From the Lewis Farm –
Greetings to all y’all ANA farmers and vineyard owners. We sometimes ignore the fact that grapes are produce, and whether they are muscadine or the vinifera varieties, they can be plucked from the vine just like tomatoes and eaten “in the row, in the raw.” The grape harvest is here, and there are about twenty-five vineyards that are members of ANA.
The fall is the most active time for most agritourism farms, with “FARM FUN!” as the theme. Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple orchards, fall festivals and special events, hayrides, and even grape stompings bring visitors by the hundreds to our farms. Fresh fall produce is a big draw.
The farms and wineries that have “dinner on the farm” feature their own specialties, such as our famous North Carolina wines, homemade goat cheese, farm-grown produce and meat, and they draw “locavores” to these delicious dinners. Several of our agritourism farms are hosting dinners prepared by local chefs who have won Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ contests for best dishes in various categories.
I hope that this is your most successful fall yet, as visitors with skinnier pocketbooks opt to stay closer to home this fall and spend their money locally.
Remember to mark your new 2010 calendars with the 2010 ANA Winter Conference in Greenville starting Thursday night, February 18 with a wine tasting and local foods at our reception, and a full day of workshops on Friday, February 19. The conference will take place at the City Hotel and Bistro near downtown Greenville.
~Cathy Lewis, 2008-09 NC ANA President
||Edible Piedmont, a magazine distributed statewide, features an ad paid for by ANA in its quarterly issue. Three more ads will be in the next three magazines.
In the June – August ANA newsletter, President Cathy Lewis requested a member survey to determine members’ opinions of the benefits, etc. of membership in ANA.
The survey was sent out in July. Thirteen Active ANA members responded – one from North Central – Chatham Co.; two from Southeast – Harnett and Sampson; one from South Central – Columbus; four from West Central – Yadkin (2), Stokes and Gaston; and five from the West District – Alexander, Jackson, Haywood, Henderson and Macon.
Here’s how they responded, and not everyone answered each question:
Dues - $25 was about right – 11
One said Active member dues should be higher.
One Active member is also an Extension county agent.
ANA has provided assistance by:
Holding workshops – 5
Providing handouts – 9
Providing new contacts who are good resources – 6; new friends – 2
Providing new ideas – 6
Providing leads for: Insurance – 4; Marketing – 7; Highway signage – 3; Risk management – 5; Financial planning – 1; Website development – 3; Networking/collaboration skills – 4; Public relations – 1; Business plans – 1; Media training – 1; Grants/funding – 4; Internet social networking – 3; Getting/giving information using the ANA list serve – 5
Five members had attended only one Winter Conference, and two of those did not find the conference helpful. Two members had attended two Winter conferences, and both found them helpful.
Two members had attended two district workshops each, and found them helpful.
The following are comments reflecting ANA’s strengths:
Motivated, dedicated folks – willing to pitch in and get things going
Offer lots of workshops; info sharing
Provides another resource to meet our customers’ expectations
Members who are passionate about what they do and are willing to share
Following are mentioned as weaknesses:
Very broad group of farms
Communicating on how to get/use resources...I did not know that ANA did anything to assist
farmers with highway signage...have not seen any highway signs
ANA could implement the following ideas:
Mentoring program for 'want-to-be' farmers
I appreciate the association and will continue to support it with dues and whatever else I can do.
Being a Century Farm means a lot to our family and we are happy to see it is of great importance
to the ANA as well.
This is our first year as a member. We have not used the association much. Unsure it has
We will try for one more year.
The Agritourism Office's booth at the Mountain State Fair was not staffed this year. "Discover NC Farms" maps were available at the booth for fairgoers. A banner highlighting agritourism farms in the mountains hung at the booth in the "Got to Be NC Agriculture tent.
The "Discover NC Farms" maps, the Agritourism Directories, and information about contacting the Agritourism Office will be available at the State Fair in Raleigh which runs October 15-25. The Agritourism exhibit will be in the "Got to Be NC Agriculture" tent next to the Kerr Scott Building as it has been in previous years.
You are welcome to hand out your brochures at the Fair and have an opportunity to talk with hundreds of people if you would like to do that. Just let Martha know if you plan to be there. If you do not plan to attend the Fair, you are welcome to send your farm/vineyard package of 50 brochures for the exhibit. Send packages to Martha Glass, Agritourism Office, 1020 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1020.
The ANA Board will meet November 16 in Raleigh to consider topics for the 2010 ANA Conference in Greenville. Please watch for a questionnaire on topics to be considered. We want to bring to you information which will help you continue to succed in your agritourism venture, or enable you to grow your business from where it is now. Please respond to the email when it reaches you in the near future and please give us your suggestions.