Iowans can become more integrated across the rural-urban divide than is sometimes portrayed. Farm Crawl is an example of urban and rural people coming together for a great day of learning more about agriculture and enjoying rural life in Iowa.
From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 1, five family farms, one family pottery business, multiple ag youth groups, and several additional businesses and artists are part of the 11th annual event. Seven stops are part of a 45-mile loop through southwest Marion County and adjoining Lucas and Warren counties. Maps are at farmcrawl.org, and signage along the route helps direct traffic.
“You can tour seven stops featuring family farms that day in south-central Iowa,” says Matt Russell, one of the organizers. He encourages anyone who is interested to come and enjoy a leisurely autumn day “crawling” from farm-to-farm. The entrance is free at all of the stops on this self-guided driving tour.
Learn about family farming, agriculture
“In the last several years we’ve been getting about 2,000 participants visiting some or all of the farms,” says Russell. “This is a great event for everyone interested in agriculture and family farming and who want to learn more about agriculture.”
The Pleasantville FFA Chapter is the new “farm stop” to be added to the tour this year. Another stop will host a 4-H club and another stop will feature the Chariton FFA. “You will see and talk to young Iowans interested in agriculture and rural entrepreneurism.”
Tour farms, visit with farmers enjoy rural Iowa
Tour the farms, visit the animals, meet the farmers, sample the goodies, listen to live music, discover locally grown and produced products and lots of fun in the beautiful Iowa countryside as you drive yourself from farm to farm. Several of the host farms will include other area businesses and farmers that produce fiber, yarn, photo cards, artisan beer, honey, desserts, wine, sausage, pork and more.
Visit the Farm Crawl website at farmcrawl.com for more details, maps and directions. Here are the farms on the tour:
Blue Gate Farm. Certified Naturally Grown, chemical-free produce, pastured eggs, and honeybees benefit the local CSA (community supported agriculture) and markets. Sample homemade jams; guided tours of the gardens; visit and see chickens and alpaca. Guests: Peace Tree Brewing Co. (Knoxville), Aunt Louise’s Cinnamon Rolls (Russell), Glorybe Photo Cards (Columbia) and Still Waters Fiber Farm (Pleasantville). Homemade cookies & herb lemonade available.
Coyote Run Farm. A 110-acre chemical-free, sustainable farm growing produce, eggs from hens on pasture, hormone-free and grass-fed beef and mules. Walk the farm, see the livestock, learn about integrated production systems including a high tunnel, and enjoy complimentary borscht (beet and beef soup) and desserts.
Crooked Gap Farm. The Book family raises heritage and rare breed animals including woodlot pigs, grass-fed cattle, pastured lambs, pastured rabbit, pastured broilers and laying hens. Purchase meat and handmade soap. Guests: Story City Locker--classic abattoir and artisan butchery, Marion County 4-H, and I'm in Stitches--crochet gifts, patterns, and classes.
Pierce’s Pumpkin Patch. Thousands of different pumpkins, squashes, gourds, decorative corn and Halloween celebration décor. Enjoy brisket or pork sandwiches, jumbo hotdogs and all the fixings. Guests: Nearwood Winery (Knoxville) and Wallace Kettle Corn.
Schneider Orchard. Stroll through the orchard, enjoy fresh fruit pie ala-mode, apple crisp and caramel apples. For the kids: tractor wagon rides through the orchard, take a scenic sky high look from the tree house and games and activities with the Chariton FFA. Rope making demonstrations. Guests: Pipers Candies (Chariton) and Thelma Saxton's fried chicken (Chariton). Live music from Albert Butler and friends.
Trojan Iron Works the Pleasantville High School FFA students. Come and enjoy this family oriented stop. Students will be selling metal artwork including barn quilts and fall décor. Also for sale will be steak sandwiches, hamburgers and hotdogs. They will be taking orders for beef and pork raised at the Pleasantville FFA Teaching Farm. Children’s activities include calf roping, cheese welding, face painting and a big corn pile to play in. Musical guest Royce Johns from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
White Breast Pottery and Weaving. Visitors will see how local clay, from beneath the waters of White Breast Creek, is used in making pottery that reflects the area. View the beautiful loom-woven rugs made onsite. Visit a herd of miniature horses. Pottery, broom-making, rug loom demonstrations and live music are offered, along with basket weaving by Marlys Sowers.
Farm Crawl 2017 is sponsored by Practical Farmers of Iowa and South Central Co-op. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Kelly at 515-462-0002 or [email protected].