Nestled in a picturesque valley within the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Asheville is a gorgeous place to live, work, and visit. And being a valley, the land in and around Asheville makes for excellent farming for a myriad of crops, and many of those farms are open to visitors and many more offer their wares at local farmers’ markets. The following is a look at some of the most prominent and popular of Asheville farms and farmers’ markets you can visit to learn and enjoy more of the area and its bounty:
Your Local Guide to Asheville’s Farms and Farmers Markets
Hickory Nut Gap
Hickory Nut Gap is a multifaceted family farm operating just off of Charlotte Highway southeast of Asheville proper. And not just one family at one time. The Hickory Nut Gap farm was first founded in 1916 by James and Elizabeth McClure who cultivated the land and set a foundation for four more generations after them.
Today, over 100 years later, this Asheville farm remains a McClure family farm that boasts an exciting array of food and activities — including pumping picking and hay bale mazes during harvest season. There is an on-site shop that guests can visit along with the farm most days of the week. This Asheville farm specializes in products sourced from their own cows, pigs, and poultry, as well as a variety of produce.
Looking Glass Creamery
Also located southeast of Asheville, Looking Glass Creamery is a dairy and creamery with an outstanding retail space where visitors can come in and order from a long menu of farm-raised and made products. The menu here includes ice cream, cheeses, and full Charcuterie boards. The retail space is located in Fairview, NC while the farm itself (along with its own store) is located in Columbus, NC just off of a road aptly called Harmon Dairy Lane.
Another great creamery in this area is Round Mountain Creamery, which specializes in cheeses and dairy products made from goat milk.
The Orchard at Altapass
The Orchard at Altapass is a beloved local apple farm that offers great produce as well as activities. You will find this orchard just of of Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 328 and the two of Spruce Pine. While this is a working farm, the Orchard at Altapass is listed as a non-profit, and you can walk its ground any day of the week, any hour of the day.
The farm boasts its own stage and general store, the former of which consistently boasts a series of local artists and events. At the general store, you will find hot apple pie, homemade fudge, hand-scooped ice creams, jarred goodies sourced from local produce, and much more. The Orchard at Altapass is one of those places where you might think you’re stopping for a quick look, but may very well find yourself exploring the grounds and activities for a full day.
Asheville City Market
Asheville has quite a few pop-up farmers markets with what are called “tailgate markets,” but the largest and most popular of farmers markets by far is the weekly Asheville City Market. This weekly farmers market gets held downtown Saturday morning in spring, summer, and fall. Here, you will find dozens of local vendors, the vast majority of which are local farmers welling their produce and produce-sourced wares. You will also find a few arts and vendors as well, especially in late fall as the city prepares for special holiday markets.
Dr. King’s Farms
When most think about where the great American buffalo roams, the hills of North Carolina don’t often spring to mind. Yet, that is exactly the type of animal raised at Dr. King’s Farms. Dr. King’s Farms is located just outside of Asheville in Leicester, North Carolina, and specializes in raising grass-fed bison for sale as a healthier alternative to commercial red meat. Thanks to the wide success of sales over the years, this Asheville area farm now also raises elk, deer, camels, Watusi cattle, Himalayan yak, and other animals as well as wild plants, and, best of all, visitors can see these animals and the working farm via a farm tour.
Killer Bees Honey Farm
Walking through farms and learning more about how they operate and sustain the local communities if fun, but what if you want to go a bit further and actual enjoy playing a role in a working farm? Enter the Killer Bees Honey Farm, a wonderful bee farm that has built a reputation for helping to protect the surrounding forests’ biodiversity via ethical bee stewardship.
The Killer Bees Honey Farm is located near Lake Toxaway and is renowned for offering superior sweet products and enabling visitors to experience honey collection for themselves. As one of their farm tour experiences, visitors can opt to enjoy a 3-hour, hands-on beekeeping tutorial in which participants wear a bee suit and check in on bee hives themselves. This exciting beekeeping experience also includes honey tasting and pairings.
Located just 10 miles from downtown Asheville, Franny’s Farm is a lovely small farm operation that is open to the public. Franny’s Farm spans 33 acres and is a fully organic farm with heritage chickens, goats, bees, and an array of in-season produce. In addition to the more traditional farm goods, this Asheville farm also serves as a fantastic event space. They routinely host large festivals open to the general public as well as more intimate gatherings like weddings and similar private gatherings. You can also choose to stay overnight on Fanny’s Farm in one of their comfortable eco cabins, campsites, or at their more premier lodgings in The Barn House.
Learn More About All That Asheville Has to Offer
Farms, farmers’ markets, and food-to-table restaurants and events are certainly a big part of local Asheville culture, but it isn’t all this area has to offer. Learn more about the mountain town and all the exciting dining establishments and recreational pursuits it has to offer by visiting our other pages.