Lake Norman & Mooresville

Check out the farms that grow your food

Nearly 30 farms will offer a behind-the-scenes look next week at what's being grown and raised right outside your back door.

Area fruit and vegetable growers, livestock producers, North Carolina's first certified organic dairy and an ostrich farm are just a few of the stops on the self-guided tour hosted by Know Your Farms. The second annual Charlotte Area Farm Tour will be 1:30-6:30 p.m. Sept. 18-19 and will highlight 27 farms in the Charlotte area.

Various activities are offered. Farm maps and vehicle passes are available online.

Some of the area farms on the tour include Birdbrain Ostrich Ranch in Sherrills Ford, Rivendell Farms of Huntersville, KC Farms just outside Davidson and Barbee Farms in Concord.

Chris Goodrum, 42, is a first-generation farmer who owns KC Farm, just outside of Davidson on Midway Lake Road. He's also one of only a handful of people in Iredell County with a N.C. Agricultural Department-approved Certified Roadside Farm Market.

At KC Farm, there will be hayride tours of his 100-acre spread every 30 minutes, chef demonstrations on how to use collard greens and kale, as well as drinks, baked goods and produce for sale.

Tour participants can learn about natural and sustainable production methods used in backyard gardens. There will be cooking demonstrations, nutritional tips for preparing healthy meals, hayrides and fresh offerings of the latest crop.

"It actually shows people what's being grown, how it's being grown and it gives you a tour of where it's coming from," said Goodrum, who went on last year's tour to learn more about the local industry before taking it on full time. "It's a more personal experience, where you meet the grower. It makes you appreciate it more, you learn how to help your local farmer and you're getting stuff that's fresh."

The former retirement services banker, who lost his job three months ago, is one of the 12 founding farmers behind the Davidson Farmers Market, which has attracted more than a dozen other area farmers since forming three years age.

Know Your Farms LLC is a Davidson-based, family-operated business that works to "rebuild our local food system in a sustainable way" through the distribution of local food.

It also focuses on public awareness events, such as the tour and farmers markets, as well as alternative distribution models that focus on farm profitability.