UNION COUNTY — It’s already stopped in seven other counties including Horry, York, and Fairfield but this Saturday and Sunday, Union County is the next stop on the 2016 AG+Art Tour.
The tour, which has been held every weekend this month, is a “Free Farm+Art Tour” that this year involves a total of nine South Carolina counties. A leaflet advertising the event states that it “is the largest free, self-guided farm tour featuring artisans and farmer’s markets.
During this month-long event visitors will have an opportunity to see first-hand where their food comes from, watch artisans in action, purchase something special, and learn more about rural life.”
While the tour itself doesn’t get underway in Union County until Saturday, it kicks off Thursday with a “Farm to Table Dinner” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the lodge in Veterans Park. Tickets are $25 per person.
The Farm to Table Dinner will feature food provided by all participating farmers and prepared by GR8plates Catering Company. The event will also feature music by Freddie Vanderford.
For tickets and information for the dinner contact Sanders Garden Center, Times Boulevard, Union, 864-427-3367.
As part of the AG+ART Tour, a “Watermelon Cutting” will be held at 10 a.m. at the Farmers Market, 529 E. Main St. in Union.
The Farmers Market will be open from 6 a.m. with the season kickoff and the watermelon cutting at 10 a.m.
According to the AG+Art Tour website (www.agandarttour.com) the tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Union County. The tour will include the following locations:
• Cross Keys House Historic Garden
Located at 163 Old Buncombe Road, the Cross Keys House is a historic (c. 1812-14) plantation house, is a two-story, five bay, brick Georgian Colonial style dwelling. On the property are several outbuildings including an antebellum log cabin, a blacksmith shop, a barn, a kitchen and carriage house. Cross Keys House features an authentic heritage garden, managed and maintained by students from Union County High School.
Special Activities: House and building tours will be ongoing throughout the weekend. Antique tractors, carriages and wagons to view. Artists and craftspeople demonstrations with items for sale. Steven’s Bee Farm will be onsite as will an artisan. Will Sprouse from the Union County Museum will exhibit his skills as a storyteller.
• Hereford Hills Ranch, 1141 Pineland Road, Union
Hereford Hills Ranch is a working cattle ranch that raises Hereford Steers for its grass fed meat program and Mini Herefords for its breeding program.
An animal education area will be featured along with a petting zoo with demonstrations at the top of every hour to be followed by a hayride. Musicians and crafts people will be on site with items for purchase and picnic lunches will be for sale. A South Carolina brewed craft beer tasting will be held.
Artisans on Site will include Gary Farnsworth, a leather craftsman, and Libby Oliver, a mixed media artist.
• Jackson Farm Garden, 400 Foster St., Union
Located on the early 1900s Nicholas Estate, the garden is planted on a 3-acre plot of “plastic- cultured” land managed by the Jacksons. Basil, tomatoes, greens, onions, sweet potatoes, cabbage, okra and more can be found there with several beehives producing honey.
Special activities will include a discussion about the Nicholas family and the garden area from 9:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday; a garden tour from 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
A Beehive Demonstration and Discussion will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Artisans on Site will include Za’Kyah Jeter, a musician and Sims Middle School seventh-grader, and Cedric Jackson, also a musician and a fifth-grader at Buffalo Elementary School.
• Olivia’s Way Gardening, 2434 Santuc Carlisle Highway, Union
Olivia’s Way Gardening shows visitors how fresh vegetables are grown from seed to harvest. Learn how to grow family-sized gardens both ground and hydroponic as well as how to set up and maintain a backyard chicken coop. Walk the fields to see crops where questions and answers can be exchanged about living a homesteader’s lifestyle and operating a chemical-free garden.
Artisans on Site will include The Rowdy Ravelers Crochet Group, Quilters; Larry Rouse, Woodworks, Custom Sawmilling; and Alice Riddle from the Sumter National Forest.
• Piedmont Physic Garden, 301 E. South St., Union
The Piedmont Physic Garden is a botanical garden featuring plants with historical medicinal uses. Inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, this nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing horticultural and environmental-based learning programs to multi-generations.
The mission is to exhibit and promote the medicinal, economic, cultural and environmental importance to plants to the people of Union County and the surrounding Piedmont region of South Carolina.
An on site discussion about medicinal plants and herbs will be held. Artisans on Site will include Amanda Kingsmore, Mixed Media Artist, and painter Shannon Farr.
• Union County Farmers Market, 529 E. Main St., Union
The Union County Farmers Markert will have fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade food items, arts & crafts by local farmers, artists and craft-persons for sale and music for the entire family’s enjoyment.
Special Activities will include wild game and vegetable cooking demonstrations throughout the weekend.
• Simple Times Farm, 651 New Hope Church Road, Cross Anchor
Simple Times Farm allows you to step back in time and experience the farm the old fashion way. Simple Times Farm offers colonial art presentations of a blacksmith molding metal into something exotic and a spinner taking the wool from the sheep and making durable, colorful yarns.
Also featured are an organic garden, beehives and nature trail, plus attention-loving dairy cows, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, emus, peacocks, and more.
Special Activities will include Cow milking demonstrations Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.; pottery demos and donkey cart rides and horseback rides. Artisans on Site will include Alexander Eubanks, Metalworks (Blacksmith); Melissa Crenshaw, Quilter (Spinner); and Jenessa Eubanks, Potter.
• Three Horse Milling Company, 3257 River Road, Union
Three Horse Milling Company makes steel-cut grits and cornmeal by using actual horse-power. The apparatus that runs the grinding mill is a homemade creation using an old school bus rear-end, and various belts, pulleys, and gears. This horse-powered mill is one of only two (known) in the country.
Products are SC Certified and will be available for purchase. Ongoing demonstrations by artists, musicians and beekeepers will be featured and J & J Farm Fresh Eggs will be on site with their farm fresh eggs.
The mill will be operating over the weekend of the tour. Grinding mill demonstrations will be held at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Moonshine still demonstration will include sample tasting.
Union County Beekeepers will have an observation hive, hive components, honey extracting, soap making, and candle pouring (products and supplies for sale)
Artisans on Site will include Catherine Casey (Sedalia Soap Company), Soap Maker; Nannette Jenkins, Painter; Sally and Friends, Musicians; Dr. Dan O’Shields and Robert Grady, Authors/Storytellers; David Turner (Union Carving Group), Woodworks; and Frank Pennas (Union County Bee Keepers), Beekeeper.
The tour, which is free and self-guided, is also taking place in Chester County this weekend. For more information about the tour go to www.agandarttour.com.