Although we, Eric and Melissa, both farm full-time for a living (with lots of help from our children), the main reason we're farming is to be able to eat what we grow. We're very much into self-sufficient living/homesteading in general, but we've especially focused on the food part, both the fun and colorful stuff and also basic stuff like grains and the things our animals eat, including everything from regularly making tortillas from our own heirloom corn to grafting dozens of different persimmon varieties to eating bamboo shoots to growing mustard seed for making prepared mustard to preparing traditional animal rennet... If you come stay with us on our farm and help, you’ll not only have the chance to learn about growing and producing and preserving all the different things we grow (mushrooms, honey, fruit, nuts, grains, dry beans, seeds, vegetables, cattle and goats both for dairy and meat, various poultry and an occasional hog, feed and forages for the animals, wild foraged foods… plus a few non-food things like soap, a little lumber for our own use…) and enjoy all the variety of work that comes with so much diversity, but we also share all our meals together with our visitors so you’ll get to eat what will probably be the most completely homegrown-organic meals you’ll ever eat in your life, too.
Although we farm first in order to feed ourselves, we also farm for our full-time dollar living, selling at a local farmers’ market and through a CSA (since 2004/5). Garden crops and honey together account for a heavy majority of what we sell, but we also sell beef, grains (as wheat and buckwheat flour, cornmeal and grits, etc.), orchard fruits, dry beans/peas, peanuts, shitake mushrooms, eggs… We save a majority of the garden seeds we plant, well over 100 different open-pollinated/heirloom varieties, and propagate lots of the fruit tree and other perennials we grow. We grow other things for use on the farm like bamboo for stakes and trellises…, harvest grass seed, manage our forest areas for lumber, posts, and some random non-timber products like pine rosin to use for grafting, poplar bark siding... We’re passionate about good food and responsible farming and enjoy the never-ending complexities and opportunities of our small (43 acres), diverse, low-tech homestead.
Although we're pretty new to Workaway, we've hosted dozens of visitors for farm stays through other networks since 2009 and can provide reviews and references from past visitors on request.
The kind of tasks with which we've normally had farmstay visitors help include milking, setting out transplants, weeding, hoeing, harvesting, packing up for the farmers market, rotating/watering animals, fence work, food preservation, and lots of other random farm projects. Options for beekeeping.
Minimum stay is generally 3 weeks, although we’ve made exceptions as short as 2 weeks, particularly for visitors with long-term family/work commitments and limited vacation time. 6 weeks is probably the maximum for first time visitors. Winter visits are a possibility, but the best time for visits is generally from the beginning of March through early November.
We enjoy hosting visitors mainly for the opportunities to interact, make friends, share the food and farm things we’re passionate about, to inspire an appreciation in visitors for homegrown food and homegrown farming, to teach and mentor people interested in doing the same kind of things we’re doing, and to learn new and various things from our visitors. You'll have the opportunity to take part in all aspects of our farm life, limited mainly just by the length of your stay. We don’t hold any farming secrets -- we're not dollar-focused enough to have to worry about competition -- and we love to discuss your how-to, why-not, what-if… questions. We especially enjoy mentoring and helping with any farming/homesteading goals, plans, or projects you have for yourself. We'll share all our meals together, and you can work much of the time alongside us, too, so there’s lots of time to discuss farming things and answer questions. For our part, we also especially appreciate international exchanges for a chance to learn about different parts of the world and the way different peoples view the world, as well as for the educational value to our children.
For the warmer months a bed and personal space is available in a wood-framed building with electricity and internet access that we also use for drying/storing garlic and seed, as well as storing tools. Farm visitors would come to our house for use of the bathroom/toilet. In the colder months we have visitors stay in the upstairs room of the house.
You'll be invited to join us at our table three times a day for extraordinarily homegrown-organic meals. With extremely limited exceptions (which we’re working to limit further) we eat what we can grow and raise, plus some local game and some wild foraged things. Separate cooking facilities are not available for visitors, although there might sometimes be (optional) opportunities to lead meal preparation.
Our farm is in a very rural setting, but we’re only about 35 miles west of Winston-Salem and about 65 miles north of Charlotte. We could pick up and drop off visitors from a nearby bus station, etc., but a car would be pretty necessary for coming and going from the farm during the stay. There are some excellent parks and wilderness areas for hiking and other outdoor activities starting about 45 miles away. Except for day visitors we can normally only host two visitors at a time in the warmer months and only one visitor at a time in the colder months. No drugs. No pets. However, feel free to contact us about day visits or other ways we might share information, plants, etc. even if we’re not the right match for a farm stay.
We're not supposed to include website links in this listing, but contact us for a link to our blog where you can see more photos and read about our farm.
We have an application we use with prospective visitors, especially to share more information and to help you decide if you think you'd enjoy a farmstay with us, as well as to plan out the logistics of a visit.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week