Local arts and agriculture shine at Rowan County farm tour

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2022

CHINA GROVE — One would be forgiven for thinking they had traveled back in time if they happened to walk through China Grove on Saturday afternoon.

From an early 20th-century industrial equipment to a wheat “mashing” machine from a century prior, a little part of Rowan County’s history came to life at the China Grove Roller Mill.

Of course, agriculture and all the different work that goes into it are still very much a crucial part of the county, even today, and that was on full display for a day over the weekend.

The mill was just one stop among 10 total that the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce and the Rowan County Extension Office organized as part of the fourth annual Arts & Ag Farm Tour.

Amie Goodman, of Goodman Farm Supply, said that her family thinks the tour is “fantastic” and visitors to their family-owned business and at all the other stops along the way were quick to agree.

“My grandson fell in love with farms the last time I took him through Rowan and this is just such a great experience for any kids to go to,” said Sandra Loder while admiring an old grain silo converted into a patio at the Circle D Farm.

The tour gave visitors from around the region a chance to come out and see a living history of the county’s close connection with agriculture. From baby chicks and restored old-fashioned tractors at LL Goodnight & Son’s Feed Store to cattle, sheep, goats, and even a friendly pup named Dodger at the Circle D Farm, the agriculture of Rowan County took center stage over the weekend.

The tour was also designed to shine a light on local artists, with set-ups for jewelry-makers, watercolor paintings of local farms, and more on-hand at the different stops along the tour.

There was something for everyone at the different venues selected for the event. At the Roller Mill, volunteers passed out packets for children that included crayons, stickers and cards with information about agriculture and farms that were tailored for younger visitors in particular.

Other interesting sights to see and things to do along the way included a soap-making demonstration at the Roller Mill, a Discovery Garden at Millbridge Elementary, and a chance to interact with goats and other farm animals at the Ranchside Veterinary Clinic.

Additional stops at China Grove’s Main Street Marketplace, Patterson Farms, John Weddington’s Greenhouse, and the Douglas Vineyards in Kannapolis offered all kinds of different things to see, food trucks to sample and local art to appreciate.

The self-guided, free tour was sponsored by the Rowan Tourism Development Authority and the work of the different organizers and volunteers was clear at every stop during the event.

More information about the local agriculture community in Rowan County can be found online at www.rowan.ces.ncsu.edu and updates on coming events and attractions in the community can also be found at www.rowanchamber.com.