemson Extension Aquaponic Demonstration” will be “growing plants and fish together. The fish feed the plants through their waste and the plants filter the water for the fish.”

Artisans on Site will be the Patchwork Quilters Club which will presented a “Demonstration of quilt making including rotary cutting, piecing, hand and machine quilting, assembling, applique, binding and finishing, and finished quilts.”

The website also recommends that those visiting Union County during the tour also “check out these other Ag & Art related attractions:”

• Cross Keys House, 163 Old Buncombe Road, Union.

Open Saturday, June 27 from noon-5 pm.

Admission: Free (but donations gladly accepted)

Buildings open for tour typically include the 1814 plantation house, antebellum log cabin, blacksmith shop, barn and carriage house. We are glad to announce the addition of the colonial kitchen building, smoke house and visitor facilities building.

Special Activity will be Kevin Thompson, Blacksmith.

• Union County Arts Council, 116 East Main St, Union.

On Saturday June 27, we will have local artist, Brandi Ketterman, at UCAC from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., offering people the chance to make their very own Wooden Door Hanger. There will be several different designs to choose from and the cost will be only $20!