Fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs. Arts and crafts fresh from their creators and a little farm-fresh folk music. Stories, sites and songs that summon up the spirits of the past. New spirits, too, like hard cider.
It’s all yours to enjoy this weekend at the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour, a kind of self-guided grocery-and-culture treasure hunt in the nearby S.C. counties of York, Lancaster, Chester, Fairfield and Union.
Admission is free to the participating stops, from Clover (on the edge of metro Charlotte) south to Ridgeway (30 minutes shy of Columbia) and from Cross Anchor (south of Spartanburg) as far east as Heath Springs.
Never heard of Heath Springs? This weekend’s stop in that Lancaster County hamlet – Rich Hill Farms – is representative of many of the more than 50 stops on the Ag + Art Tour you can make: Rich Hill is a sustainable vegetable farm and you can walk or ride out in the fields to see the crops, learn how the produce gets from the field to the sales table, and see area artisans showing jewelry, fabric art, paintings and folk art.
If you go there by way of U.S. 521, you can easily swing by the Griff’s Greenhouse, Elginwood Farm and other places that mix farm and fun this weekend.
The event website has pages for each county, and you can read what each participant offers for an agriculture/art pairing each day. The site also has a zoom-able map that’ll get you to and between your destinations.
Just decide where you want to explore ... and grab your car keys.
Most stops include demonstrations and/or entertainment.
Farms, farmstands, markets and greenhouses on the tour spotlight veggies, herbs, flowers, peaches, berries, eggs, meats, dairy products and more – including Benford Brewing, a rural craft brewery outside Lancaster, on Boxcar Road. There are stables and horse farms, cotton fields, orchards and historic farmsteads.
Arts pairings include woodworkers, sculptors, painters, weavers, potters, jewelry makers, etc.
Demonstrations and talks feature potters, wool spinners, carvers, quilters, doll makers and other artisans; baking and cooking; horseback riders; log hewers and blacksmiths.
This is the fourth incarnation of the two-day Ag + Art Tour. Last year’s attracted 8,000 visitors.
It makes for a family-friendly weekend, of course: Kids might not marvel at vine-ripened tomatoes or oil paintings, but wait until they get within earshot of live cows, pigs, goats and chickens.
Distance from Charlotte? Anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour, depending on destination.
E-I-E-I ... Oh!
Get details and maps for the Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour at www.agandarttour.com. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday.