Garden and Farm Tours 2019

It’s beginning . . . the lyrical expressions of forsythia and lavender, along with the rhythmic flow of white & purple lilacs speak to the inner poet in all of us as Caswell’s landscape awakens from its hibernation.

Every year about this time, my column explores upcoming gardening and farming events.  Since all of us are eager for tips and inspiration for the upcoming growing season, here is list of outdoor opportunities. I hope to attend most of them, so perhaps I’ll see you there.

The two major April events that I partake in each year are Virginia’s Historic Garden Week (April 27-May 4, 2019.) and the Piedmont (NC) Farm Tour (Saturday-Sunday, April 27-28, 2019).

“America’s Largest Open House.” USA Today named Virginia’s Historic Garden Week on of America’s Top 10 garden events. This year the event takes place April 21 – 28. During this week throughout the state, visitors can tour over 250 homes, historic sites, and gardens and find their own inspiration.

On Tuesday, April 30, the Garden Club of Lynchburg will feature Experience 200 years of history in scenic Lynchburg and the surrounding counties. Stroll through the gardens, orchards and grounds of three small farms on Fox Hill Road and Trents Ferry Road. Explore a 1822 home relocated and restored to its original grandeur. Its privey-turned-garden-shed, c. 1800s outdoor kitchen, and the sheep, chickens and pigs that live there harken back to colonial times. Another site features a cabin with a wide, welcoming front porch and split-rail fence created for a couple to vacation-in-place. Enjoy a classic four-square home with a modern guest/pool house that is owned, renovated and decorated by a nationally recognized designer.


On Friday,  May 3, the Garden Club of Danville, VA will showcase  three distinct areas straddling the Virginia – North Carolina border. All are featured for the first time on Historic Garden Week. Begin at the Virginia International Raceway, Tour Headquarters, and a world-class racing venue located in Alton. Tour one of the villas at South Bend, part of the motorsport resort complex, enjoy shopping at the Marketplace and lunch at The Oak Tree Tavern, a plantation house boasting original Thomas Day designs. A free black furniture craftsman and cabinet maker, Thomas Day’s workshop was the largest and most productive in North Carolina in its heyday in the 1850s. Located just twelve miles southeast of Danville in the quaint town of Milton, North Carolina, visitors will enjoy a reenactment in Thomas Day’s Workshop. In addition, tour includes access to two historic private homes, several churches and the Milton Renaissance Museum. A newly constructed home in a gated community on nearby Hyco Lake completes a full day of touring.

I am thrilled that Milton NC will be featured this year.

Piedmont Farm Tour. On Saturday-Sunday, April 27-28, 2019, from 2-6 p.m., the Carolina Farm Stewards Association hosts their annual tour featuring 45 sustainable small farms.

The Piedmont Farm Tour connects our friends, families, neighbors, and customers to 40 plus local farms cross Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Guilford, Johnston, Orange, Person, and Wake Counties.

Come pet baby animals, smell the flowers, and devour delicious fruits, mushrooms, veggies, dairy, and meat produced in the Piedmont!

Kids, foodies, locavores, gardeners, new or aspiring farmers, locals, and visitors will enjoy a memorable weekend spent meeting local farmers and touring their beautiful farms.

*Some farms are able to open earlier than the rest. These kick off farms will open at 12 p.m.

The two-day ticket allows you and everyone in your car to have an inside look at sustainable farming.  The cost is $30 a car (in advance) and $35 on the day of registration. Load up the truck with friends and family and neighbors and hit the road! Find an interactive map and driving directions at


Caswell Farmer’s Market.  The 2018 season begins Thursday, April 25 in Yanceyville from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.  For more information, visit

Recipe: All this talk of gardening brings thoughts of garden parties.  This week I thought I would share my favorite sandwich spread used in making tea sandwiches. It works well with cucumber, smoked salmon, or ham and cheese and is the spread we used on our Yancey House Grilled Vegetable Panini back in the day.

Garlic & Herb Spread Recipe:  Mix together one pound softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise, and a dollop of sour cream.  Blend in 1-2 TB. of your favorite dried herbs—parsley, basil, dill—along with 1 tsp. or more garlic powder (not garlic salt) and 1/2  tsp. onion powder (not onion salt), and 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional).  If you need to soften the spread for easier spreadability, pop it into the microwave 5 seconds.

Make this spread uniquely your own by experimenting with flavors and texture.  Add more sour cream or less mayo.  Add Italian seasoning or more garlic or mix your herbs.  Create your “signature” spread for spring and summer sandwiches to enjoy in the garden.


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